Citing his landmark research showing affordable housing in the wealthy New Jersey town of Mt. Laurel provided new opportunity and enhanced quality-of-life for its residents, Princeton University sociologist Douglas Massey told a capacity crowd of housing and education experts April 17 that Mt. Laurel could be a “model” for Connecticut. Massey’s presentation – “Mt. Laurel’s Promise In CT: How Housing Can Help Close Our Achievement Gap” – described how the Ethel Lawrence Homes in Mt. Laurel for those earning 10% to 80% of the regional median income had no negative tax, crime or property value impacts on the host community.
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For adults, the opportunity to live in a high-resource community redced exposure to disorder and violence, improved their mental health, increased their economic independence and didn’t reduce social support. For children, it improved learning conditions at home, increased their hours of study, improved school quality and didn’t reduce grade achievement. A panel moderated by Erin Boggs of the Open Communities Alliance agreed that greater efforts need to be taken by the state and municipalities to increase the number of housing and community choices available to low- and moderate-income households. They made clear that school quality and community services needed to be enhanced for families to choose to remain in cities but housing must be made affordable in a range of other municipalities so their schools and services can be made available to a wider range of incomes.
A CT-N recording of the IForum is available here.
Materials from the event:
Articles of interest
- Housing Policy is School Policy
- Connecticut Opportunity Mapping Report
- Baltimore Mobility Project - Shaping Housing Choice
- Impact of Housing Vouchers on Crime in US Cities & Suburbs
- Inheritance of Poverty or Inheritance of Place
- Community Violence and Young Children - Making Space for Hope
- Prescription for a New Neighborhood