Privatizing Affordable Housing (1990s – Present)


In the mid-1990s, the federal government moved to convert public housing to mixed-income, privately-managed developments. The HOPE VI program was intended to deconcentrate poverty and leverage private capital, relieving the pressure on the federal government to perform long-deferred maintenance for distressed housing projects. However, of those displaced during the conversion of public housing to HOPE VI communities, only some were eligible to return. The government had eliminated a long-standing rule that required the replacement of any demolished public housing unit at the same or another location. Instead, displaced residents were given vouchers to enter the private rental market. This arguably left them much more vulnerable to the negative impacts of gentrification than if they had continued to occupy public housing. It also gave private developers an entree into previously underdeveloped areas of the city.


John Arena. Driven from New Orleans: How Nonprofits Betray Public Housing and Promote Privatization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012, pp.87-91.
Amy Khare. “Market-Driven Public Housing Reforms: Inadequacy for Poverty Alleviation.” Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development an Research. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 15, no.2 (2013): pp.183-204.