Essays on People, Place & Purpose

Investing in What Works for America's Communities

Disarming the Great Affordable Housing Debate

by Admin

In a new blog post on Urban Wire, Urban Institute researchers Solomon Greene and Margery Turner respond to Thomas B. Edsall’s latest column in The New York Times. His piece, entitled “Where Should a Poor Family Live?”, criticizes the affordable housing industry for building housing in high-poverty neighborhoods rather than in more affluent areas that might lead to greater economic and racial integration.

Greene and Turner argue that Edsall creates a false dichotomy between neighborhood reinvestment and increasing housing options at a regional scale, when evidence shows that both strategies should be pursued simultaneously.

Greene and Turner write:

Edsall recognizes that choices for poor families are constrained, but curiously, he lays the blame for this solely on a “poverty housing industry.”…This is inaccurate. It misplaces blame and, in doing, not only makes it harder to root out the underlying causes of concentrated poverty, but also hinders the kind of collaboration that will be necessary to build lasting solutions.

Read the full blog post here


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