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SUNNYSIDE COMMUNITY PROFILE

The Sunnyside community, established in 1912, is located in southern Houston, Texas.  Sunnyside is outside the 610 Loop and inside Beltway 8 off State 288 south of Downtown Houston.  Sunnyside, a historically African American community is known for its rich heritage, pride, and neighborly compassion.  The population is approximately 23,000, comprising over 8,000 households.  Sunnyside has been historically more than 95% African American, but recently that percentage has declined to 75%, 20% Hispanic, 5% other.  The median household income in Sunnyside is $27,954 ($52,338 Houston wide). Nearly one third (31%) of families live below the poverty line.  Twelve percent are married with children under age 18, 56%, are single mothers with children, 23% are women living alone or with roommates (most are age 45 and over).  Overall, 15% of the population is 65 and over 55% is between the ages of 18 and 64.  Twenty-two percent are between the ages of five and 17 and 8% are under five years old.

Many Sunnyside residents lack access to jobs either due to lack of employment in the community, lack of major business centers immediately nearby, or lack of access to a vehicle to reach business centers.  Moreover, one quarter of Sunnyside households do not own a vehicle. Only 14 percent of workers use public transportation or another alternative to commute to work.  Parts of Sunnyside are in the 90th percentile or above for lower life expectancy with high rates of heart disease and asthma compared to city and national averages. Many residents lack health insurance and Sunnyside is medically underserved.   Sunnyside is an environmental justice (EJ) community due to demographics, legacy and current environmental burdens and high rates of disease/health. On a daily basis more than 130,000 vehicles traverse freeways surrounding the neighborhood, and heavy-duty vehicles servicing industrial facilities in the community contribute to air pollution.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates three brownfields, three facilities for air pollution and twelve for hazardous waste in Sunnyside.  A report from the University of Texas School of Environmental Law identified 187 toxic pollutants and contaminants in groundwater from nearby sites.

Like other predominately low-income African American and Hispanic neighborhoods in Houston, Sunnyside faces a number of challenges as a result of decades of injustice and government neglect.  Sunnyside a community which thrived without support of government when it was first annexed into Houston, but now has one of the highest poverty rates in the Houston metropolitan area, inadequate city services, high crime rates, underperforming schools, deteriorating housing and infrastructure, loss of community businesses, high unemployment rates, high rates of health diseases and considered a food desert.

sunnyside map
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