A report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition takes a new look at one of the thorniest housing policy issues: Should policy favor the preservation of housing in low income neighborhoods or should policy favor helping low income people move to higher income neighborhoods? The report is entitled Affordable Housing Dilemma: The Preservation vs. Mobility Debate.
The report traces the history of the debate and shows how the pendulum swings in policy preferences. Interviews with ten stakeholders with varying perspectives, including five low income people, offer a deeper understanding of the dimensions of the debate.
Among the findings are:
- The lack of resources to address the shortage of affordable housing for the lowest income households severely constrains housing choice.
- The impetus for mobility programs is largely about improving children’s educational prospects.
- The debate is rooted in the troubled history of race in America.
- Public policy should not be based on the assertion that it is problematic for too many low income people or too many people of color to live near one another.