Mixed-income housing has limits

CHICAGO, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- A study of mixed-income projects in Chicago finds residents interact with people whose economic status is similar to their own, researchers say.

One goal of economic integration in housing is to end the isolation of the poor. But Robert Chaskin, Associate Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, said organized activities aimed at building community appear to have the opposite effect.


"We do community bingo, we have salsa class, we have stepping class, we had financial workshops, and 90 percent of our participants would be public housing (residents)," one member of a development team said.

The group studied three large developments in which higher-income tenants pay market rents and former residents of public housing get subsidies.

Meetings about crime draw a cross-section of tenants, the researchers said. But they can also increase tensions, since the higher-income residents tend to be blame the former public housing residents for any increases in crime.

The Chicago Housing Authority has been closing down large public housing projects and substituting subsidized housing in mixed-income developments.

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