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The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS REENTERING ST. LOUIS COUNTY – Cities Strong

THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS REENTERING ST. LOUIS COUNTY – Cities Strong
— Read on citiesstrong.com/hello-world-4/

A challenging article by Terry Jones in the difficulties of St Louis City joining the county

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Increase in High End Rental Housing

A recent article has described an unfortunate condition. High end housing is finding lower rents due to an increase in volume. Low Income Housing has received an increase in rents due to a lack of volume. This is not good. Written by Paul Dribin

Can Affordable Housing Development Lead to Gentrification

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An interesting article from the Times. A New York City neighborhood builds more mixed income housing in an effort to increase affordable housing. Some neighborhood residents complain they will be pushed out. There do not seem to be any good answers. Written by Paul Dribin

More Bad McKee Stuff

The Post had some thoroughly documented stories about Mr. McKee over the weekend. These stories which were quite difficult to follow seemed to say that once again McKee scammed the tax credit system to derive funds for projects that never materialized. Bad stuff. Written by Paul Dribin

Negative Attitudes Toward Welfare

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An interesting article in the New York Times that use of government programs has risen but people hate the term welfare.

Criminal Justice Reform

I attended a great meeting at St. Louis University yesterday. The subject of the meeting was prison and criminal justice reform. The sponsors of the meeting in addition to SLU were the Clark-Fox Foundation, and The Criminal Justice Ministry.

At the meeting we heard from ex offenders or returned citizens as they are now called. They described their journeys and difficulties engaging life after being in prison. There were many significant statistics described at the meeting which are too numerous to convey here. The take away for me is that our present system unfairly penalizes too many poor people and that the parole and reentry process are set up for failure. Far too many non violent offenders spend too much time in jail. Non violent drug offenses are the biggest problem. Written by Paul Dribin

Building Permits in St. Louis Total $1.1 Billion

Lyda Krewson Issued a statement today on Facebook verifying this total. That is an all time high for St. Louis. Great news!

Another Update on Biddle House

I was at Biddle House today as usual on Tuesdays, to help serve lunch. The facility was vacant as the City of St. Louis is taking over and changing furniture etc. Hopefully services will not be disrupted. I do not have confidence the city can carry out this program until the permanent operator, Home Full takes over in the fall. Written by Paul Dribin

HOPE VI Did Not Meet Expectations?

HOPE VI was a HUD program to totally revamp public housing projects with a mixture of public, affordable, market rate housing, economic development, and social programs. The idea was to revitalize communities, offer a better living environment for tenants, and improve outcomes for low income individuals. An article now shows that far fewer housing units were actually completed under HOPE VI than announced. This is probably not surprising since actual financing and construction will bring more accurate results. My concern is that the program spent billions of dollars and did not achieve the results I described above. I worked on the Darst Webbe HOPE VI project here in St. Louis. It razed some bad public housing and significantly reduced crime in the surrounding neighborhoods. I doubt it had any important effects on the public housing residents and has not resulted in significant mixed income housing. Written by Paul Dribin. Attached is the article.

2018

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Study Finds “Selective Memory Planning” by HUD in the HOPE VI Program

A study published in Housing Policy Debate, “Broken Promises or Selective Memory Planning? A National Picture of HOPE VI Plans and Realities” by Lawrence Vale, Shomon Shamsuddin, and Nicholas Kelly finds that significantly fewer housing units, particularly market-rate rental and homeownership units, were developed in HOPE VI projects than were initially announced in HOPE VI award announcements. The study contends that HUD’s monitoring of HOPE VI represented “selective memory planning,” in which policy-makers ignore or erase the memory of initial plans and goals in favor of new plans and goals that are more likely to be achieved.

“Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere” (HOPE VI) was a HUD program to redevelop distressed public housing into mixed income communities with a combination of public, affordable, and market-rate housing for both renters and owners. The study’s authors compared the number of units, unit-type mix, and tenure initially announced in HOPE VI award announcements with estimates later entered into HUD’s administrative system for tracking projects’ progress based on revised plans. They also compared the award announcements with actual housing units completed. The authors conducted interviews with HUD staff to gain insight into their decisions.

The projected number of units in HUD award announcements was 11,600 higher than the revised counts eventually entered into HUD’s administrative system for program tracking. The revised estimates were 10% lower than the proposed units initially announced. The revised estimates of expected market-rate units were 29% lower and the revised estimates of expected homeownership units were 40% lower than the initial award announcements. This finding suggests that public housing agencies (PHAs) found market-rate housing and homeownership more difficult to achieve in HOPE VI projects than initially expected.

If a developer had to lower the expected number of housing units or change the unit-type and tenure mix after an award announcement, the new numbers were recorded in HUD’s administrative system. The system did not record the numbers initially proposed in the award announcement. The result is that it may appear a HOPE VI project produced the proposed number of units, unit-type mix, and tenure when the final outcome was less than what was promised in the initial award announcement.

The authors note that, on the other hand, it is reasonable that expected outcomes expressed in award announcements would change as the PHAs would often put projects out to bid to developers and complete financing after the award was announced. Most housing professionals understand that initial project proposals often change before construction begins because of development complexities. Expectations change as knowledge or circumstances change. On the other hand, residents may not understand this and see award announcements as promises to them and their communities.

HUD essentially “forgot” its initial award announcements, the authors contend. The report suggests that by engaging in selective memory planning, HUD prioritized its accountability to Congress and developers over its accountability to communities by comparing outcomes to revised expectations rather than comparing outcomes to the promises made to the community in the initial announcements.

“Broken Promises or Selective Memory Planning? A National Picture of HOPE VI Plans and Realities

The Future of Biddle House

As you know, I have written in the past that the operation of Biddle House will soon change. This facility owned by the city houses homeless men overnight and provides meals and supportive services to anyone who wants it. The operators of Biddle House, St. Patricks Center and St. Peter’s and Paul are pulling out. The facility will be run by Home Full, a successful homeless provider from Dayton Ohio.

Under Home Full, Biddle House will change its’ programming. They will now only provide meals and other services to individuals residing in the overnight program. This to me seems to be a small retreat from a full range of homeless services. Written by Paul Dribin

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