Anonymous asked: Jesus fuck, public housing does nothing to approve the lives of the poor. It actually keeps them within the social structures that maintain poverty (and under the thumb of the state). They segregate the poor from the rest of society, and do not allow them the connections and agency to create opportunities. The are stifling environments. They are incredibly bad returns on investment for both the occupier and the public. Also, lol @ how "developer" has become the negative buzzword du jour.
it’s true that there are some degrading and shitty policies around public housing that make it hard for the people who live there. stuff like crappy maintenance, bureaucratic obstructionism, neglect, and overly aggressive means-testing that punishes people for the smallest success. plus I’m not gonna deny that some estates do have problems with drugs and similar. anything that can be a “community” and provide support can also be stifling or keep you in a bad cycle, they’re two sides of the same coin. just look at the family.
a lot of ink has been spilled on the question of whether public housing is isolating its residents from opportunity. The idea that poor people benefit from living close to people with higher incomes has gotten a lot of play. Loretta Lees does a pretty solid demolition of it that I’ve uploaded here, I really encourage everyone to read it. basically it’s based on some icky assumptions and there’s zero evidence to show that it works. People mix with who they’re gonna mix with and just being around a bunch of middle-class-and-up people does exactly nothing for poor people. middle-class-and-up people tend not to talk to their poor neighbours anyway.
poverty is isolating, and the way policy makers treat poor people is degrading. But public housing can actually help ameliorate this fucked-up situation. The geographic concentration of poverty is not necessarily a bad thing — it can make it easier to target essential support services, and ensure that people have a support network of people in the same boat as them, with skills at dealing with poverty they can share.
here is another fun fact about public housing: it is surrounded by other housing. in Australia, and in a lot of other places in the industrialised world, public housing is located close to the beating heart of the biggest cities. location-wise, many public housing estates in Melbourne are fucking awesome places to live, in highly desirable areas. they’re often close to support services, a lot of jobs, good schools, and lots of things to do. I know a lot of people in the private rental market who would happily move to public housing if they were eligible. If public housing is in shitty locations then that is a problem with the relevant public housing authority, not public housing per se.
In any case, if public housing didn’t exist people would still be sorted into different areas by income. poor people who can’t get into public housing tend live to live in much more homogeneously poor and underresourced areas.
If you really think “developer” is “the negative buzzword du jour” you are out of touch. I actually hear a lot around the traps about the magic of environmentally responsible development (which usually entails knocking down cheap crappy housing, throwing away the materials, and building all-new houses with all-new material and much better insulation for a luxury market). Developers are chic. They’re highly successful greenwashers. Gentrification is fuelled largely by developers, and if anything, not enough attention is paid to that and too much is paid to the individual choices of gentrifiers. I’m as guilty as anyone of this. But for real, fuck developers.
the bottom line is, what the fuck is your alternative? the private rental market has totally failed to provide affordable housing for poor people. rental subsidies and the like can’t make up for a shortage of housing, if there’s just not enough housing they’ll drive prices up.
public housing is far from perfect, but it needs to be defended. noting that policy makers neglect and fuck with social services recipients and concluding that those services therefore need to be abandoned is completely asinine and backwards.
your analysis is bad and you should feel bad.