right now? What do you plan?
Dave Page: Oh, we're going to park our
camper and sleep in it. And we're going
to stay in it until we find a spot we can
stay. If we don't have to pay too much.
The thing is, I'd like to get an apartment
and a job just like that (finger snap) if I
can. But if we can't stay . . . we're done.
Blue: So what'll you do?
Edria Page: We don't know. We're hoping
we won't have to find out.
the city that all of the people moving in,
this great influx we've been experiencing
over the past several years, are all upper-
middle class people. We're finding more
and more from our waiting list that poor
people are moving into the city because
of the vast opportunities here. The people
we run across here are recent immigrants
and they are certainly low-income.
Santos: Are some of them going back
when they find that housing is so bad?
Sandra Adams: Well, I got down here. I
was broke. I didn't have no place to go
and I didn't know nobody. We left
Freeport because he (her husband)
couldn't get no kind of work there.
And he got a part-time paint job, but that
wasn't paying enough. He couldn't get no
regular job, so we came down here to see
if we could get a job and stay with some
people. But we couldn't find one. We only had enough for one bus fare, so I came
by bus to keep from walking in the sun
with the baby and my husband hitchiked.
Rubicella Salazar, Traveller's Aid: I see.
Did you have any difficulty finding
Adams: No, ma'm. He found a job two
days after he was here.
Salazar: So what has been your most difficult problem?
Adams: Getting an apartment.
Santos: We have been told repeatedly by
everybody in the establishment that in
fact there wasn't a housing problem.
Why? Because the people coming into
Houston are white, affluent, well-
educated, young, agressive, and they can
buy the housing that exists. Who is
moving to Houston? What kinds of
people are coming?
Skip Kasdorf, Research, Chamber of
Commerce: Generally, the survey data
that are available indicate that the immigrants to Houston are disproportionately
young singles and young couples, disproportionately well-educated, disproportionately in the white-collar occupations
and given their age they have disproportionately good earning prospects.
Felix Fraga, Director, Ripley House: No.
Because I think that they feel if they
can't make it in Houston right now they
can't make it anywhere else.
another to another to another. So I went
back to the housing authority and she
spoke to me and asked me if there were
any problems and I told her someplace to
stay, desperately. That's what I told her.
For my family and myself I think the
main thing I would like to have would be
a house, a car, some furniture, a fence
around my house, naturally. I would like
to have a swimming pool and a color TV.
I would like to have all the things that
everyone else has-the way they live in
America today. I would like to live that
way, I really would.
Santos: Well, are there lots of people like
Wanda Darby, Director, Resident Services,
H.H.A: I'd say at the present time, today,
there are probably 100 people like Sally
who have come to Houston to really be
able to live. There is so much talk about
Houston being a boom town, about being
the place to go. Whereas we know that
the economic situation is the same all
over the U.S. Sometimes I wonder if our
pr is not too good for Houston because so
many people are coming thinking there
will be no more problems.
Blue: Surburbia 1979:
Virginia Curvillier, Director, Traveler's
Aid Society: I suspect we would rather
not face some of the problems that this
group brings to a city, the lower-economic group. I mean we're going to have more
health problems, we're going to need
more health facilities at the hospitals, at
the public housing, at the welfare, and it's
better to say that only those that are middle-income and above are coming into
Houston rather than really face up to
some of the problems we're going to be
looking at very shortly.
Santos: (To Sally Rowland, newly arrived
in Houston with four children, little
money, no job, no place to live.) Why did
you come to Houston?
Rowland: For the opportunity of employment and better living conditions.
Santos: What kinds of places did you find?
David Sawyer, Sawyer Development Co.:
The American family still wants to live, if
at all possible, in the surburban setting.
That is evidenced I think by what you see
going on beyond Highway 6 towards
Katy, up Highway 6 towards Spencer
Road and beyond.
Rheinhardt: There is a misconception in
Rowland: Well, the kind of apartment
that I would have like to have had would
be so far out of reach and the apartment
that I could afford would be something
like $30 to $35 a week. That would be
about $120 to $150 a month but the first
one that I looked at had only one vacancy and when I looked at it the apartment
was flooded. So at my own expense I
would have to clean the water, get the
water out of there, and I told the manager there was no way in this world I could
afford to. You know, I had no money to
do that. I had enough to pay the rent and
deposit and a little bit for food and that
We have just been from one place to
Michael Inselman, Houston Metro Study:
But the problem is qualifying people for
the loans they want to buy a house. They
make pretty good money. The wife and
husband both work. They'd like to buy a
house and every time the cost of a house
goes up $1000 it means they're going to
have to earn $250 to $300 more a year to
qualify for the loan. So it's a little bit
scary when you think about what it's going to take in the way of income to buy
the very lowest price house, say even by
the end of 1979.
The only people who are able to provide a good quality living unit at a low
price in a nice subdivision is going to be
the volume builder.
Blue: How long does it take to make the
elements of a house?
Phil Warnick, plant manager, Fox & Jacobs: Approximately 45 minutes for the
Mac McKinney, manager, Fox & Jacobs:
We build one home right after the other.
It's much more efficient. If we delay
completing that home one day it costs
the person who's going to buy that home.
Our construction time on a home from
start of foundation to completion is 45
workdays. We have the work process divided into 45 steps so that each step gets
completed on the proper day it's supposed to be completed on.
Ron Morris, planner, Fox & Jacobs: The
cost of housing in the last 5 years has risen 144%. During that same period the
median family income has gone up 51%
so what's happened is that housing has
risen 3 times as fast as a person's ability
to buy that housing. During that period
about 200,000 families have dropped out
of the housing market, are no longer able
to affard a new house.
Sawyer: Young America is going to have
to accept the townhouse and increasingly
the condo as an acceptable home.
Sawyer: Because we can't afford to build
housing that even the middle income
folks can afford—that is, housing that
meets their expectations. Not only because of the enormous growth in costs of
land and land development, but things
that people really bypass day to day and
that is the tremendous increase in what I
call the after costs, the costs of operating
that home once you've got it.
Bart Smith, economist: In 1970, just a
decade ago, there was very little difference between the price of housing in the
urban fringe and the prices in close.
Where the absurd inflation occurred has
been in close. Why? People don't want to
commute. They would rather live in their
home than in their car, stuck bumper-to-
bumper on 1-45 or the Katy freeway.
Barry Klein, realtor (speaking of the
Sixth Ward): You can see here the brown
lots colored which is where people have
gone in, purchased houses, restored them