There is much research that documents that a majority of residents in distressed public housing developments are African-American or Hispanic. The HOPE VI Panel Study examined five sites to see how this development affects residents. While the findings were varied, they all showed a decrease in violent crime. Interestingly, the study noted that the number of black residents in HOPE VI neighborhoods was almost as low as in other cities.
The HOPE VI initiative evolved the financing picture. In addition to providing the necessary funding for development, the program encouraged developers to leverage private funds with other resources. For example, the St. Louis housing authority utilized FHA insurance to encourage private lending in distressed neighborhoods. The development reflected new urbanist design principles and was built to a higher standard. It also provided an opportunity to redevelop neighborhoods that had been overlooked by conventional financial institutions.
While these results are encouraging, more needs to be done to address the issues of aging, disabilities, and a host of other issues. The most immediate challenge for residents is coping with mental and physical challenges. They must be able to find a place to live that is not far away from health care providers. Fortunately, there are more HOPE VI developments than ever before - including some in Pittsburgh and St. Louis. The report outlines the progress that the community has made in addressing these issues, and provides a blueprint for future housing policy.
The program has made tremendous strides in some areas and helped residents improve their quality of life. HOPE VI has led to extensive service and community-building programs in Washington, D.C. However, critics have argued that it has had little effect in gentrifying areas. While many of these sites have been partially rebuilt, the redevelopment efforts have produced relatively few returning tenants. Moreover, the number of displaced tenants has varied across HOPE VI communities.