Explanation of delayed release of HOPE VI report
In 1989, Congress established the National Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing to explore the problems of troubled public housing developments and to establish a plan to address those problems by the year 2000. Following several years of research and public hearings, the Commission's 1992 final report identified the key factors that defined severely distressed housing: extensive physical deterioration of the property; a considerable proportion of residents living below the poverty level; a high incidence of serious crime; and management problems as evidenced by a large number of vacancies, high unit turnover, and low-rent collection rates. The report estimated that 6 percent, or 86,000, of the nation's 1.4 million public housing units were severely distressed based on these factors.
The Commission members agreed that existing approaches for improving public housing were inadequate to address the needs of severely distressed developments. Instead, they proposed the creation of a new program to address comprehensively the social and physical problems of distressed public housing communities. Congress first provided funding for such a program through the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act of 1993. Originally called the Urban Revitalization Demonstration Program, this public housing revitalization program soon became known by the acronym HOPE VI (Homeownership and Opportunity for People Everywhere). Congressional appropriations have been provided for HOPE VI every year since 1993.
In 1998, Abt Associates Inc., under contract to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), began a 5-year evaluation of the HOPE VI program. The Interim Assessment of the HOPE VI Program was designed to study program outcomes by collecting and analyzing data about 15 HOPE VI sites once redevelopment was completed and units were reoccupied. This report presents the study findings.