Research shows that where we live has an important impact on our life outcomes. As a result, affordable housing providers face the dual challenge of how to bring opportunity to people and places as well as affordable housing. PAHRC’s new study, “Strategies for Investing in Opportunity,” brings together a variety of data sources to map the neighborhoods holding assisted housing units in relation to their community’s typical level of opportunity capital and neighborhood quality and the neighborhood’s trajectory. In doing so, it defines five investment strategies that community stakeholders can use to expand assisted housing in opportunity areas, bring opportunities to places, and preserve assisted housing in opportunity areas.
Overall, the study finds that nearly half of all federally assisted rental units are located in neighborhoods that offer typical or above the area level of opportunity capital to residents. ‘Opportunity capital’ is the term used to capture the various opportunities for upward mobility in a neighborhood that residents can access and later ‘spend’ to reach their goals. It includes indicators of transit access, labor market access, educational opportunity, and health. While many communities have been able to place a significant amount of assisted housing in neighborhoods with typical or above opportunity capital, others face barriers that make this effort more difficult.