Location, Location, Location! Measurable Benefits For Residents of Public Housing Developments Located in High-Income Neighborhoods
A new study by Abt Associates, conducted for New York City's Center for Economic Opportunity, found that public housing residents whose developments are located in persistently high-income neighborhoods have higher household earnings, lower violent crime rates, and public schools with higher standardized test rates than residents whose developments are located in consistently low-income neighborhoods.
A new Abt report examines the impact of surrounding neighborhoods on New York’s public housing residents. Those are some of the key findings in the recently released report which highlights the results of research conducted by Abt, the NYU Furman Center, and other partners. The research examined how the socioeconomic makeup of neighborhoods surrounding New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments affects public housing residents.
“New York City is undergoing significant changes right now,” said Mary Joel Holin, Abt Associates division vice president for Social and Economic Policy. “Our research is particularly timely as the new administration rolls out a 10-year plan focusing on the housing challenges facing the city.”
The report, entitled, The Effects of Neighborhood Change on New York City Housing Authority Residents, classified neighborhoods surrounding NYCHA developments into three classifications: persistently low-income; increasing income; and, persistently high-income. One of the report’s primary findings was a significant difference in earnings for NYCHA residents based on neighborhood type.
Most of New York City’s public housing was built between 1950 and 1970. The neighborhoods surrounding public housing have seen significant changes since then. Other key findings in the report include:
- Two-thirds of NYCHA residents live in developments surrounded by neighborhoods with an average income greater than that of the New York City median.
- Elementary and middle-school students living in housing developments surrounded by high- and increasing-income neighborhoods scored higher in standardized math and reading tests than did those in developments surrounded by low-income neighborhoods.
In addition to these findings based on a city-wide quantitative analysis, the study found three common challenges among public housing residents through interviews, focus groups, and other qualitative methods:
- Frustration with a lack of local job opportunities;
- A lack of opportunities for young people, especially of skill-building programs; and,
- Grocery prices and the quality of available groceries.Created in 1934, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) provides safe, affordable housing to low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. Most of the city’s public housing was built between 1950 and 1970, and in low-income neighborhoods. Since then, the neighborhoods surrounding New York’s public housing units and the 175,587 families and 403,120 residents they serve have seen significant changes.