Key Point

About 3 out of every 4 people living at or below the poverty line live in substandard housing

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Let’s Break It Down

74% of those living in poverty live in poor quality housing or pay more than 30% of their income towards housing.

While we have data depicting certain aspects of quality housing, a more robust look at housing quality that includes conditions like mold, lead, pests, and hazards would provide a fuller picture of our community’s housing quality.

Overcrowding is defined by HUD as more than one person living in a singular room. This means that if the number of people exceed the number of total rooms (not just bedrooms), then the home is considered to be overcrowded. This can mean anything from a multi-generational household to college students rooming together.

Why Does It Matter?

Substandard housing can affect a household’s health, stability, education, and general well-being.

Without a safe home, people can become sick or may be forced to move from place to place. This may mean children also have to move from school to school. Numerous moves may cause a sense of instability or uncertainty for the family, and can also be costly and disruptive as the family readjusts to the new living quarters.

Housing challenges can include dealing with lead, mold, and/or pests, which can then result in health complications like asthma, allergic reactions, or illness. Exposure to lead paint or other lead-based items in a home can also cause serious health issues like muscle pain, lower IQ, nausea, kidney problems, dizziness, and hearing loss.

In 2004, Omaha was designated as the largest residential land-area contaminated by hazardous waste (a Superfund site) because children living east of 45th Street had a consistently higher level of lead in their blood than children anywhere else in the U.S. In 2012, 567 children in Omaha lived in homes with high lead levels.

How Do We Compare?

We’re on par with the national average.

Nationally, 74% of low-income people live in substandard housing. Locally, 75% of low-income people in Douglas and Sarpy Counties, and 66% of low-income people in Pottawattamie County, live in substandard housing.

Data Source: HUD Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS) Data, OmahaLead

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