These stories consider the effects of Section 8 housing vouchers that subsidize rents for low-income people to move into neighborhoods more expensive than they could afford without the federal subsidy. While this type of relocation is not what is being proposed for the residents of Charlesview, some of the issues are relevant as we think about an enlarged Charlesview moving from its current isolated current location into close proximity with an existing neighborhood.
The concept of unintended consequences applies to any new housing being proposed, such as the several hundred units of student housing proposed by Harvard near the Windom Street neighborhood. We should think about not only the people who will live in the new housing but also how the new housing will affect the existing community. Especially when there will be significant differences between the new and existing residences. Whether these differences are age (student housing) or economic (Charlesview) they should be considered carefully and be informed by precedents elsewhere.
There are also plenty of examples of housing voucher programs and people with these vouchers that have been successful. Just like there are low-income housing projects that thrive and others that resemble a scene from the TV show "The Wire". Why do some succeed while others fail? Or, more fundamentally, how should "success" be defined?
This is about more than the current residents of Charlesview, many of whom will not live there in 5, 10, or 20 years. It is about how we design, build, maintain, and sustain our society for our collective benefit.
As Program Moves Poor to Suburbs, Tensions Follow - The New York Times
American Murder Mystery - The Atlantic
Natomas crime wave raises question about low-income housing - The Sacramento Bee