Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Where is Subsidized Housing in MoCo? - Part Two

In Part One, we laid out the components of the county’s subsidized housing programs, primarily in ownership and management of units as well as rental subsidies (vouchers). Today we reveal the locations of that subsidized housing.

We obtained a list of Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) subsidized housing counts by zip code. We added information on total housing units, population by race and ethnicity, 1999 per capita income (in 2007 dollars) and median year built for each zip code from the 2000 census. We assigned each zip code to a County Council district based on where most of the zip code was located. We also included current median home values for each zip code from real estate site Zillow.com. Below is a complete list for all of the above data for each zip code ordered by the percentage of total housing units accounted for by subsidized units.

Most of the zip codes that have the highest percentages of subsidized housing are located in Silver Spring, Gaithersburg and Germantown. (The data for Clarksburg is misleading since it has seen a great deal of residential construction since 2000). Most of the zip codes with the lowest percentages of subsidized housing are located in the southwestern parts of the county and in rural areas. Overall, 4.0% of the county’s housing units are subsidized by direct public ownership, public management or vouchers.

There are substantial differences between County Council districts as we demonstrate below. District 4 (East County) had the highest percentage of subsidized housing at 5.6%. District 2 (Upcounty) was a close second at 5.2%. District 1 (Bethesda-Chevy Chase-Potomac) had only 1.3% of its housing units subsidized. District 4 had nearly four times as many subsidized units as District 1. (Note: District 3’s population looks low because it contains minority shares of several zip codes that overlap with other districts.)

What possible factors could account for these patterns? We will begin examining some theories in Part Three.