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2009 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) Opportunity Mapping Project

Posted on 07. Dec, 2009 by

ABOUT THE PROJECT

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) and mapping specialists at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University have created a series of maps that overlay Housing Authority of New Orleans’ (HANO) data showing the locations of Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) properties, on opportunity maps of Orleans Parish. The goal is to evaluate whether the HCVP program is achieving its goals of providing increased housing choice to low-income families, and economically integrating neighborhoods.

Maps show that properties voluntarily listed by landlords on HANO’s HCVP property list are concentrated in low and very low opportunity areas of the city.

GNOFHAC’s 2009 HCVP Opportunity Map represents a follow-up to its August 2009 audit Housing Choice in Crisis: An Audit Report on Discrimination Against Housing Choice Voucher Holders in the Greater New Orleans Rental Housing Market, which found through testing that housing providers discriminated against Housing Choice Voucher holders 82% of the time. The 2009 HCVP Opportunity Map represents a first look at an ongoing project; GNOFHAC will be releasing a new version that uses 2010 Census data and additional indicators as they become available.

THE MAPS (click to view larger image)

NOLA 2 Bdrm

NOLA 3 Bdrm

Maps were created using opportunity indicators in five categories: Educational Quality and Opportunity, Economic Health and Mobility, Housing and Neighborhood Stability, Public Health Access, and Environmental Quality.

* Note: Listings were obtained from HANO’s website in October, 2009 and contain properties that housing providers have submitted to HANO as available to tenants using HCVP vouchers. HANO includes a disclaimer on the list that it does not certify the condition or availability of any property listed or that any of the properties will pass the Housing Quality Standards Inspections. The listings do not represent where vouchers are currently being used or all properties where it is possible to use a voucher.

WHAT THE MAPS SHOW (click to view larger image)

Section 8 Distribution

The maps show that the majority of Section 8 properties listed on HANO’s website are located in low and very low opportunity areas. Approximately 62% of 1 and 2-bedroom Section 8 properties are located in low and very low opportunity areas. Approximately 73% of 3-bedroom and 72% of 4-bedroom Section 8 properties are located in low and very low opportunity areas.

WHAT IS OPPORTUNITY MAPPING?

According to the Kirwan Institute, “Opportunity mapping is a research tool used to understand the dynamics of ‘opportunity’ within metropolitan areas. The purpose of opportunity mapping is to illustrate where opportunity rich communities exist (and assess who has access to these communities) and to understand what needs to be remedied in opportunity poor communities. Opportunity mapping builds upon the rich history of using neighborhood based information and mapping to understand the challenges impacting our neighborhoods.

Mapping opportunity in the region requires selecting variables that are indicative of high (and low) opportunity. In this context, high opportunity indicators would be the availability of sustainable employment, high performing schools, a safe environment, access to high quality health care, adequate transportation, quality child care, safe neighborhoods, and institutions that facilitate civic and political engagement. These multiple indicators of opportunity are assessed in a comprehensive manner at the same geographic scale, thus enabling the production of a comprehensive ‘opportunity map’ for the region.”

Within this framework, high opportunity neighborhoods are not “better” neighborhoods, rather they are neighborhoods where residents have access to a wider range of educational, environmental, economic and political opportunities.

More on opportunity mapping from the Kirwan Institute

THE OPPORTUNITY INDICATORS

GNOFHAC and Kirwan Institute staff chose a variety of indicators to measure “opportunity” in New Orleans post-Katrina. The 2009 HCVP Opportunity Map represents a first look at an ongoing project; GNOFHAC will be releasing a new version that uses 2010 Census data and additional indicators as they become available.

Download the list of indicators here

Questions? Contact us at (504) 596-2100 or email us here.

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