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National   /   February 5, 2021   /   By Paul Bubny

Affordable Housing Demographics Have Evolved Over Time

There’s been a great deal of discussion about the need for more affordable housing stock. The newly released “2021 Who Lives in BRIDGE Housing” report aims to provide a demographic portrait of just who lives there, and how those demographics have evolved.

San Francisco-based BRIDGE Housing, a leading nonprofit developer, manager and owner of affordable housing, conducted a portfolio-wide resident survey that culminated in the report, its third such survey since 2001. More than 10,000 households across 100 BRIDGE properties in California, Oregon and Washington were invited to participate over a three-year period prior to the onset of the pandemic.

“Since the 2001 and 2008 surveys, our resident portfolio has evolved significantly,” the report states. “Today, we have greater representation of formerly homeless residents, former public housing residents and special and high-need populations, many of whom are unemployed and/or have very little income.”

Such an evolution over the past 20 years “has dramatically affected the distribution of income levels among our historic tenancy, which were primarily tax-credit households making 50- 80% AMI and with higher employment rates,” according to the report. Across the BRIDGE portfolio, 86% of seniors have incomes under $25,000 and 85% of families have incomes under $50,000.

“There is no question that access to stable and affordable housing is tied to other positive social, economic and health outcomes,” said Cynthia A. Parker, BRIDGE president and CEO. “For families, it creates the conditions for economic security and upward mobility, educational advancement, and physical and mental health. For seniors, it provides social connectivity and healthy aging in place.”

The latest survey’s findings include the following:

• Across the BRIDGE portfolio, 86% of seniors have incomes under $25,000 and 85% of families have incomes under $50,000
• BRIDGE residents say they feel less anxiety and stress than they did before moving in
• Residents are highly satisfied with on-site programs and services, which range from case management and social service referrals to skill-building programs such as cooking classes and job interview preparation.
• Survey respondents reported their race and ethnicity as 23% Asian, 18% Black, 20% Hispanic, 11% other, 6% two or more races and 34% white
• Among the top 25 occupations of BRIDGE residents: accountant, caregiver, cashier, medical assistant, retail associate, food service, security

The survey was designed and administered by BRIDGE’s Evaluation team in partnership with Harder+Company Community Research and the Social Science Research Center at California State University Fullerton.

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Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism.
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