Show Me a Hero

Policy Results in Concentrated
Neighborhoods of Poverty

Senator Cory BookerAn August 12, 2015 article, “David Simon and Cory Booker on ‘Show Me a Hero” and the Future of Cities” focuses on the new HBO mini series  that “Looks back on a notorious episode of racial discord that unfolded just north of New York City: Some three decades ago, Federal Judge Leonard B. Sand ordered the city of Yonkers to desegregate.”

Speaking about the dynamics of public housing today, said Booker,

“We now see incredible data coming out about children growing up. Poor children who grew up in more diverse neighborhoods, diverse economically, do so much better than poor kids who are growing up in concentrated neighborhoods of poverty. It’s yet another highlighting of how wrong our policy’s been all these years by creating these concentrated, dense pockets of poverty.”

The Housing Choice Voucher program assists very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments.

Findings in the recent Family Options study found that permanent housing subsidies:

  • Had substantive positive effects for families, reducing the proportion of families returning to homelessness or doubling up during the six months prior to the follow-up survey by 28 percentage points, compared to families that did not receive immediate assistance,
  • Decreased the prevalence of food insecurity, adult psychological distress, and alcohol and drug abuse, and
  • Improved school stability by reducing the number of schools attended and school absences.

Click here for the New York Times article.