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Many low-income apartment complexes are located in Southwest Houston. The apartment complexes bordered by U.S. Route 59 (Southwest Freeway) and Bissonnet Road, including properties along Bellaire Boulevard and Gulfton Drive, are dense and known for crime. Illegal immigrants came to the apartments, which began attracting low income tenants after the 1980s Texas oil bust. Hurricane Katrina refugees came to the apartments in 2005. About 1/5 of Houston's homicides in 2005 occurred in this area.
The Greater Southwest Houston Chamber of Commerce serves several neighborhoods often identified as "Southwest Houston."
From the 1980 U.S. Census to the 1990 Census, many African-Americans left traditional African-American neighborhoods and entered parts of Southwest Houston; areas of Southwest Houston received from more than 1,000 African-Americans per square mile to more than 3,500 African-Americans per square mile. Many Asian-Americans moved into Southwest Houston during the same period. They were mostly Chinese American, Indian American, and Pakistani American; some pockets of Cambodian Americans, Korean Americans, and Vietnamese Americans appeared during that period.
On May 31, 2013, the Houston Fire Department suffered its largest casualty in a single event, the Southwest Inn fire, with four firefighters killed and 13 others were injured while fighting a 5-alarm fire at Southwest Inn, located in the Greater Sharpstown district of Southwest Houston.
Neighborhoods and communities considered to be in Southwest Houston
Neighborhoods and communities in Houston defined as Southwest Houston by the Greater Southwest Houston Chamber of Commerce :
- Braeswood/Stella Link
- Fondren Southwest
- Greenway Plaza
- Gulfton 
- Meyerland/South Post Oak
- Reliant Park/South Loop
- Rice Village/Texas Medical Center
Cities defined by the Greater Southwest Houston Chamber of Commerce as in "Southwest Houston":
Other neighborhoods and communities in Houston considered to be in Southwest Houston:
Other neighborhoods and communities outside of Houston considered to be in Southwest Houston
- Brazoria County:
The corporate office for Rice Epicurean Markets is located on a lot in Southwest Houston. Rice established its headquarters there in 1960, and the current 16,000 square feet (1,500 m2) headquarters facilities opened on that land in 2005.
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- Home Page. Lakes of Savannah. Accessed November 2, 2008.
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- "Rice Epicurean Markets Opens New Headquarters." Progressive Grocer, VNU Business Media, Inc. Friday February 11, 2005. Retrieved on January 28, 2010.
- Karkabi, Barbara. "New and notable." Houston Chronicle. Friday, February 27, 2009. Retrieved on October 18, 2011. "[...]The Imani School, a Christian school in southwest Houston,[...]"