As someone with a lifelong familiarity of the United States most impoverished city, Camden, New Jersey, I am a supporter of HOPE VI. It is the only thing HUD ever effectively did to de-concentrate poverty in neighborhoods. However, HOPE VI at its best fails to offer social bridging and mainstreaming opportunities of any real value for inner city residents. And that is almost the definition of a valuable “community.”

Now, due to housing deflation, a great opportunity exists to de-concentrate poverty in ghettos by suspending HOPE VI development and using these funds to purchase foreclosed and relatively inexpensive homes in towns and suburbs that already have the schools and human capital rich neighbors that HOPE VI aspires to attract but has fallen far short of creating.

The poverty rate in Camden is 40% while bordering communities is 8%. It seems to me Camden deserves a little outflow and the suburbs need to open up to those in need and desire of mainstreaming to existing stable communities.

Thousands of homes surrounding Camden in stable neighborhoods are now for sale on average of $75,000 per unit less than what it costs to create a HOPE VI residence. I suspect the situation is similar around the country. This is a great opportunity to alleviate racial-socio-economic segregation.

Building one more residential unit in this depressed market anywhere, ( outside of TOD )be it HOPE VI or a McMansion is almost the definition of insanity.

If the Federal government and CNU fails to change policy and take advantage of this rare market opportunity, then the rationale behind these policies must be deeply scrutinized and justified.

Excerpt from the charter yet to be seriously addressed: "The Congress for the New Urbanism views,... increasing separation by race and income..,one interrelated community-building challenge."


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