Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Subsidies in the Suburbs

Housing vouchers, like most Americans, have gone suburban. In a new Brookings report, we found that nearly half of housing choice voucher (HCV--previously known as Section 8) recipients within the nation’s largest metro areas live in the suburbs, a proportion that increased, albeit modestly, during the past decade.
This shift shouldn’t be a huge surprise. HUD enacted policies in the 1990s to help expand the portability of vouchers and housing location choices for low-income families, affording some the ability to move away from high-poverty urban neighborhoods. Other programs like HOPE VI actively de-concentrated federally subsidized households away from such neighborhoods. Meanwhile, as suburban communities age, some of their housing units are becoming more affordable to renters of modest means, including voucher holders. Indeed, the suburbanization of HCV recipients during the 2000s accounted for about 20 percent of the overall rapid growth in America’s suburban poor population.
So what do these trends mean for HCV recipients and the communities in which they live?
In many cases, new poor residents moving into suburban neighborhoods trigger a not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) response. That reaction may be spurred by preconceived stereotypes of the poor, what kind of lifestyle they live, and fears about what people and activities they may attract to the neighborhood. Some argue that these households place additional strains on resources, even in the face of stressed local budgets for basic services.

more about suburbia:

New Design Standards For Neo-traditional and Low Speed Neighborhood Streets

Shifting the Suburban Paradigm

The Next New York: How the Planning Department Sabotages Sustainability

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