Thesis

Housing injustice: gaining safe and affordable housing in Salinas, California

Thesis (M.A., Sociology)--California State University, Sacramento, 2018.

Despite government programs intended to alleviate housing instability, low-income families continue to struggle in gaining safe and affordable housing. Affordable housing has become increasingly limited for many working-class families, whose wages have remained stagnant. Housing is the greatest cost expenditure for many families; whereby, a large portion of income goes towards rent. Consequently, there is a supply gap in units available for low-income renters, as homeownership has declined, while more households have turned to the rental market. Based on eleven in-depth interviews this qualitative study analyzed (a) how low-income Hispanic and white female renters in Salinas, California navigate access to affordable housing and (b) how housing challenges and living conditions affect low-income renters well-being. Relying mostly on snowball sampling, these women told me what housing problems they have encountered due to affordability and quality of housing conditions. The results indicate low-income mothers obtain housing by relying on social networks, prioritize rent while juggling multiple bills, and encounter health issues when obtaining affordable housing; yet, they expressed being blessed despite their
 
 housing conditions. Guided by an intersectionality framework, this paper explored how low- income mothers deal with high rental costs, the challenges in accessing affordable housing, and the techniques they employ to make ends meet.

Despite government programs intended to alleviate housing instability, low-income families continue to struggle in gaining safe and affordable housing. Affordable housing has become increasingly limited for many working-class families, whose wages have remained stagnant. Housing is the greatest cost expenditure for many families; whereby, a large portion of income goes towards rent. Consequently, there is a supply gap in units available for low-income renters, as homeownership has declined, while more households have turned to the rental market. Based on eleven in-depth interviews this qualitative study analyzed (a) how low-income Hispanic and white female renters in Salinas, California navigate access to affordable housing and (b) how housing challenges and living conditions affect low-income renters well-being. Relying mostly on snowball sampling, these women told me what housing problems they have encountered due to affordability and quality of housing conditions. The results indicate low-income mothers obtain housing by relying on social networks, prioritize rent while juggling multiple bills, and encounter health issues when obtaining affordable housing; yet, they expressed being blessed despite their housing conditions. Guided by an intersectionality framework, this paper explored how low- income mothers deal with high rental costs, the challenges in accessing affordable housing, and the techniques they employ to make ends meet.

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