DeeAnn Marie

Posts tagged public housing

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UrbanRelations.Info: Did Demolishing Chicago's Public Housing Make Residents Better Off?


Mixed-income housing

With the demolition of notorious high-rise housing projects such as Cabrini-Green over the last decade and a half, Chicago became a model for a new approach to public housing. A new study tracks former high-rise residents to see how they’ve fared.

As the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) prepares to release a revised version of its 12-year-old Plan for Transformation - “the largest, most ambitious redevelopment effort of public housing in the United States” - a new study by the Urban Institute of 381 families that once lived in the Madden-Wells and Dearborn housing complexes seeks to examine just how successful that influential plan has been.

According to Antonio Olivo, “Public housing residents in Chicago are marginally better off today than when they lived in the high-rise towers that have since been torn down, though more social services are needed to prevent a backslide, a study scheduled to be released Monday finds.”

“Continuing problems with poverty and crime in their new neighborhoods point to a potentially dark future for many of those nearly 16,000 families, particularly children, the report by the Washington-based Urban Institute says.”

What the study seems to make clear is that more than a change of scenery is required to improve people’s lives.

“You still have a lot of people with very severe health problems, low levels of employment, lots of criminal justice involvement, all the kinds of things that they had before,” Susan Popkin, the lead researcher in the study said. “Where we saw the improvements in terms of people’s mental health, physical health and employment was when the housing was coupled with very intensive supportive services for a subset of residents.”

Another obstacle: despite the goal of the CHA to move public housing families into “areas of opportunity” that are socially and economically diverse, “just seven of the 381 families tracked by researchers live in areas which fit that category.”

Housing needs to be by resources that help people. Currently Saskatoon is discussing limiting affordable housing in the core neighborhoods. They should be much more concerned with building supports to help the people in the area, as opposed to diluting a concentration of services.

There are much better, detailed arguments against the proposal here, such as how higher costs make it extremely prohibitive for groups to build affordable housing in the suburbs. This particularly resonated with me:

Shirley Isbister’s comments to The StarPhoenix are right “…But Isbister says the whole philosophy of moving social services and housing out of the core is based on a false premise that affordable housing is the problem, not the solution to neighbourhood problems such as crime and drug abuse.”

(Source:, via urbanplannerholic)

Filed under affordable housing saskatoon chicago public housing supportive housing support services

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Wrong Side of Hong Kong

Despite being well-known as the home to millionaires, many poor call cages home.

Anger over housing prices is a common theme in increasingly frequent antigovernmet protests. Legislator Frederick Fung warns there will be more if the problem can’t be solved. He compared the effect o the poor to a lab experiment.

"When we were in secondary school, we had some sort of experiment where we put many rats in a small box. They would bite each other," said Fung. "When living spaces are so congested, they would make people feel uneasy, desperate,"and angry at the government, he said.

Filed under housing poverty hong kong poor public housing Associated Press