For decades, the federal government's failure to provide decent and affordable housing to very low-income families has given rise to severely distressed urban neighborhoods that defeat the best hopes of both residents and local officials. Now, ...
however, there is cause for optimism. "From Despair to Hope" documents the evolution of Hope VI, a federal program that promotes mixed-income housing integrated with services and amenities to replace the economically and socially isolated public housing complexes of the past. As one of the most ambitious urban development initiatives in the last half century, Hope VI has transformed the landscape in Atlanta, Baltimore, Louisville, Seattle, and other cities, providing vivid examples of a true federal-urban partnership and offering lessons for policy innovators. In "From Despair to Hope", Henry Cisneros and Lora Engdahl collaborate with public and private sector leaders who were on the scene in the early 1990s when the intolerable conditions in the nation's worst public housing projects - and their devastating impact on inhabitants, neighborhoods, and cities - called for drastic action. These eyewitnesses from the policymaking, housing development, and architecture fields reveal how a program conceived to address one specific problem revolutionized the entire public housing system and solidified a set of principles that guide urban policy today. This vibrant, full-color exploration of Hope VI details the fate of residents, neighborhoods, cities, and public housing systems through personal testimony, interviews, case studies, data analyses, research summaries, photographs, and more. Contributors examine what Hope VI has accomplished as it brings disadvantaged families into more economically mixed communities. They also turn a critical eye on where the program falls short of its ideals. This important book continues the national conversation on poverty, race, and opportunity as the country moves ahead under a new president. Highlights from "From Despair to Hope" include: "For far too long, the government's response to the condition of public housing was predictable and uncreative...However, under Hope VI, things began to change. The program reflected a new view - that cities were centers of opportunity and not just massive shelters for the poor". (from the Foreword by Kurt L. Schmoke, Dean of Howard University School of Law and former Mayor of Baltimore). "Hope VI arose during a period of intense urban crisis in the United States that gave rise to the consensus that the extreme poverty in the inner cities and large public housing projects was intolerable. The prescription offered by Hope VI...reflected the bold notion that public housing needed not merely to provide affordable shelter, but also to generate broader community revival and to alleviate poverty". (Bruce Katz). "The benefits of public housing redevelopment - when thoughtfully planned and effectively implemented - can spill over to help turn around long-neglected neighborhoods, attracting new residents and new investments that strengthen a city's social and fiscal health". (Margery Austin Turner). "When public housing residents are integrated into mixed-income communities, those communities can fulfill multiple roles that are crucial to the urban workforce, to the housing mission of cities, and to the metropolitan economy". (Henry G. Cisneros). "Mounting evidence on the extraordinary personal, social, and economic costs of polarization by race and income supports continued efforts to strive for...a new national policy for metropolitan development". (G. Thomas Kingsley). It includes contributors such as: Richard D. Baron (McCormack Baron Salazar), Peter Calthorpe (Calthorpe Associates), Sheila Crowley (National Low-Income Housing Coalition), Mary K. Cunningham (Urban Institute), Richard C. Gentry (San Diego Housing Commission), Renee Lewis Glover (Atlanta Housing Authority), Bruce Katz (Brookings Institution), G. Thomas Kingsley (Urban Institute), Alexander Polikoff (Business and Professional People for the Public Interest), Susan J. Popkin (Urban Institute), Margery Austin Turner (Urban Institute), and Ronald D. Utt (Heritage Foundation).