CWRU Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences
Principal Investigators: Robert Chaskin, PhD; Mark Joseph, PhD
Brief #5 - Chicago’s Public Housing Transformation: What Happened to the Residents?
Twelve years after the start of the Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation, more than 16,000 families have been relocated into a variety of housing contexts including new mixed-income developments, private rental housing subsidized with vouchers, scattered-site public housing units, and rehabilitated traditional public housing developments. These households have been relocated with the stated goals of reducing concentrated poverty, revitalizing neighborhoods, and improving well-being, but questions remain about what has happened to the residents. Where did families end up? Are different types of households moving to different housing contexts? Does family well-being differ based on housing type?
In this brief, we explore:
- The factors contributing to household relocation decisions.
- Relocated households’ current locations and characteristics of their new neighborhoods.
- Differences in household well-being for families living in different housing contexts.
Counter to expectations based on the strict selection criteria for mixed-income developments and the skills required to navigate the private market with vouchers, our analysis reveals no evidence of any sorting of “higher-functioning” households into these housing contexts, with more challenged households left behind in traditional public housing developments. On the contrary, we find that the households taking vouchers were relatively more disadvantaged at the start of the Transformation compared to those relocated to other housing types and have even more troubling indicators of well-being now. Furthermore, while the households living in scattered-site housing seem to be faring quite well, those in mixed-income developments are surprisingly indistinguishable across most well-being indicators from the households living in traditional public housing developments.
This brief is based on a longer paper, Public Housing Transformation and Resident Relocation: Comparing Destinations and Household Characteristics in Chicago (Chaskin, Joseph, Voelker, and Dworsky, 2012, Cityscape 14(1): 183-214).