Mixed Income Housing

by Allen Leigh, contributor

sciencedaily.com reported on a paper by Peabody and University of Chicago researchers in a new report titled “Making Mixed-Income Neighborhoods Work for Low-Income Households.” The paper was written by researchers from Peabody and the  University of Chicago for Cityscape, the primary publication of the U.S. Department of Human and Urban Development.

The paper reports on low income housing from the following viewpoints: neighborhood life, housing, social services, and employment. The sciencedaily article gives a link to the full paper and concludes its article with the following statement.

Mixed-income housing is not a failure, the researchers note. Low-income residents of these neighborhoods do benefit from living in buildings that are better maintained and more energy efficient than older housing units, and mixed-income neighborhoods do tend to be safer. But housing is only one piece of the puzzle.

I’ve never lived in a mixed-income neighborhood, and I’ve never had a positive attitude towards that type of neighborhood. However, this article has started me to think of the neighborhood from the viewpoint of all Americans not just those with backgrounds similar to mine, and I’m beginning to understand why many social scientists and politicians encourage mixed-income neighborhoods.  However, I’m not yet ready to move to a mixed-income neighborhood.

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5 Responses to Mixed Income Housing

  1. rogerdhansen says:

    Hi Allen,

    I live in a middle-class neighborhood that cuts across a wide range of incomes and occupations (from BYU profs, to blue collar workers, to laborers). Several of the homes have multiple families living in them (hispanic). My immediate neighbors are Native American (Hopi and Navajo) and a hispanic family (he works for the Church). While I’m a bad neighbor, it is nice to have the diversity in the neighborhood. I do wish though that the spanish-speakers still attended our Ward, instead of having their own Ward or Branch.

    My daughter and her family used to live near the baseball stadium in SLC. It is multi-ethnic area. The neighborhood was not without its problems (they had to occasionally chase off drug dealers), but I think it was generally a positive experience for her family. Their local Ward was somewhat dysfunctional, but that to provided opportunities. Additionally, she served on a committee that involved the conversion of a Holiday Inn into housing (both temp and permanent) for the homeless.

    My sons served missions in southern Florida and the Philippines. My son-in-law served a mission in Colombia. One of my daughter-in-laws in Florida. One of my sons did study abroad in Mexico and one my daughter-in-laws did her study abroad in South Africa, and one of my daughter-in-laws did her student teaching in Mexico. I’ve taken one of the granddaughters to Uganda with me. I hope these experiences have better prepared them for life. There is a lot to be said for diversity.

    • Allen says:

      Yes, Roger, there is a lot to be said for diversity. I lived away from Utah for the first 30 years of my married life. We lived in Maryland, Arizona, and Massachusetts. All four of my kids were born in Phoenix but raised in Massachusetts. Their high school was a regional HS that covered 3 towns, and there were only a few LDS kids in the school. All of our neighbors were non-LDS, and the close friends of my kids were non-LDS. There wasn’t much diversity economically speaking, but there was a lot of diversity in the social activities of our neighbors and friends. Our ward was about half military from Ft. Devens and half civilian, and that brought some diversity into the lives of my family. I’ve lived in Utah for the past 19 years, and I’ve always been grateful that my kids were raised outside of Utah.

  2. Allen says:

    I’ve had friends at school and work were from different backgrounds than mine, and that experience has been good for all of us.

    One summer in Massachusetts, we went to scout camp (the only LDS troop at camp) and found that the camp didn’t have enough sites for all of the troops. We were asked to share a site with a troop from Cambridge, and we agreed to do so. The Cambridge group was from the inner city, and we were from the suburbs, about half from Ft. Devens and half from civilian families. That experience was really good for all of us. We remained separate troops with separate leadership, but we shared latrine duties and campfire programs. As scoutmaster, I taught and passed off boys for the Fingerprinting merit badge during “off” hours in camp, and I passed off most of the Cambridge boys as well as my own boys. On Thursday evening, the Cambridge scoutmaster was inducted into the Order of the Arrow, and I had supervision of both troops for that evening. We were mixed together as one large troop. There was about a 45-minute delay getting the program started for the OA, and, as scouts will be, the boys were restless and messing around. I talked with the Cambridge boys and told them it was an honor for their scoutmaster to be inducted into the OA, and I explained that the program was being delayed in getting started. I asked all of the boys to quietly wait until the program began. I had no problems with the boys during that delay. Keep in mind that we were a mixture of inner city and suburban boys. I think we all benefited from that evening.

    • Allen says:

      Sciencedaily.com reported today on diversity in the US. According to Barry Lee, professor of sociology and demography, Penn State, and coauthor of their report, diversity is increasing but also decreasing. Since 1980, the number of metro areas having mixed populations has quadrupled, while during the same period many neighborhoods have become “non-diversified” due to the growth of immigration. The article I read didn’t give a link to the full report, but it did say that the full report was issued by the US2010 project.

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