2017 Symposium Industry Report: Pay for Success

opportunities. This means that individuals must commute longer hours to and from workplaces, and have more difficulty finding jobs. Research shows that urban areas with lower levels of economic segregation lead to higher levels of upward mobility among families. 58 The neighborhoods and communities NHPF serves are the economic backbone their residents rely on. Access to affordable housing in neighborhoods of opportunity is fundamental to helping millions of Americans find and main- tain gainful employment and improve their economic standing.

Joy is a single mother of two children currently living at Bayview Towers in Stamford, CT. For several years, she bounced among family members’ homes in central Connecticut, just trying to keep a roof over her children’s heads. Her name was on a waiting list for a Section 8 voucher, but she had been waiting for more than a year and was now faced with having to move out from her cousin’s apartment. Joy qualified for a rent subsidy on a LIHTC unit at Bayview Towers. Being at Bayview meant that she could have a permanent address to list on her resume and job appli- cations; and being in Stamford broadened her radius for her job search. Joy accepted a position in New York City working in an HR department. She was well aware that her wage increase meant an increase in her rent, but this also meant that she was working towards her goal of moving out of subsidized housing and buying her own home. “When I was able to afford to live on my own and provide for my own children, it gave me the motivation to push forward. I’m on a learning ladder. I have had many life lessons, each one giving me another step up and I still have work to do. I am not where I want to be yet, but I will get there. Without the help of rental assistance and the services from the resident ser- vice coordinator, I believe I would still be jumping from home to home and job to job. I have a steady job now and we no longer just have a place to lay our head, but a place to call home.”

Fighting Discrimination in Affordable Housing The United States has a long and harrowing history of explicit and subtle racial segregation that has left a legacy that affordable housing advocates are still fight- ing to overcome today. Across America, minorities, especially African Americans, occupy different residential patterns than white Americans in the same commu- nities, regardless of socioeconomic status. 59 Some scholars suggest that socio-economic differences between racial and ethnic groups prevent minorities from moving into affordable neighbor- hoods and contribute to residential segregation. They argue that economic

22 Pay for Success & Affordable Housing | Stefano Rumi

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