Public Housing – Cairo, IL

Their public housing at the end of its life, residents ask: What now?, By Monica Davey, May 17, 2017, New York Times: “Residents hear mice rustling in the walls at night. Some occupants leave ovens on in the winter, their doors perched open, because furnaces fail. Ceilings droop from water damage, mold creeps across walls, and roaches scramble out of refrigerators. So when federal authorities finally deemed two public housing developments here in the southernmost tip of Illinois unacceptable and uninhabitable, it felt like vindication of what residents had been saying for ages. But then came the solution: an order that everyone must vacate…”

Housing for Prison Parolees – New York

Parolees to go from big house to Syracuse public housing under new state pilot program, By John O’Brien, March 3, 2017, Syracuse Post-Standard: “Public housing in Syracuse will soon be home to certain newly paroled New York state prisoners under a new pilot program.  The state will allow carefully screened and monitored parolees to live in public housing with their families in Syracuse, White Plains and Schenectady, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today.  The goal is to reduce the likelihood that the paroled prisoners will commit new crimes, Cuomo said in a news release…”

Public Housing

The remarkable thing that happens to poor kids when you help their parents with rent, By Max Ehrenfreund, October 12, 2016, Washington Post: “Few programs for the poor are so widely reviled as public housing. For opponents on the right, housing projects are costly monuments to the folly of misguided idealism, stifling residents’ ambition by surrounding them with crime, decay and bureaucracy. For critics on the left, the projects — which were often segregated — became ugly icons of the racism of the white elite, an elite that was unwilling to implement more effective solutions to social problems…”

Low-Income Households and Internet Access

Comcast expands Internet access to more low-income families, By Pam Adams, July 15, 2016, Peoria Journal Star: “More low-income households, including veterans, senior citizens and adults without children, will have access to low-cost internet service from Comcast.  The country’s largest cable provider is expanding Internet Essentials to all housing programs in its service areas that receive funds for from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program originally was developed in 2011 to provide low-cost internet service for families of grade school and high school students who met eligibility guidelines for the federal free lunch program…”

Public Housing

  • Syracuse’s public housing creates prisons of poverty; what if they could move to suburbs?, By Marnie Eisenstadt, April 14, 2016, Syracuse Post-Standard: “If David Paccone could, he would begin attacking Syracuse’s poverty crisis from outside the city. He’d build small developments of low-income family housing in DeWitt, Manlius and Fayetteville, in the hopes that some people now in Syracuse’s poorest neighborhoods would move there. But that’s not a solution in Paccone’s arsenal. As the assistant executive director of theSyracuse Housing Authority, he oversees 2,340 public housing apartments. The tenants largely are the poorest of the poor, making less than 30 percent of the average median income — less than $16,000 a year…”
  • Public housing residents could get credit boost, By Philip M. Bailey, April 9, 2016, Louisville Courier-Journal: “The Louisville Metro Housing Authority is partnering with a nonprofit to help its public housing occupants improve their financial future, Mayor Greg Fischer announced Thursday morning.  The city has made an agreement with Credit Builders Alliance to begin a credit building program that Fischer’s office says is one of only five of its kind in the country…”

Low-Income Households and Internet Access

  • Why Comcast is expanding its low-cost Internet program to public housing, By Max Lewontin, March 25, 2016, Christian Science Monitor: “Comcast is partnering with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to expand its “Internet Essentials” program to public housing residents in Miami; Nashville, Tenn.; Seattle; and Philadelphia, the company announced on Thursday. The program, which costs $9.95 per month, offers low-income families high-speed Internet service up to 10 megabits per second, a free Wi-Fi router, access to free digital literacy training, and the option to purchase a computer for less than $150…”
  • Comcast expands low-cost Internet to all Miami-Dade public housing, By Nancy Dahlberg, March 24, 2016, Miami Herald: “Karisha Bailey is a self-employed chef who uses her smartphone constantly in her work. She’s also the single mom of four young children who need that same smartphone for their homework. Sharing the phone and keeping data charges manageable is a constant challenge. This week, Bailey became one of the first residents of the Rainbow Village public housing development to receive a free laptop and six months of complimentary high-speed Internet access. After that, her family will be able to continue on the program for $9.95 a month…” 

Public Housing – New York City

As New York rents soar, public housing becomes lifelong refugeBy Mireya Navarro, August 3, 2015, New York Times: “Esther Swan grew up in public housing, graduated from college and has thrived professionally, most recently as a talent director for an entertainment company. But while the buildings in New York City’s housing projects deteriorated around her, with siblings and neighbors moving out, Ms. Swan stayed put, holding on to her apartment in the Fulton Houses, in Chelsea. Her low rent allowed her to pay for good child care and a parish school for her son, and now as the cost of private housing has soared across much of the city, not least in a booming neighborhood like Chelsea, Ms. Swan, 55, does not see herself leaving anytime soon…”

Housing Vouchers and Rapid Rehousing

  • Vouchers help families move far from public housing, By Binyamin Appelbaum, July 7, 2015, New York Times: “Lamesa White and her four children moved in February from the most dangerous public housing project in Dallas to a single-family home in this affluent suburb. On the day she left, one of her daughter’s old schoolmates was shot to death. Ms. White’s escape from the Estell Village housing project — better known as The Pinks because the buildings were once painted that color — was made possible by an experiment in housing policy the federal government began in Dallas in 2011 and is now proposing to expand to most other large metropolitan areas.  Families in Dallas who qualify for housing subsidies are offered more money if they move to more expensive neighborhoods, allowing them to live in safe communities and enroll their children in schools that are otherwise beyond reach. To sharpen the prod, the government has also cut subsidies for those who do not go…”
  • For homeless families, quick exit from shelters is only a temporary fix, By Pam Fessler, July 7, 2015, National Public Radio: “More than 150,000 U.S. families are homeless each year. The number has been going down, in part because of a program known as rapid rehousing, which quickly moves families out of shelters and into homes. But new research by the Obama administration finds that for many families, rapid rehousing is only a temporary fix…”
  • Minneapolis homeless advocates back study on success of housing vouchers, By Erin Golden, July 7, 2015, Star Tribune: “A federal study of homeless families in a dozen cities — including Minneapolis — has concluded that long-term housing vouchers provide a more effective solution to homelessness than temporary or ­transitional housing programs.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development surveyed more than 2,200 families over an 18-month period, tracking some that used Section 8 vouchers, others that were provided with temporary rental assistance or short-term spots in transitional housing facilities and some that took a more patchwork approach, receiving some services but often extending stays in ­homeless shelters…”
  • Section 8 renters stayed in poorer areas after New Orleans razed housing projects, study finds, By Richard A. Webster, July 8, 2015, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “When New Orleans demolished the bulk of its public housing developments after Hurricane Katrina, it replaced the majority of the lost units with Section 8 housing vouchers. The idea was that vouchers would give people who lived in poverty-stricken communities such as Iberville, St. Bernard, B.W. Cooper and Magnolia a choice. Instead of being trapped in public housing developments for generations, they could move their families to areas with less poverty and crime, better schools, access to health care and job opportunities. That was the idea anyway…”

Public Housing Eviction Policies

Public housing safety policy can hit whole family, By Rachelle Blidner (AP), September 15, 2014, ABC News: “Wanda Coleman sits in the New York City public housing apartment where she’s lived for 25 years, surrounded by empty rooms, bare walls and suitcases lined up by the front door. Any day now, she and her teen daughter will be evicted and have no other option than to go to a homeless shelter — partly because of her son’s criminal case…”

Public Housing – New York City

Budget cuts reshape New York’s public housing, By Mireya Navarro, September 11, 2014, New York Times: “The crushing news came less than a year after Diane Robinson and her 24-year-old son moved into an airy two-bedroom apartment in the Bronx. The city, which helps pay her rent, wrote this summer to say she would have to downsize into a one-bedroom apartment or pay $240 more a month in rent. A public school aide, Ms. Robinson, 48, decided to stay in the apartment, in the Castle Hill neighborhood. But on an annual income of about $25,000, she is struggling, she said, and she does not know how long she can hang on. Moving to a one-bedroom apartment would mean that her son, a college student who works to help with food and utilities, would have to sleep in the living room. ‘My son works — he’s not entitled to have his own bedroom?’ she said. ‘Next thing they’re going to tell me is that I’m not entitled to a roof over my head…'”

Public Housing – New York City

Public housing in New York reaches a fiscal crisis, By Mireya Navarro, August 11, 2014, New York Times: “Everyone, it seems, wants a piece of New York City public housing. Advocates for homeless people are demanding more apartments for families living in shelters. School officials want space in public housing for new prekindergarten classes. Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to use open land in the projects for new affordable housing. And just over a quarter of a million households sit on the waiting list for an apartment in one of the New York City Housing Authority’s 334 developments. But the demands on Nycha, as the housing authority is known, clash with a grave financial reality. After years of shrinking government investment in public housing, the agency has a $77 million budget deficit this year and unfunded capital needs totaling $18 billion, its officials say…”

Evictions from Public Housing

Nonprofit points to benefits of preventing evictions, By Megan Woolhouse, January 23, 2014, Boston Globe: “The state could reduce homelessness and save millions in shelter and other costs by finding ways to prevent evictions from public and subsidized housing, according to a report by a nonprofit housing group. HomeStart Inc., in coordination with the Boston Housing Authority, used its report to track its efforts to intervene in evictions from public housing and to provide financial counseling to poor families. The report said Home Start has prevented more than 500 evictions from the authority’s properties since 2010, not only saving families from homelessness but saving taxpayers thousands of dollars…”

Public Housing Program – Alaska

State overhauls public housing, imposes five-year limit, By Tegan Hanlon, November 2, 2013, Anchorage Daily News: “The disabled and elderly in public housing will receive notices on Monday about changes in their rent and utility costs as state officials implement a plan to encourage able-bodied renters to work and eventually move out of their subsidized apartments. With the waiting time for public housing extending for decades for some kinds of apartments, officials hope the new policies, in the works since 2008, will lead to a greater turnover of units…”

Public Housing Waiting List – Milwaukee, WI

Waiting lists soar for public housing, rental assistance, By Georgia Pabst, August 10, 2013, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Jessica Johnson knew there would be a wait for Milwaukee public housing when she signed up in 2009, but she never dreamed it would take four years to make it to the top of the list. Now, she and her four children are preparing to move out of her father’s home and into a four-bedroom apartment at the Hillside Terrace public housing project on the city’s near north side…”

Public Housing Waiting List – New York City

227,000 names on list vie for rare vacancies in city’s public housing, By Mireya Navarro, July 23, 2013, New York Times: “Lottie Mitchell made her regular pilgrimage the other week, riding the subway for 45 minutes, then transferring to a bus to reach her destination: an office of the New York City Housing Authority. When her turn came, Ms. Mitchell, 57, using a cane, hobbled to the counter with the same request that she has made for the last four years. ‘I want to check the status on my housing,’ she said. As always, the clerk responded: ‘You’re on the waiting list.’ It is called the Tenant Selection and Assignment Plan, but to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers seeking a home, it is ‘the list.’ Prosperous city residents may consider public housing to be a place of last resort. The waiting list indicates otherwise…”

Hurricane Sandy and Low-Income Residents – New York City

  • For some after the storm, no work means no pay, By Shaila Dewan and Andrew Martin, November 2, 2012, New York Times: “Chantal Sainvilus, a home health aide in Brooklyn who makes $10 an hour, does not get paid if she does not show up. So it is no wonder that she joined the thousands of people taking extreme measures to get to work this week, even, in her case, hiking over the Williamsburg Bridge. While salaried employees worked if they could, often from home after Hurricane Sandy, many of the poorest New Yorkers faced the prospect of losing days, even a crucial week, of pay on top of the economic ground they have lost since the recession…”
  • In New York’s public housing, fear creeps in with the dark, By Cara Buckley and Michael Wilson, November 2, 2012, New York Times: “It would be dark soon at the Coney Island Houses, the fourth night without power, elevators and water. Another night of trips up and down pitch-black staircases, lighted by shaky flashlights and candles. Another night of retreating from the dark. On the second floor of Building 4, an administrative assistant named Santiago, 43, who was sharing her apartment with five relatives, ran through a mental checklist. Turn the oven on for heat. Finish errands, like fetching water for the toilet, before the light fades…”

Relocated Public Housing Residents

Relocating public housing residents must be done responsibly, study says, By Katy Reckdahl, April 19, 2012, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “As the Housing Authority of New Orleans moves Iberville development residents in preparation for this fall’s demolitions, new Urban Institute research emphasizes the need for ‘responsible relocation strategies’ for public housing residents. Such plans are necessary to ensure both the residents’ well-being and to maintain the stability of the high-poverty neighborhoods where residents are likely to relocate, researchers contend. Urban Institute researchers, who have conducted a wide body of research on relocated public housing residents, have known for a while that public housing residents who moved out of dilapidated old ‘projects’ end up in better, safer housing, although still in very poor, very segregated neighborhoods. In general, residents who leave are less anxious about crime, which has for decades plagued the troubled public housing developments in New Orleans and elsewhere…”

Poor Neighborhoods and Health

  • Poor neighborhoods may contribute to poor health, By Amina Khan, October 20, 2011, Los Angeles Times: “People who move from a poor neighborhood to a better-off one could end up thinner and healthier than those who stay behind, according to an urban housing experiment that tracked low-income residents in five major cities for 10 to 15 years. The research, set up by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, shows that health is closely linked to the environments people live in – and that social policies to change those environments or move people away from blighted areas could be a key tactic in fighting the ‘diabesity’ epidemic. The study released Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine took advantage of a 1990s social experiment approved by Congress primarily to track the changes in income, education and employment of people given the opportunity to move out of low-income housing in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Chicago, New York and Boston. At least 40% of the residents at the start of the study made less money than the federal poverty threshold. Researchers soon realized that the project could allow them to study residents’ changes in health as well, said study coauthor Dr. Robert Whitaker, a pediatrician at Temple University in Philadelphia…”
  • Study: Living in poor neighborhood can hurt health, By Mike Stobbe (AP), October 21, 2011, Seattle Post-Intelligencer: “Back in the 1990s, the federal government tried an unusual social experiment: It offered thousands of poor women in big-city public housing a chance to live in more affluent neighborhoods. A decade later, the women who relocated had lower rates of diabetes and extreme obesity – differences that are being hailed as compelling evidence that where you live can determine your health. The experiment was initially aimed at researching whether moving impoverished families to more prosperous areas could improve employment or schooling. But according to a study released Wednesday, the most interesting effect may have been on the women’s physical condition…”
  • Study: Better neighborhood lowers obesity, diabetes risk, By Nanci Hellmich, October 19, 2011, USA Today: “Low-income moms who move from very poor neighborhoods to less disadvantaged ones lower their risk of becoming extremely obese and developing type 2 diabetes, a study reveals. ‘This research shows how important the environment can be for people’s health,’ says the study’s lead author, Jens Ludwig, a professor of social service administration, law and public policy at the University of Chicago. Obesity increases people’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other serious health problems. People in poorer neighborhoods are at a higher risk of becoming too heavy because they may not have access to grocery stores that are well-stocked with healthy fare such as fresh fruits and vegetables, often don’t have safe places to be physically active and may have greater concerns about safety, which could impact their psychological stress and eating habits, Ludwig says…”

Public Housing – New Orleans, LA

New Orleans unveils fresh model for housing the poor, By Rick Jervis, August 3, 2011, USA Today: “The decaying brick buildings of what was known as the Magnolia Projects are now rows of freshly painted town homes with ornate balconies and manicured lawns. Stoops where dealers once sold dope and shot at rivals have been replaced by a clubhouse featuring a flat-screen TV and a pool where neighborhood kids splash. The Magnolia Projects, once one of the city’s most notorious public housing complexes, today is Harmony Oaks Apartments, a 460-unit mix of government-subsidized and market-priced apartments. It replaces one of six public housing projects across the city recently razed to make room for new apartments and a fresh approach to housing the city’s poor.The Magnolia Projects, once one of the city’s most notorious public housing complexes, today is Harmony Oaks Apartments, a 460-unit mix of government-subsidized and market-priced apartments. It replaces one of six public housing projects across the city recently razed to make room for new apartments and a fresh approach to housing the city’s poor…”

Low-income Housing Program – Houston, TX

Empty homes and promises, By Yang Wang, April 3, 2011, Houston Chronicle: “The simple brick veneer place on Cairnleigh Drive was supposed to be the home of a low-income family who – through the good graces of the Houston Housing Authority – could conquer the unimaginable and buy their own house. But there is no family graced enough to live there. And likely never will be. The windows are boarded up and a sign warns trespassers that violators will be prosecuted. No one has lived there since 2007, when its public housing renter, Sheena Johnson, and her six children were evicted and the house put up for sale – one of some 174 vacant homes owned by the HHA and taxpayers. The house squats in a northwest Houston neighborhood, its screens torn and windows broken, an empty testament to faltering promises by the HHA to provide affordable homes to the economically disadvantaged. The ‘scattered sites’ housing program has done little more in the last four years than frustrate potential buyers and reject others, leaving properties neither occupied nor sold – the profits of which could benefit the public agency or help other housing programs, a Houston Chronicle investigation shows…”