Housing projects assisted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can significantly impact the neighborhoods in which they are located. Some have been well maintained and are regarded as assets, offering badly needed affordable housing in their communities. Others, with deteriorated structures and large concentrations of poor tenants, can create negative spillover effects for their surroundings. Recently, HUD has begun to see these projects as a policy opportunity. In its Choice Neighborhoods initiative, HUD is, for the first time, using the redevelopment of some of these projects as a springboard for the broader revitalization of the neighborhoods around them.
Whatever the condition or potential of these projects, their location is critical to informing public policy. Our October MetroTrends commentary offers an overall summary of the distribution of HUD-assisted, project-based housing units within and among the 100 largest metropolitan areas as of 2008 (this category includes public housing projects and privately owned projects that provide subsidies under assistance contracts with HUD). Knowing how these units are distributed provides some insight into which metros and neighborhoods will be most affected by HUD’s broader revitalization goals.