Housing Programs in Weak Market Neighborhoods: Developing the Right Tools for Urban Revitalization

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Author: Peter A. Gagliardi, Executive Director, HAP Inc.

This paper will focus on programs that subsidize the building or rehabilitation of units for owner occupancy, as opposed to the development of rental properties. Most weak market neighborhoods already feature a high proportion of renters and high rates of vacancy.Many one- and two-family homes, once owner-occupied, have become investor owned, often by default, and have suffered from deferred maintenance and poor property management practices. Increasing homeownership is a broadly shared goal for weak market neighborhoods, and our recommendations support these efforts. In section two, this paper will define and present examples of weak market neighborhoods; section three argues that revitalization of weak market neighborhoods should be a policy priority for the entire state; sections four and five explore the evolution and impact of housing subsidy programs and deed restrictions; section six outlines the inadequacy of current housing programs for weak markets; and section seven makes detailed policy recommendations to help revive the Commonwealth’s neediest neighborhoods.

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