Vice President for Housing Policy
More than 700,000 low-income families with children can afford decent housing by living in public housing or privately owned properties that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) subsidizes. As we explain in our recent paper, for about 200,000 of these families, having an affordable place to live entails living in an extremely poor neighborhood — where at least 40 percent of the residents have incomes below the poverty line, and crime rates tend to be higher and schools lower performing. Almost all of these families are racial or ethnic minorities (see chart).
HUD has begun two programs that could help more of these families live in higher-opportunity neighborhoods — if Congress provides sufficient funds and HUD and local partners implement the programs effectively: the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI) and the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD). Both programs aim to preserve and if necessary rebuild distressed rental units. CNI also has a broader goal to revitalize the neighborhoods of the assisted properties.
In the near term, two policy changes to these programs would increase the number of families that could live in safer neighborhoods with better schools. HUD should:
We’ll be back later today with a look at two other changes to RAD that could help low-income children over the longer term.