Researching Public Law and Public Policy in the Public Interest

In Greater Boston, a lopsided geography of affordable housing

CRAIG F. WALKER/GLOBE STAFF

From the Boston Globe:

Low-income families who use housing subsidies to move from struggling to thriving communities represent perhaps the country’s best shot at breaking intergenerational poverty. Landmark research from Harvard University last year showed that children from poor families who make the transition at a young age are more likely to go to college, less likely to become single parents, and earn more money than those who remain behind.

But despite the success of families like the Britos, their story remains an exception. Relatively little subsidized housing has sprouted in places like Lexington, even as the federal government has underwritten thousands of affordable apartments in poor, racially isolated neighborhoods like the section of Dorchester where Brito and her children once lived.

A Globe examination finds that politics and inertia have conspired to create this lopsided geography of affordable housing — undercutting the region’s best hope for racial and economic integration.

Suburban resistance is a big part of the story.

 

But it’s also about the well-meaning neighborhood groups that have teamed up with bankers and developers to build so much of the region’s subsidized housing in the most troubled places.

 

And it’s about the poor themselves, hemmed into distressed neighborhoods not just by the distribution of affordable apartments but by their lack of familiarity with the leafy communities beyond — and their doubts about how they’d fit in.

Read this article in its entirety at the Boston Globe