Saturday, August 9, 2008

Section 8 Housing Experiment a Failure in Antioch, CA

An article in The New York Times about Section 8 (subsidized) Housing shows that you can take people out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of people. Sociologists have long claimed that leaving behind high-crime, low-employment neighborhoods for the middle-class suburbs buoys the fortunes of impoverished tenants. An article in the July/August edition of The Atlantic Monthly, however, cited findings by researchers at the University of Memphis that crime in Memphis appeared to migrate with voucher recipients. More broadly, a 2006 Georgia Institute of Technology study found that every time a neighborhood experienced three foreclosures per 100 owner-occupied properties in a year, violent crime increased by approximately 7 percent. As Antioch’s population grew to 101,000 in 2005, from 73,386 in 1995, the city built about 4,000 housing units in the early years of this decade. Now it has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the state, with about 23 of every 1,000 homeowners losing their homes as of June, according to DataQuick, a real estate information clearinghouse. While total crime in Antioch declined by 15 percent in the first three months of this year, compared to the same period in 2007, violent crime increased by about 16 percent, according to city statistics. Robberies and assaults accounted for most of that rise. In an incident report filed with the Antioch Police Department, Natalie and Darin Rouse complained of constant problems with gang members’ blaring car stereos and under-age drinking on the street. In a written account, they blamed “gross community overdevelopment, affirmative action loopholes and incompetent state government management of federal affordable housing programs” for the problems. Full article.

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