Housing costs can represent a major household expense. Households that spend more than 30% of their income on housing are often defined as being cost-burdened, and experiencing housing cost burden can negatively impact the financial stability of a household . Homeownership is important to one’s economic well-being because homeowners have the ability to tap into additional financial resources that come with having a home, such as a home equity or reverse mortgage. Additionally, owning a home is one way for families to accumulate wealth although there are significant differences in that accumulation especially by race and ethnicity . Compared to White residents, Black and Latinx residents have lower rates of homeownership, are more likely to buy their first home at a later age, have less equity in their homes, and are less likely to own their home without any financing . These disparities affect the economic returns for owning a home, including the ability to accumulate wealth. Thus, homeownership is an important contributor to the wealth inequality between White residents and Black and Latinx residents.
This section looks at Forsyth County’s Fair Market Rent, a measure established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the income that would be required to pay that rent without being housing-cost burdened. This section also provides the percentage of Forsyth County residents experiencing housing cost burden, the percentage of residents living in housing that their household owns, and the number of people incarcerated in Forsyth County.
The pathways to experiencing homelessness vary but unstable living arrangements are central to the risk of becoming homeless . Experiencing intimate personal violence and/or economic hardship coupled with the lack of affordable housing or rental assistance can increase the risk of experiencing homelessness. Even when the economy is stable, those who experience homelessness remain on the margins of the economy and millions of low-income households are at-risk of housing instability and a number of crises that can result in homelessness.
Annually, communities across the country conduct a Point-In-Time on a single night in January of people who experience homelessness in the community that is reported to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) . The Point-In-Time count includes people who are unsheltered (which includes people who live on the streets, in cars, in abandoned buildings or who camp outdoors). It also includes people who are in emergency or transitional housing, but it does not include those who may be temporarily staying with family or friends. Although the Point-In-Time count is important to understand the prevalence of homelessess in the community, it does not capture the number of people that experience homelessness through a calendar year. The following section describes the number of people experiencing homelessness at the time the Point-In-Time was conducted annually in Forsyth County from 2018-2020.
Information on incarcerated people in Forsyth County is included in this report because incarcerated people are considered Forsyth County residents during their period of incarceration. People who are incarcerated in Forsyth County or admitted to prison from Forsyth County courts may or may not have been Forsyth County residents prior to their incarceration and may or may not stay in Forsyth County after their incarceration; due to this fact, it is difficult to make conclusions about how these incarceration rates impact the economic status of local residents.