This morning’s brief on blight from the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center is followed up by a report this afternoon from the city’s Bureau of Governmental Research entitled “The House that Uncle Sam Built: The Continued Expansion of Subsidized Housing in New Orleans.” From the findings:
Since the Katrina disaster in 2005, an influx of federal aid has propelled a radical transformation of the city’s subsidized rental housing market. From accelerated public housing redevelopments to new mixed-income complexes to increased housing vouchers, federal aid has reshaped and expanded the supply. The number of subsidized units in New Orleans is approximately 21% higher than pre-Katrina and growing.
Emily Schaeffer discussed the problems associated with both direct provision of public housing as well as planned mixed-income developments in a 2007 issue of the Mercatus Policy Series. Based on fieldwork in New Orleans and a synthesis of existing literature, she found that portable housing vouchers were preferable both to recipients and to taxpayers:
Mixed-income developments are more expensive than comparable housing assistance policies. Moving housing assistance entirely to a voucher choice program would yield better outcomes at a lower cost than the status quo. The financing from the sale of government land should be taken advantage of as an opportunity to improve fiscal responsibility within the housing assistance program. The MID approach is unable to accommodate all of the families receiving assistance prior to the storm and has no means of ensuring ongoing financing without increasing costs imposed on the taxpayers.