Why Public Housing Is A Good Thing

by John Schrider for Affordable Housing Advocates

In recent weeks the media has reported extensively on the prospect of more public housing coming to the suburbs. Opponents have been quoted as saying that public housing will destroy property values. The media reports and community leaders seem to take this claim as indisputable fact. The reality of affordable housing and property values is a very different.

As the National Association of Realtors says on its website: “Are the sales prices of single family homes made higher or lower when low-income housing is nearby? Most studies indicate that affordable housing has no long term negative impact on surrounding home values. In fact, some research indicates the opposite! However, local communities continue to believe the myth, raising a cry of ‘Not in my Backyard!’”

What is the record in Hamilton County? Since the mid-1980s, the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority has developed about 500 units of scattered site public housing in Hamilton County’s suburbs. CMHA’s approach has been to buy houses and small apartment buildings, fix them up, and rent them to its tenants.

CMHA improves the physical housing. Also, CMHA has done a good job of managing and maintaining this housing. It screens the tenants and requires good behavior. The families who apply to move to this housing are often motivated to have access to better schools, employment opportunities, and safer neighborhoods.

Other tenants need affordable housing to be able to live near family and services. Public housing like this is a good thing. Many of Hamilton County’s leaders came to this realization as CMHA developed its scattered site housing over the last 20 years.

Now CMHA has an opportunity to provide more affordable housing in Hamilton County. It is a win for the residents and the whole community.