November 12, 2003
Mixed-Income Developments: Not Interested in Low-Income Households
Mixed-income housing has remedied many problems associated with other types public housing developments, but has many problems of its own. Many of the problems arise out of a dichotomy between the welfare interests of the government and the profit maximizing interests of developers. A regulatory scheme mandating consideration of governmental interests (similarly the interests of low-income households) could alleviate many problems, but it has yet to be seen
Mixed-income developments (resulting from inclusionary zoning) have allowed development of affordable housing with using less public funds than subsidized low-income concentrated developments. The inclusion of market-rate units allows developers to create affordable units without completely relying on a government subsidy. In situations where developers expect a greater return on market-rate units than they require, developers will cross subsidize the low-income units.
Low-income households have benefited from higher quality units in mixed-income residential developments.
Mixed-income developments rely on tenants willing to pay market-value, instead of only low-income tenants with few or no housing options. Therefore, the development must be built to a high standard in order to appeal to tenants with greater housing options. In many situations, developers build amenities like swimming pools or fitness centers in or to encourage market paying tenants. These developments, including the possible amenities, are a dramatic improvement in living conditions for many low-income residents.
Continual maintenance of the development is also a feature of mixed-income development that is not ordinarily present in other affordable housing developments. In concentrated low-income housing blocks the tenants usually have no other housing alternatives, therefore there is no incentive for private landlords to invest in maintenance. The inclusion of households with mobility requires landlords to continually maintain the public grounds in order to prevent higher-income tenants from relocating elsewhere. Also, higher-income tenants...