Distressed Public Housing

Research Report

Distressed Public Housing

What It Costs to Do Nothing

Abstract

Over the past decade, the HOPE VI program has invested over $5 billion in federal funds in the replacement or revitalization of severely distressed public housing developments. The current administration at HUD has been critical of the high costs of HOPE VI, and proposes that the program should be cut back dramatically or even eliminated. By our estimates, however, between 47,000 and 82,000 severely distressed units remain in the public housing inventory. Tackling the remaining inventory of severely distressed public housing would be costly. But doing nothing about distressed public housing has costs as well. This paper summarizes the existing research evidence on the costs of doing nothing about the remaining inventory of severely distressed public housing.

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