A young, African-American woman sits nervously at her dining room table inside a modest, two-story house. The front of her house is adorned with rosebushes and a wraparound porch. On the inside, old, slightly stained carpeting spans the floors and few furnishings decorate the walls.
This is Kimberly’s story. Kimberly is one voice from the Baltimore Regional Housing Mobility Program. Stefanie DeLuca and Jennifer Darrah have just published a paper based on over 100 interviews with participants in the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program:
“LIVING HERE HAS CHANGED MY WHOLE PERSPECTIVE”: HOW ESCAPING INNER-CITY POVERTY SHAPES NEIGHBORHOOD AND HOUSING CHOICE
The paper highlights:
- How the Baltimore Mobility Program has helped over 2,000 low-income African American families (now 2,400) move from high-poverty, highly segregated neighborhoods in Baltimore City to low-poverty, racially mixed neighborhoods throughout the Baltimore region.
- Parents who participated in the mobility program raised their expectations for what neighborhoods, homes, and schools can provide for their children and themselves.
- Parents who participated in the mobility program report new preferences for the “quiet” of suburban locations,and strong consideration of school quality and neighborhood diversity when thinking about where to live.
- Housing programs should employ mobility counseling.
In conjunction with the release of these critical findings, the Century Foundation produced a multimedia piece that tells some of the participants’ stories here.
To mark the 50th anniversary of LBJ’s “War on Poverty,” the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a new poll that examines beliefs and opinions regarding the War on Poverty and proposals for fighting poverty in the future.
The most compelling finding is that in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and the public attention to inequality that has followed, public attitudes about the causes of poverty and government’s role seem to be shifting away from victim blaming attitudes of the 1990′s and early 2000′s.
Also interesting, in light of the recent attention given to the increase in suburban poverty, is CAP’s selection of a photo of an African American boy playing basketball with a makeshift hoop attached to an abandoned rowhouse in Baltimore as the “poster child” for poverty in America:
On the one hand, the photo reminds us that continued racialized and concentrated poverty in cities like Baltimore is indeed the heart of the matter. On the other hand, the image reinforces our perceptions that it is inevitable that poor children must also grow up in high poverty neighborhoods — a double jeopardy that in fact is rarely experienced by poor white children.
Through our housing mobility work, BRHC is challenging the assumption that poor black children should have to grow up in poor neighborhoods.
*Image, copied from Center for American Progress, was originally taken from AP/Patrick Semansky