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Date Spring 2020
Client Published by Case Western Reserve University
Length 21 Pages

What Works Essay

Achieving Durable Mixed-Income Communities through Affordable Housing Preservation:

A Successful Model of Scattered-Site Housing Redevelopment in West Philadelphia

The latest What Works Volume features an essay by Karen Black along with Michael Norton and Jacob Rosch from Reinvestment Fund about how to create mixed-income neighborhoods through affordable housing preservation. This case study highlights the viability of context-specific strategies, including a mix of public and private developers and a novel use of existing financial products, to address the increasingly acute shortage of affordable housing. A critical feature of thriving mixed-income communities is the availability of a range of housing options that a broad spectrum of individuals and families can afford. This West Philadelphia scattered site housing model works to sustain mixed income neighborhoods as three universities and several large hospitals drive housing values and rents to levels that long term residents, particularly low- and moderate-income renters of color, cannot afford. At the same time, this case study cautions practitioners and public officials of the tension inherent in redevelopment activities that improve housing conditions for some low-income residents, but may also lead to higher property taxes or rents for others.