The Center for Urban & Regional Studies has released the Boulevard Homes Final Report: Changing Communities, Transforming Lives. Short for “Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere,” the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOPE VI program funded the demolition and redevelopment of distressed public housing developments throughout the country. Between 1994 and 2010, over 250 public housing developments were redeveloped with support from the HOPE VI program. The Charlotte Housing Authority received a total of five HOPE VI grants during this time.
The most recent HOPE VI grant awarded to the CHA was for the razing and redevelopment of Boulevard Homes, which was physically obsolescent and plagued with crime. The newly constructed development—called the Renaissance—includes 274 apartments reserved for low-income families and 60 market rate units. The Renaissance also includes a K-8 public school (currently under construction) and an early childhood development center that is in the planning stages. The Renaissance West Community Initiative, a non-profit initially funded by the CHA, is coordinating the educational and social services being provided in the development.
Over the past five years, CURS has been evaluating this redevelopment project, with a particular focus on the experience of those who were relocated from the original development. The CHA provided residents with case managers and supportive services while the Renaissance was under construction. These case managers helped residents set self-sufficiency goals, and connected families with services like job training, educational opportunities, and health care assistance.
Building on our previous evaluation reports, this final report provides an overview of the Boulevard Homes redevelopment process and its outcomes. It describes and assesses the redevelopment process, including the design of the new development, the relocation of former residents, the attitudes of the former residents toward the relocation process and outcomes, the supportive services offered to relocatees, and the redevelopment’s impacts on the surrounding neighborhood and much more.
Some of the key findings are that:
- The CHA used the financial flexibility provided through the Moving to Work demonstration to shift over $14,000,000 into developing the Renaissance and additional off-site replacement housing. Additional CHA funding also allowed the authority to offer enhanced supportive services to the residents who were relocated from the original development.
- A majority of former Boulevard Homes residents relocated to privately-owned apartments using Housing Choice Vouchers rather than moving to other CHA public housing developments. A large majority of the relocated residents were very satisfied with the relocation process, and with their new housing and neighborhoods. This, to some extent, explains the relatively small number of original tenants who moved back to the redeveloped site.
- Over time, the intensity of case management services offered to residents decreased as the budget for those services became tight. The most commonly-accessed services for non-elderly residents were occupational training and childcare subsidies, while health care assistance was the most frequently used by for elderly households.
- The work efforts of the relocated residents substantially increased during the redevelopment process. According to data collected by case managers, the percent of non-elderly/disabled residents working rose from 33% in October 2010, close to the beginning of the project, to 67% in June 2015, close to the end of the project.
- While it is very early to assess the development’s impacts on the surrounding neighborhood, we note that the neighborhood surrounding the Renaissance has experienced a recent significant increase in home lending activity. In addition, CHA and developer staff believe that conditions are improving in the neighborhood, with a new police station and social service center slated to open nearby soon.
To read or download the full report, please click here.
CURS Director and Boshamer Distinguished Professor of City & Regional Planning Bill Rohe will participate in a #TalkHousing Twitter talk with other experts on the impacts of work requirements on employment and eviction among public housing residents. The talk will be hosted by How Housing Matters on Friday, January 15 from 1-2p.m. ET. To access the chat, follow the hashtag or check the @Housing360 timeline. Professor Rohe will be participating from CURS’ Twitter handle, @UNCCURS.
How Housing Matters is run by Urban Land Institute Terwilliger Center for Housing and supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
HUD is currently accepting comments on a proposed smoking ban in public housing. The new rule would extend a current ban that includes public areas and administrative offices to residents’ homes. In HUD’s press release, Secretary Castro stated that the smoking ban will “protect public housing residents from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.”
Earlier this year, the Center for Urban and Regional Studies asked Charlotte Housing Authority (CHA) public housing residents about their health, how often they smoke, and whether they would support a ban within public housing. These questions were part of a larger survey conducted for the CHA to evaluate its Moving Forward (Moving to Work) program. The survey of 519 residents found alarming rates of chronic diseases—such as asthma, hypertension and depression—and of daily smoking rates. Continue reading
The Center for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) has been selected as part of a team of researchers to evaluate the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Jobs Plus Pilot Program. CURS joins lead organization MDRC and partner organization National Initiative for Mixed-Income Communities at Case Western Reserve University to assess Job Plus as it is implemented in nine cities. Continue reading
October 5, 2015
The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) placed a recently released Center for Urban and Regional Studies research report entitled Work Requirements in Public Housing: Impacts on Tenant Employment and Evictions on its “Must Reads” list today. NLICH also featured the research on its website.
The study is the first analysis of the impacts of a work requirement for residents in public housing developments. The research examines a work requirement implemented by the Charlotte Housing Authority (CHA) through its Moving to Work participation.
Click here more information on this research.
September 30, 2015
The NAHRO Monitor, a twice-monthly update sent to the 22,000 members of the The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, featured two CURS research studies in its recent issue. The front page article “Center for Urban and Regional Studies Publishes Report on Moving to Work” outlines the results CURS’ assessment of the Charlotte Housing Authority’s (CHA) efforts to implement the Moving to Work (MTW) program entitled Moving Forward (MF).
The Monitor also highlighted Work Requirements in Public Housing: Impacts on Tenant Employment and Evictions, a report released by the Center earlier this month evaluating the CHA’s work requirement policy, comparing the employment and eviction rates between those subject to the work requirement and a comparison group not subject to the policy.
Read the articles here.
Learn about the NAHRO Monitor and the work of NAHRO.
Tarlton Hills is one of five public housing developments where the Charlotte Housing Authority has implemented a work requirement with on-site case management for residents.
September 14, 2015
Public housing authorities have always faced a tension: to provide safe, stable housing to our most vulnerable families while also trying to move them off public housing assistance. The use of work requirements as a means to increase employment among public housing residents is currently being implemented by eight housing authorities participating in HUD’s Moving to Work demonstration program (MTW). However, until now, there has been no rigorous evaluation of the impacts of these policies on tenants. Continue reading
As Congress continues to debate the future of Moving to Work, many policy-makers and advocates clamor for details about the program’s effectiveness. Approaching its 20th year of existence, Moving to Work (MTW) is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) demonstration program that provides participating housing authorities the flexibility to explore innovative policies. While 39 public housing authorities are currently participating in MTW, Congress is considering significantly expanding and/or reforming the program. Continue reading
Mai Thi Nguyen / UNC College
April 16, 2015
CURS faculty fellow and associate professor of city and regional planning Mai Thi Nguyen is the author of an opinion piece in the News and Observer today about regulation of short-term rental web companies like AirBnB.
Read the extended version of the piece first published here.
by Mai Thi Nguyen, CURS Faculty Fellow
“Multicolore” by La Boirie is licensed under CC-BY-2.0.
March 26, 2015 — AirBnB, a company that started off helping the everyday man so that he could rent a bed in his home for a small fee to make extra income, has become a multi-billion dollar global business. AirBnB is a web-based service that allows residents—whether homeowners or renters—to rent a room or house to strangers. AirBnB and the many other web-based services that offer short-term rentals (STRs) have ushered in a cultural revolution in the way people shop for bedrooms and homes. While some argue that this is an example of capitalism at its best—two penniless entrepreneurs start a small company with a good idea and a few years later, voila, the company grows and develops into a successful global firm—the problem is that AirBnB and similar web-services don’t always play by the rules and can harm communities if they are not appropriately regulated. Economists would call this a negative externality—transactions on AirBnB are imposing harm on other people living in communities and the people involved in the transaction (e.g. AirBnB, hosts, and renters) are not paying the consequences.