«A Journal of Policy Development and Research HoPe VI Volume 12, Number 1 • 2010 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Policy ...»
This article presents data from the final of the three resident surveys. In 2007, interviewers completed 199 final post-HOPE VI surveys with original Maverick Gardens residents, including 105 who were living in the new mixed-income HOPE VI community, 41 who were residing off site with their vouchers, 40 who were off site in other housing developments, and 13 who were off site in private-market housing, homes they purchased, or the homes of family or friends with whom they were doubling up.11 They completed in-person surveys with residents in Spanish (48 percent), English (47 percent), and Vietnamese (5 percent). The sample consisted mainly of female heads of households from a variety of racial/ethnic backgrounds (51 percent Hispanic, 18 percent White, 18 percent African American, 10 percent Asian), about one-half of whom were employed (48 percent). Many respondents had low levels of education (41 percent lacking a high school Another 6 percent of those who relocated were evicted or abandoned their units; the housing authority did not track them.
Interviewers completed a half-day training session that covered topics such as confidentiality procedures, the role of the researcher, accurate data collection, understanding the survey questions, arranging interviews, explaining the study, and overcoming objections. To obtain updates and discuss any issues regarding the survey and completing interviews with residents, the program manager held weekly briefings with all interviewers. As a quality control measure, after selecting a random sample of completed surveys, the program manager phoned the respondents to verify several answers to the survey questions.
Of the 216 baseline survey respondents, 134 completed the final post-HOPE VI survey (a response rate of 62 percent). In addition, to expand the sample of post-HOPE VI respondents and broaden the understanding of a larger number of affected households from the different relocation groups, a supplemental sample of other original Maverick Gardens households who were not surveyed at baseline was added to the final survey. Of the 110 additional residents who were randomly selected, 65 residents completed the post-HOPE VI survey (a response rate of 59 percent).
diploma) and low incomes (66 percent earning less than $16,000 a year) (see Curley, forthcoming [2010a]) for further sample demographics). Overall, the survey sample is comparable to the larger population of original Maverick Gardens tenants (in terms of race/ethnicity, employment status, and relocation outcomes, for example).
Linear regression models were used to assess the relationship between neighborhood characteristics and perceptions of TNR. Principal component analyses were conducted with questions regarding trust, norms, reciprocity, and place attachment, and Varimax Rotation clearly showed two scales.12 An index of TNR based on the mean response to 11 items (Cronbach’s α =.78) was used as the dependent variable. Respondents were asked, for example, about levels of trust and shared norms among neighbors, whether neighbors were willing to help each other, whether people were respectful and generally got along with one another, and whether people in the neighborhood were capable of solving problems in the neighborhood (see appendix A for a detailed list of all indices).
Responses ranged from a low of 0 to a high of 1. Independent variables included demographics, length of residence,13 relocation group, neighborhood satisfaction, and indices of place attachment;
neighborhood institutions, facilities, and public spaces; perceived neighborhood problems; and feelings of safety. Place attachment was measured as the mean response to four items assessing the extent to which respondents felt at home in their neighborhood, that it was a good place for them to live, that it was very important for them to live in their particular community, and whether they expected to live there for a long time (Cronbach’s α =.82). Scores ranged from a low of 0 (weak place attachment) to a high of 1 (strong place attachment).
Neighborhood institutions, facilities, and public spaces were assessed with a 15-item index that measured the availability of resources such as churches, employment and job training services, libraries, child care, recreation for youth and adults, afterschool programs, supermarkets, healthcare facilities, transportation, food pantries, and parks or playgrounds in the neighborhood (Cronbach’s α =.74).
Index scores ranged from a low of 0 (few resources) to a high of 1 (many resources). Neighborhood problems were measured with a 13-item index (Cronbach’s α =.96) assessing residents’ perception of the severity of crime and social and physical disorder in the neighborhood. Responses ranged from a low of 0 (no problem) to a high of 1 (some/big problems). Problems in this index included shootings; attacks/robbery; rape/sexual attacks; people selling drugs; people using drugs; gangs;
groups of people hanging out; police not coming when called; graffiti; lack of outdoor lighting;
trash in parking lots, sidewalks, and lawns; unattractive common outdoor areas; and lack of recreational space. Safety was measured with an 8-item index (Cronbach’s α =.79) that assessed feelings of safety and the presence of and satisfaction with police patrols in the neighborhood.
Scores ranged from a low of 0 (unsafe) to a high of 1 (safe).
Relocation group was included as an independent variable as a proxy for poverty concentration in participants’ neighborhoods. Those who remained permanently relocated with vouchers were Component one included trust, norms, values, reciprocity, and place attachment variables and component two included place attachment variables. For the analysis, the place attachment scale was used separately from the TNR scale.
Length of residence is included because trust and interactions with coresidents are assumed to take time (Coleman, 1988;
Saegert and Winkel, 2004).
living in more economically mixed areas (with poverty rates averaging 14 percent), as were those living in the new Maverick Landing HOPE VI community. Although HOPE VI created a “mixedincome” community at Maverick Landing, the current poverty level of the new community is unknown because the most recent U.S. Census was conducted in 2000 (before redevelopment).
For purposes of this article, it is assumed that the new Maverick Landing is a more mixed-income neighborhood because many low-income households relocated out of the community and higher income residents moved into the community’s new market-rate units. In contrast, people who moved to alternate public housing lived in census tracts with poverty levels averaging 31 percent (compared with the pre-HOPE VI Maverick Gardens census tract, averaging 43 percent below poverty level) (2000 U.S. Census).14 In addition to conducting the survey, interviewers repeated indepth interviews with 30 women from the original community over the course of the evaluation; those interviews provided rich data on the effects of HOPE VI and on the processes through which relocation and redevelopment affected residents’ lives. Themes covered in the semistructured interviews ranged from social networks, economic stability, and health, but the data relevant for the research question explored in this article center on establishing trust and social connections in the neighborhood.15 The sample for the indepth interviews consisted of women who had lived at Maverick Gardens for at least 2 years before the HOPE VI Program began and who were relocated in the first phase of the program.16 The indepth interviews were limited to female residents due to the high percentage of female-headed households in public housing. The sample was stratified to include women from the three main relocation groups: 11 onsite movers (37 percent),17 10 voucher movers (33 percent), and 9 public housing movers (30 percent). One-half of the women spoke primary languages other than English, and eight were interviewed in Spanish. Participants were recruited for the study via mail, phone, and in-person visits.
The author and a Spanish-speaking ethnographer first interviewed the 30 women in 2004 (1 year after relocation) and conducted followup interviews every 6 to 12 months through the end of the HOPE VI Program evaluation (a total of five rounds of interviews).18 They conducted interviews in residents’ homes. The tape-recorded interviews lasted between 1.5 and 2.5 hours, and participants were paid $25 to $30 per interview for their time. Tapes and field notes were transcribed, systematically coded, and analyzed using QSR N6, a qualitative data analysis program. A combined Voucher holders also lived in areas that are less concentrated with racial/ethnic minorities (35 percent on average) than public housing movers (42 percent on average) (compared with the pre-HOPE VI Maverick Gardens census tract, averaging 50 percent non-White).
This qualitative component of the research was also part of a dissertation study that focused particularly on changes in social networks, economic stability, and health and was funded in part with a HUD Doctoral Dissertation Grant (see Curley, 2006, 2009).
During the first phase of relocation (in which 116 households relocated), 41 percent of residents moved on site (to older units that were scheduled for redevelopment in a later phase of the program), 39 percent moved to other public housing, 18 percent moved with vouchers, and 2 percent moved out of subsidized housing altogether.
Because the community was redeveloped in phases, some households were able to relocate on site into older vacant units that were scheduled for demolition in a later phase.
The response rate per interview ranged from 93 percent for the first three interviews to 83 percent for the fourth interview and 80 percent for the fifth.
deductive/inductive approach was used for coding the data according to the research questions and hypotheses regarding changes in social networks and neighbor relations, in addition to allowing themes and concepts to emerge from the data through open coding. Interrater reliability was checked with a colleague who coded a random sample of transcripts using the developed coding scheme.
Findings Survey Data The post-HOPE VI survey provided interesting data on residents’ perceptions of trust, norms, and reciprocity in their current neighborhoods and their perceptions of physical and social disorder, feelings of safety, and the availability of neighborhood institutions, facilities, and public spaces. To assess the relative importance of different neighborhood attributes on perceptions of TNR, linear regression models were used. The TNR index was used for the dependent variable; independent variables included various individual, household, and neighborhood characteristics (most of which were associated with TNR in earlier bivariate tests).19 Exhibit 1 presents the final regression model, which included measures of race/ethnicity; language; length of residence; relocation group; neighborhood satisfaction; safety; place attachment; neighborhood problems; and neighborhood institutions, facilities, and public space. This model is very robust—explaining 76 percent of the variance in TNR.
The analysis indicates that three factors are statistically significant predictors of TNR: (1) neighborhood institutions, facilities, and public spaces; (2) place attachment; and (3) feelings of safety.
Interestingly, none of the demographic and household variables are significantly associated with TNR after controlling for the other variables in the model. The survey also reveals that no significant relationship exists between relocation group (here used as a proxy for neighborhood income mix; see methodology section) and TNR. This finding is in contrast with the policy assumption that creating the right social mix in a neighborhood will produce desired levels of trust and social capital, thereby improving the livability of the neighborhood and life chances of low-income people. This regression model indicates that other factors are more important for TNR than neighborhood type (relocation group).
First, the findings indicate that perceptions of TNR are higher for people who report a greater availability of resources such as neighborhood institutions, facilities, and public spaces in their neighborhood (for each unit increase in neighborhood resources, TNR increased 1.06 points).
Second, place attachment is a significant predictor of TNR. With each unit increase in place attachment, TNR increased.18 points. The data do not establish causality, however, and it is likely that TNR and place attachment reinforce each other. It could be concluded that stronger place attachment leads to greater TNR or shown that, with higher levels of TNR, people develop greater place attachment. The significance of place attachment here is consistent with Kleinhans, Priemus, and Engbersen (2007), who also found a strong relationship between place attachment For a more detailed discussion of bivariate results and a discussion on how different dimensions of social capital (social support, social ties, civic engagement, trust) are interrelated, see Curley (forthcoming [2010b]).
and social capital20 in their multivariate analyses of survey data in the Netherlands. In an examination of the link between place attachment and individual and neighborhood characteristics in the United Kingdom, Livingston, Bailey, and Kearns (2008) also found a link between what they call social cohesion or social networks and attachment to place. Despite the link between social capital indicators and place attachment having been established in several studies, the direction of causality remains unclear.
Third, safety is also a significant predictor of TNR—with each unit increase in safety, TNR increased.15 points. This finding implies that feeling safe in one’s community is conducive to greater levels of trust and positive neighborly relations. Feeling unsafe may have a “chilling effect” on social relationships (Saegert and Winkel, 2004) and consequently lead to social withdrawal (Skogan, 1990). It is also possible, however, that TNR contribute to feelings of safety by strengthening informal social control. Sampson and Raudenbush (1999), for example, found that strong Social capital was measured with indices of social interactions, norms and trust, and associational activities.