Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hope VI for Section 8?

For this week's In the Bluff, I interviewed Richard Janikowski about his and Phyllis Betts' research on neighborhood change.

Their data first came to light an article in The Atlantic that linked the Hope VI program with crime rates. In a subsequent presentation to the City Council, Janikowski and Betts identified aging apartment buildings as problem areas, and suggested more site-based services at the complexes. The pair also suggested partnerships with landlords that might make the premises more safe: rigorous tenant screening, behavioral regulations, etc.

It's a complex issue and I'm not quite sure I did it justice in my column — 700 words is far fewer than one might think.

And to be completely truthful, Janikowski and Betts' Hope VI hypothesis is interesting, but I'm just as concerned about this area's overall mortgage problems.

Here are some slides from Janikowski and Betts' presentation to the council on neighborhood change:

Subprime loans
(ps. the little box in 38111 is the University of Memphis)

2007 Foreclosures
(pps. click each map to enlarge)

2007 Foreclosures by density
(yikes, the Riverdale/Raines area)

Percentage of people behind on their loans

No matter what you think about Section 8 or Hope VI, the bottom line is that there are a lot of vulnerable neighborhoods. And that seems to be cause for concern.

As Janikowski said, "Healthy neighborhoods are the backbone of the tax base for the city, so it's not just a question of the folks living in those neighborhoods. It's also what are we looking at for the future of Memphis. If the tax base decreases tremendously, we've got problems."

1 comment:

Polar Donkey said...

Get to the green zone while you still can!