October 15, 2002

Mixed-Income Housing Developments:Promise and Reality

Alastair Smith

W02-10: This paper examines the rationale for mixed-income approaches to affordable housing development, as well as the record of such developments in meeting their objectives, from the perspective of housing developers and those responsible for designing housing programs and policies. The drivers of the recent, renewed emphasis on a mixed-income housing projects are also examined and analyzed. The potential benefits this mixed-income approaches are summarized based on existing literature and interviews with key informants. Overall, this paper finds mixed-income approaches can have an important role in getting additional affordable units built, ensuring high-quality housing, and deconcentrating poverty. However, mixed-income housing is not a silver bullet to overcoming the difficult challenges faced by families seeking to escape from poverty or the realities of housing markets. Because mixed-income developments are complex, present unique risks, and often house fewer needy families than other types of development, mixed-income approaches must carefully consider the local housing market, the population to be served, financing options, the scale of the project, and the community context. This paper concludes by discussing the implications of these findings and suggests guiding questions for developers and policy makers considering mixed-income projects and policies…

Category: Working Papers

Read More About: Housing Markets & Conditions, Rental Housing, Affordability