Running to Stand Still

James DeFilippis, Elvin Wyly
2008 Urban Affairs Review  
Second, given that the project-based subsidized stock is being lost in gentrified or gentrifying neighborhoods, it actually represents a "double loss" -both of the affordable units (and the subsidies that enabled their affordability), and the loss of already "de-concentrated" units in good or improving neighborhoods. As a result, considerable work is required just to maintain the existing, inadequate status quo of today's housing affordability crisis. Community organizations and tenant leaders
more » ... ave long recognized that we are losing our project-based subsidized housing stock in good neighborhoods and have organized accordingly. Their efforts, which have involved organizing at all scales from the community, to the city, to the state to the federal level, have yielded some significant victories that have allowed for the stock to be better preserved than it would otherwise be. As impressive as these efforts have often been, they have necessarily required defensive moves, diverting resources from more proactive maneuvers to expand the supply of affordable housing. Ultimately, we are running to stand still. In this paper, we peer through the looking glass of federal housing policy, using New York City as a case study. The paper proceeds in four parts. First, we briefly discuss the background of federally subsidized housing and the theories of urban poverty that have shaped contemporary federal priorities. Second, we undertake a series of empirical analyses of the spatial distribution of vouchers and project-based units in New York City neighborhoods. Third, we discuss the efforts of local housing advocates to preserve the subsidized housing stock. Finally, in the conclusion we suggest that if mixed-income, multi-racial neighborhoods represent a worthy goal, then we need a contextual re-examination of the theories and assumptions woven into federal housing policy.
doi:10.1177/1078087407312179 fatcat:oov4uhwftzf37fqyd2bbixc4pu