Does The Neighborhood Make The Person ... Or Vice Versa?
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In a recent blog post, Paul Kersey quoted from an article at the American Greatness website about an attempt in Maryland to channel new housing for low-income families into desirable suburban neighborhoods.  Kersey's excerpt from the prior article includes this:

This plan operates on the unconfirmed, and most likely false, premise that it is the neighborhood or location that leads to success, instead of other key factors such as family stability. CityLab staff writer Tanvi Misra further expanded on this, saying that the success of these neighborhoods is less about the location and more about the fact that “the kids who grow up there are very likely to have a father figure.”

Law professor Glenn ("Instapundit") Reynolds had discussed precisely this dynamic in a 2010 post that merits regular repetition:

The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.

And I previously dealt with the particular subject of importing users of subsidized housing into middle-class neighborhoods in a 2016 post, Affirmatively Destroying Respectable Neighborhoods.  My title there was a nod to the Obama administration Department of Housing and Urban Development's 2015 administrative rule "Affirmatively Further Fair Housing" [AFFH], and my key source was a 2008 article in The Atlantic about the horrifying experience with a proto-AFFH policy in Memphis.  (Trump's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson suspended the AFFH rule in 2018, and as reported in the Washington Post on January 7, 2020 [HUD releases proposal, further weakening enforcement of fair housing laws, by Tracy Jin], his department has proposed modifications to make the rule, when enforcement resumes, be less burdensome on affected communities.) 


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