HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A new study shows more renters are struggling in Harris County, a surprising area where evictions are on the rise.
STUDY SHOWS HARRIS COUNTY FAMILIES STRUGGLING TO AFFORD RENT
Shatrice Brown already has a lot on her mind with five kids and another on the way. But there's one thing bothering her more than ever.
"The rent is high, especially with having a lot of kids and everything," Brown said. "It's like they're going up on the rent literally every day."
The rising price is something Brown's struggling to afford. She's facing eviction, and fighting it trying to keep a home for her kids.
"It's stressful," Brown said. "You have to figure out what's next. Where are we going to go next? Calling apartments. Even for a two bedroom, two bath, it's $1,300."
But Brown isn't alone. A study released Tuesday by Rice University's Kinder Institute found 51% of Harris County tenants use at least 30% of their income on rent.
Research scientist Steve Sherman has studied the county's housing for three years and said the rent situation is getting worse.
"We think about renters as being younger people, single people living with roommates, and that's just not truly," Sherman explained. "Frankly, renting families are hurting the most."
BLACK AND BROWN COMMUNITIES ARE BEING HIT HARDER WITH RENT ISSUES
The study found a big factor in what's hurting renters is the cost of rent isn't keeping pace with wages. The study found from 2015 - 2021, rent in Harris County has gone up by nearly 30%. Whereas during the same time, income has risen by only 23%.
"Rent increases are not just a central city thing," Sherman said. "They're also happening out in the suburbs. My hypothesis is it has to do with the growth of single-family rentals."
Sherman said the study also looked into racial breakdowns. What they found is Black and brown communities are being hit harder with rent issues.
"In Harris County, 75% of Hispanic/Latino households are cost-burdened," Sherman said. "(About) 68% of Black households. Meanwhile, white and Asian-headed households are in the 30s."
AREA WITH HIGHEST PERCENTAGE OF EVICTIONS SURPRISED RESEARCHERS
The study also looked at evictions. What it found is five places had more than 2,000 evictions last year. Those places are in Eldridge, Spring Southwest, Westchase, Alief, and Pasadena. The surprising area, Sherman said, is where the largest jumps in evictions took place from 2020 - 2022. Near Memorial Park, he said the number rose by 636%.
"Houston is a renter's city," Sherman explained. "Harris County is going to be a renter's county. Protecting renters is about protecting Houston."