Housing Assistance and Supportive Services in Memphis. BACKGROUND AND MEMPHIS SERVICE CONTEXT

01/05/2013

Over the past two decades, policymakers have sought to transform public and assisted housing from a symbol of the failures of social welfare policy into a catalyst for revitalizing neighborhoods and helping residents improve their life chances. Public housing residents face numerous barriers to self-sufficiency: low educational attainment, poor mental and physical health, limited access to social networks that facilitate job access, and physical isolation from opportunity. Different federal initiatives have attempted to help residents overcome these barriers—by relocating residents to higher-opportunity areas, offering alternative rent structures, and replacing distressed developments with new mixed income housing (Turner, Popkin, and Rawlings 2009).

Evidence from evaluations of the largest federal initiatives suggests that increasing public housing residents' geographic access to opportunity improved their quality of life—but was not enough to help them overcome their multiple personal and structural barriers to self-sufficiency (Popkin, Levy and Buron 2009; Briggs, Popkin, and Goering 2010; Comey, Popkin, and Franks 2012). The $6 billion HOPE VI program, which funded the demolition and revitalization of hundreds of distressed public housing communities across the nation, had as a core goal of improving residents' quality of life and helping them move toward self-sufficiency. However, the program included only modest funding for community supportive services. Generally, these services have focused on workforce efforts and been limited in size and scope (Popkin et al. 2004) (For additional information on the evidence base for effective service provision to HOPE VI relocatees and housing assistance recipients in general, see companion document, Best Practices for Serving High-Needs Populations.)

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"Memphis Final Brief.pdf" (pdf, 717.21Kb)

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"Appendix A-Focus Group Materials.pdf" (pdf, 174.61Kb)

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"Appendix B-Maps.pdf" (pdf, 3.81Mb)

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"Appendix C-Assessment Memo.pdf" (pdf, 4.14Mb)

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