Evil Twins of Inequality and Racial Segregation Growing in US

05 04 15 Public Housing signThose of in the affordable housing biz  have been privy to lots of articles about how the growing income inequality in the country is exacerbating what already was a serious shortage in affordable housing.  Stagnant wages combined with rising housing costs creates a whole new class of people needing “affordable” housing. But there is another, uglier side to this story, one that affordable housing providers are in some cases complicit in–the rapid growth of concentrated poverty and the increasing segregation by race.

A new Century Foundation study from Paul Jargowsky, director of the Center for Urban Research and Urban Education at Rutgers University, reveals the devastating growth of geographically concentrated poverty and racial segregation across America. Now 50 years after landmark legislation that was designed to break down the racial barriers, those barriers are once again being built at an astounding rate.

And the providers of “affordable housing” have exacerbated this problem.  As Jargowsky notes in a particularly politic statement in his paper, “[p]ublic and assisted housing units were often constructed in ways that reinforced existing spatial disparities.”

Recent measures announced by the Obama administration are looking at ways to undo some of this harm, but why wasn’t someone watching this store when between 1990 and 2000, the number of people living in concentrated poverty DOUBLED? Oh, I forgot, we were protecting the homeland.–ktk