supportive services to help residents make the transi- tion to work as well as supplemental housing vouch- ers for resident relocation.
The new housing developments produced under HOPE VI differ dramatically from earlier genera- tions of public housing. Not only are they generally well constructed, but the best among them have applied the latest thinking on housing and neigh- borhood design. Income mixing is a central feature of many HOPE VI sites. The expectation is that prop- erties that have to attract and retain higher-income tenants will be better managed and maintained over time, and that a mix of income levels creates a health- ier social environment and brings better services— especially schools—to the surrounding neighborhood. Therefore, redeveloped sites typically combine public housing units (with long-term, gap-filling subsidy commitments) with LIHTC units and market-rate rental and for-sale housing. As a consequence, the total number of public housing units (affordable for the poorest households) is usually smaller after re- development than before.
The new developments are leveraging substantial public, private, and philanthropic resources—resources that were virtually absent (and, in some cases, pro- hibited) from former public housing developments. PHAs are also experimenting with a range of man- agement approaches: many have employed private property management firms on site (and at risk) rather than relying on bureaucratic public agencies. And in many cities, HOPE VI has led to new (and lasting) partnerships between PHAs, other city agencies, non- profit organizations, and private-sector leaders.
Louisville’s Park DuValle involved active mayoral leadership from the outset, leveraged funding from numerous sources, and ultimately engaged multiple city agencies (as well as private investors) in reconfiguring streets; redeveloping parks, play- grounds, and community centers; reconstituting public schools; and developing new retail shop- ping facilities.
The quality of many of the new HOPE VI devel- opments appears to be helping catalyze significant improvements in the surrounding neighborhoods. Case studies show substantial declines in neighborhood
crime and joblessness and substantial increases in income, property values, and market investment. In several high-profile developments, HOPE VI invest- ments have been accompanied by significant improve- ments in the quality of the local school and the educational performance of low-income children. With some of these findings, of course, cause and effect are not entirely clear.
Jefferson Elementary School (located near the Murphy Park housing project) was among the worst in St. Louis, but most children in the project did not attend it. Under a court-ordered deseg- regation plan, three-quarters of the neighborhood children were bused to schools elsewhere in the county. After the public housing was demolished and replaced, Jefferson Elementary reopened as a neighborhood-based school with a community advisory board that had the authority to hire the principal. It has seen significant gains in test scores and is now the school of choice for most children living in the surrounding neighborhood, including those in the redeveloped public housing. It also serves as a neighborhood learning center, offering classes and activities for adults as well as children during evenings and weekends.
Relatively few of the original residents from “HOPE-VI’d” projects are returning to live in the new mixed-income developments. Instead, most are relocating with housing vouchers or to other, tradi- tional public housing developments. Several factors contribute to the low rates of return among the orig- inal residents, including reductions in the total num- ber of public housing units, delays in the completion of the new developments, and tougher screening criteria and occupancy requirements for residents, but also satisfaction among many voucher recipients with their private-market homes or apartments. In general, voucher relocatees enjoy better housing and neighborhood conditions than when they lived in public housing and are very satisfied. However, there is no evidence that they are making significant progress toward economic security or self-sufficiency. And households relocated to other public housing proj- ects generally live in conditions that are as bad—or worse—than their original developments.19
Over the past 15 years, HOPE VI has invested $6.1 billion of federal funding for 235 projects, to