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Cityscape: Volume 23 Number 2 | The Hispanic Housing Experience in the United States


The Hispanic Housing Experience in the United States

Volume 23 Number 2

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

Understanding Low-Income Hispanic Housing Challenges and the Use of Housing and Homelessness Assistance

Claudia Aiken
Vincent J. Reina
Dennis P. Culhane
University of Pennsylvania

Many Hispanic households in the United States face poor housing conditions, high rent burdens, overcrowding, and—in some communities—high rates of homelessness. At the same time, awareness is growing that Hispanics are often underrepresented in housing and homelessness assistance programs relative to their poverty rate and compared with other groups with similar needs. This realization raises two immediate questions. First, to what extent are Hispanic households underrepresented in housing and homelessness programs across the country? Second, why is this the case? This article begins with a national analysis of Hispanic representation in federal housing subsidy programs and homeless shelter services at the county level. The authors test the relationship between a high degree of underrepresentation and county characteristics. The second part of the article presents a case study of Philadelphia using local program data, focus groups with residents, and direct interviews with 10 stakeholders to explore Hispanic Philadelphians’ housing experiences and barriers to participation in housing and homeless assistance programs. The data and methods employed in this article allow the authors to gain a better understanding of where and why low-income Hispanics do not access housing and homeless assistance and provide insight into how local and federal programs can be adjusted to better serve these growing needs.

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