Does anyone here in New Orleans look beyond the leafy enclaves of Uptown? Did anyone think to meet with people who were on the ground looking at the failed promises of Hope VI? The answer is no, and the results will be ours to live with for many many years to come.

Has anyone wondered what would happen after the projects were torn down? Would all the woes and troubles that had been created by the neglect and mis-managment of HUD and HANO be magically removed, forgiven and made clean?

St Bernard Housing Project closed

St Bernard Jan 2007

The projects are gone the crime is not.

Projects down

Washington and LaSalle May 2008

Ed Goetz a housing expert at the University of Minnesot, is creating a database of the follow up research at different sites across the country to make sense of these very limited positive outcomes. On the whole, he says people don’t consistently report any health, education, or employment benefits. They are certainly no closer to leaving poverty. They tend to feel better about their environments meaning they see less graffiti on the walls and fewer dealers on the streets. But just as strongly, they feel a sense of isolation in their new communities. His most surprising finding, he says, is that they miss the old community. For all of its faults, there was a tight network that existed. So what I’m trying to figure out is Was this a bad theory of poverty? We were intending to help people climb out of poverty, but that hasn’t happened at all.
Have we underestimated the role of support networks and overestimated the role of place?

“link”: to read the rest of the article

Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led...