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Race, Class, and Real Estate: Neoliberal Policies in a Mixed Income Neighborhood by Ashley E. Spalding A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Susan D. Greenbaum, Ph.D. Kevin A. Yelvington, Ph.D. Jacqueline H. Messing, Ph.D. Cheryl R. Rodriguez, Ph.D. Margarethe B. Kusenbach, M.D. Date of Approval: January 11, 2008 Keywords: housing, urban social polic y, neoliberalism, HOPE VI, Tampa Copyright 2008, Ashley E. Spalding
Acknowledgments So many people have supported me in comp leting this dissertation. I extend my deepest gratitude to all of you fo r your essential contributions. I would like to thank my incredible committee for their constant support and thoughtful feedback: Dr. Greenbaum, Dr. Hyatt, Dr. Kusenbach, Dr. Messing, Dr. Rodriguez, and Dr. Yelvington. They all ch allenged, encouraged, and inspired meand I am honored to have had the opportun ity to work with each of them. I also am grateful for my familys support during this ch allenging process. Although they were always available to pr ovide encouragement, I do not know what I would have done without their help submitti ng my dissertation draft to my committee during the holiday season. The following are ju st examples of their many kind acts. My sister Whitney provided essential technical a ssistance. My mother and my brother Evan provided photocopies, motivational coaching, coff ee, and inspirational music. My father lovingly stood in line at the post office dur ing the busy holiday s eason to make sure copies of my dissertation reached my committee on time. I must also acknowledge the support of seve ral friends who were always available to listen: Silke Ullmann, Cassandra Work man, and Aaron Morgan. Aaron deserves special thanks for saving my dissertati on from a near technological tragedy. Thanks too to Daisy Matos for her assistance in the final details of submitting the dissertation.
i Table of Contents List of Tables iv Abstract v Chapter One: Introduction 1 Chapter Two: Mixed Income Hous ing, Neoliberalism, and Poverty Knowledge 6 Neoliberalism 8 Neoliberal and Political Economy 8 Neoliberalism and Governance 9 Neoliberalism and Culture 14 Mixed Income Housing as a Neoliber al Policy 17 Why Deconcentration? 17 Residential Segregation 20 Political Economic Understandings of Poverty 25 Poverty Knowledge and Neoliberal Ideology 27 Ethnographic Perspectives on Poverty and Housing 31 Chapter Three: Research Methods 35 Research Setting 35 Participant Observation 37 The Greenwood Community Council 37 Harbor Pointe Apartment Homes 39 Private Security Services 42 My Positionality in the Neighborhood 43 Interviews 44 Archival Research 47 Discourse Analysis 48 Ethics 49 Chapter Four: The Greenwood Neighborhood as a Site of Neoliberal Policy 50 My Introduction to the Neighborhood 52 Neighborhood Institutions 56 Schools 56 Recreation Centers 58 Social Services 58 Public Transportation 58 Sheriffs Department 58 Greenwood Community Council 59
ii Neighborhood History/Changes 64 Greenwood History 64 Low-Income Housing in Greenwood 67 Other Neighborhood Changes 68 Greenwood Complexes 69 Harbor Pointe Apartments 72 Chapter Five: Home or Investment?: The Priva tization of Public Housing 77 Harbor Pointe Apartments 77 Managing Low-Income Apartments 82 Section 8 Program in Practice 84 Benefits to Landlords 89 Costs 90 Risk Management 93 Harbor Pointe Apartments as Home 99 Chapter Six: Social Order, Broken Windows, and The War Against the Poor 108 Neoliberalism and Social Order 108 The Greenwood Community Council and Community Policing 110 Other Community Policing Efforts in the Neighborhood 115 Homeowner Definitions of Disorder 115 Yards 116 Hanging Out in Public Spaces 118 Unattended/Unruly Children 120 Low-Income Housing 123 Spatial Strategies for Enforcing Social Order 125 Gating and Fencing 126 Nuisance Abatement 129 Private Security Private Securi ty Services (PSS) 131 Weeding Out 135 Screening 136 Controlling New Development 138 Homeowner Social Networks 142 Political Economic Context 143 Implications for Mixed Income Housing Policy 144 Chapter Seven: The Social and Spatial Practic es of HOPE VI Relocatees 147 Social Construction of Space 147 Defining the Neighborhood 149 Crime and Safety 151 Neighbors 152 Location 154 Apartments 155 Family 158 Neighborhood Spaces 160
iii Social Order 161 Rejection of Broken Windows 161 Crime and Safety 166 Apartment Complex Ownership and Management 167 Respectability 170 Spatial Practices 173 Chapter Eight: Discourses of Consent and Contestation 176 Why Discourse? 176 (Macro) Neoliberal Discourses on Povert y and Low-Income Housing 179 Greenwood Homeowner Discourses 180 Neoliberal Understandings of Poverty 181 Pathological Depictions of the Poor 184 Taking It Personally 187 Agency 190 Distinctions 192 Ideological Contestations 198 Intersections (and Disjunctures) Am ong Discourses 203 Greenwood HOPE VI Relocatee Discourses 205 Ms. Baker 205 Ms. Clark 209 Ms. Berry 209 Ms. Harris 211 Ms. Sears 212 Ms. Walker 214 Intersections (and Disjunctures) Among Discourses 216 Homeowner Activist Discourses 218 War 219 Disease 220 Connections to Neoliberalism 223 Chapter Nine: Conclusions 224 Social Dynamics of a Mixed Income Neighborhood 226 Impact of HOPE VI 227 Understanding Neoliberalism 228 Policy Implications 229 Bibliography 231 Appendices 245 Appendix A: Transcription Key 245 About the Author End Page
iv List of Tables Table 1 Demographic Changes in Greenwood 66
v Race, Class, and Real Estate: Neoliberal Policies in a Mixed Income Neighborhood Ashley Spalding ABSTRACT This dissertation explores the impact of HOPE VI (Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere), a Housing and Urba n Development (HUD) program, on Tampas Greenwood neighborhood. The program represents a policy shift away from traditional public housing toward a mixed income mode l that has effectively privatized public housing. Through a HOPE VI program implemented in Tampa in 2000, two public housing complexes were demolished and redeve loped in this way. While some former residents of public housing relocated to ot her public housing complexes, many moved to apartments and houses in the private rental market with Section 8 subsidized housing vouchersmany to Tampas Greenwood nei ghborhood. In the dissertation, I examine how these policy changes affect both thos e relocated to the neighborhood and those already living in the neighborhood. The dissertation also examines the social dynamics of Greenwood in order to understand an act ual mixed income neighborhood. In addition, the dissertation is concerned with the inters ection of HOPE VI with other neoliberal trends in Greenwoodsuch as models for so cial order and part icular discourses.
1 Chapter One Introduction A local newspaper article opens with the fo llowing description of Tampas Ponce de Leon public housing complex: I t was a startling baptism fo r a busload of well-dressed volunteers who ventured into a world where 28-year-old grandmothers live in crumbling homes and children play in glassstrewn dirt yards (Rupert 1 998). The article reports on the visit of a new Tampa Housing Authority adviso ry committee to Ponce de Leon. One of the committee members is quoted as saying, I was as tonished at how horrible the projects were. It looks like a Third World count ry. Toward the end of this short newspaper article, the HOPE VI (Housing Opportunities for People Ev erywhere) program is presented as an opportunity to rectify the deplorable1 conditions of the Ponce de Leon complex. Another article featuring the new HOP E VI development begins, Crammed into more than a 1,000 apartments amid rows of drab concrete bu ildings, generations of Tampas low-income residents called College Hill and Ponce DeLeon home (Lengell 2003). The headline for yet another Tampa Tribune newspaper article read s: Hopes and Dreams: The Tampa Housing Authority is razing to rebuild decades-old public housing, with the hope of replacing the projects with a community; this reveals th e assumption that community did not exist in public housing. Based on these representations of traditiona l public housing, who would disagree with a program designed to improve these conditions? This program, HOPE VI, began in 1992 in 1 The term is attributed to Jerome Ryans, the Housing Authoritys executive director.
2 response to recommendations made by the Na tional Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing.2 The program aims to transform public housing in the following ways: Changing the physical shape of public housing Establishing positive incentives for resident self-sufficiency and comprehensive services that empower residents Lessening concentrations of poverty by placing public housing in nonpoverty neighborhoods and promoting mixed-income communities Forging partnerships with other agencies local governments, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses to leve rage support and resources ( http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih /programs/ph/hope6/about/ accessed October 27, 2007) Over the past fifteen years, more than six billion dollars have been allocated to this programs implementation in ci ties all over the country. HOPE VI must be understood in the contex t of neoliberalism. Definitions of neoliberalism vary considerably but tend to focu s on several important shif ts characteristic of the past thirty years: the w ithdrawal of the state (i.e., the privatization of formerly public services), the valoriza tion of the market, and a focus on individual responsibility. Although the program is currently being phased out, HOPE VI effectively privatized public housing. In addition, the focus on self-sufficiency and services that empower residents reveals neoliberal thinking about how to cure povertyfocusing on reforming individuals rather than addressing political and ec onomic causes of poverty. The local newspaper articles quoted above are just a few exampl es of the countless media treatments of HOPE VI, many of which were generated by the national office for HOPE VI (thomas-houston 2006). Treated as comm on sense in the media, there seemed to 2 This group was created by Congress in 1988 and charged with the task of identifying the most severely distressed public housing and proposing a solution.
3 be very little questioning of this policy on a ny front. However, for some of us, the program raised important questions glossed over in th e rhetoric presented in the media: Where do public housing residents go when these complexes are demolished? Are they really better off after relocation? How many move back into the redeveloped public housing? Do people from very different economic backgrounds real ly want to live in the same community? I first became aware of this housing trend while finishing my Masters degree in 2000 at the University of South Carolina. Colu mbia, South Carolina had received a HOPE VI (Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere) grant and plans were underway to demolish and revitalize one of the citys public housin g complexes. When I moved to Tampa to pursue my PhD, I was fortunate to link up with an existing research team of faculty and graduate students already i nvolved in investigating how fa milies relocated through HOPE VI and now living in Tampas somewhat notor ious Riverbend neighborhood were faring. Contrary to the predictions in media re ports, this preliminary study uncovered many unexpectedly positive memories of public housing and surprisingly difficult experiences in the new neighborhood. Looking to expand the research, in 2003 our research team applied for and received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to st udy HOPE VI relocations on Riverbend as well as Greenwood, another Tampa neighborhood into which former residents of public housing were relocated. The focus of this st udy was to understand relocatees social capital before and after relocationas well as to l earn more about how HO PE VI was affecting relocation neighborhoods.
4 The research questions for this dissert ation developed out of my participant observation in Greenwood. While conducting research in this neighborhood, I realized the importance of exploring policy issues at th e local level. Greenwood could easily be considered a mixed income neighborhoodwhich would seem to be an ideal relocation neighborhood for HOPE VI relocatees. However, I quickly learned that homeowners in Greenwood vehemently opposed the presence of low-income renters in the areaand the apartment complexes in which relocatees lived were not necessarily desirable living situations. I developed the follo wing research questions to inve stigate further: 1) What are the social dynamics of a mixed race, mixed income suburban neighborhood in Tampa, Florida? 2) How has the HOPE VI program affected this neighbor hood? 3) How do these changes in housing policy inters ect with other neoliberal prac ticessuch as spatial patterns and discourses that reflect neoliberal ideology? Attempting to answer these questions, I e ngaged in over three y ears of ethnographic research in Greenwood in conjunction with th e larger NSF project conducting interviews with both relocatees and homeowners, attending civic association meetings, and working as a leasing agent in one of the low-income apartmen t complexes. This di ssertation presents the story of Greenwood through the lens of mixe d income housing policy. In Chapter Two, I review the relevant literature. Chapter Thr ee describes the research methods I undertook in my investigation of these issues In Chapters Four and Five, I describe the settings of my researchin Chapter Four, the Greenwood nei ghborhood as a whole, and in Chapter Five, Harbor Pointe Apartment Homes, a low-income apartment complex where I worked in the leasing office. Chapter Six examines how ho meowners and local law enforcement in the Greenwood neighborhood have enacted a particularly neoliberal version of social order in the
5 neighborhoodfor instance, elimina ting visual signs of disorder in lieu of addressing social problemswhile Chapter Seven focuses on the pe rspectives of HOPE VI relocatees. In Chapter Eight, I examine how homeowners and low-income renters both support and contest neoliberal ideas about povert y and housing. Chapter Nine provides some concluding remarks that link my research findings back to the ideas discussed in this chapter.
6 Chapter Two Mixed Income Housing, Neoliber alism, and Poverty Knowledge The early 1990s heralded the transformation of public hous ing in the United States. The Department of Housing and Urban Deve lopment (HUD) announced that public housing had failed and a new model was being implemen ted. Leaving its Keynesian roots in the welfare state behind, privatizati on (and therein a phasing out of public housing) has been a central part of HUDs new approach. These changes are often glossed as mixed-income housing or poverty deconcentration. HOPE VI (Housing Opportunities for Peopl e Everywhere) is the largest of the programs to implement these ideas. Since 1992, through HOPE VI, Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) have been eligible to apply for multi-million dollar grants for the demolition and revitalization of public housin g complexes deemed severely distressed. The redeveloped public housing follows New Urbanist3 design principles and provides a mix of housing options aimed at a diverse clientele; a percentage of the units are reserved for individuals who qualify for public housing assistance while other units are market rentals. Over 200 grants and six billion dollars have be en awarded to PHAs across the United States (Comey 2007; Popkin, Cunningham, and Burt 2005). These changes have resulted in a complete restructuring of public housing. Because HOPE VI does not require a onefor-one replacement of public housing units, there has been a reduction in the number of hard public housing units nation wide One conservative 3 An architectural design trend that aims to promote social interaction and community through design.
7 estimate suggests that there has been a reduction of more than 50,000 public housing units nation wide (Hackworth 2007:50). In addition, the criteria for moving into the redeveloped public housing are much stricter than was the case in traditional public housing. Meanwhile, the Section 8 voucher program4 was expanded and is now HUDs largest program to provide low-income housingalthough cuts are being made to this program as well. A large percentage of residents of public housing complexes slated for demolition through HOPE VI are relocated with Section 8 vouchers. Jason Hackworth (2007) has suggested that housing policy in particular usually echoes larger political and ideological changes. This dramatic shift in housing policy must be understood in relation to the broader soci al, political, and economic changes associated with neoliberalism. I will discuss the neoliberal turn in greater depth in the next section, but want to introduce it here as an important aspect of understandi ng mixed income housing policy. Much has been written abou t the importance of understanding neoliberalism as it is articulated at the local level (c f. Brenner and Theodore 2002). Tampas PHA, the Tampa Housing Authorit y (THA), has been a recipient of two HOPE VI grants, enabling the demolition and redevelopment of three public housing complexes. The HOPE VI project of concern to this dissertation invol ved the relocation of 1,100 residents of the public housing complexes College Hill and Ponce de Leon in 2000; the new mixed income development that replaced these two complexes is Belmont Heights Estates, into which only a very small percentage of former residents have moved. Now only three traditional public housing complexes remain in Tampa5and one is now slated for 4 Although the program was renamed Housing Choice Voucher Program in 1998, the new term is rarely used at the local level. I will therefore be using the term Section 8 throughout the dissertation. 5 Small, scattered-site complexes are not included in this count.
8 demolition through a public-private partnershi p. Many who use Section 8 end up moving to a limited number of neighborhoods, and the influx of low-income renters has been a source of considerable conflict. This dissertation focuses on one of th ese areasTampas Greenwood neighborhood. In addition to being a primary site of HOP E VI relocations in 2000, Greenwood provides an opportunity for examining the dynamics of a tr uly diverse, mixed income communityas well as for studying neoliberal social control mechanisms, among other issues. A full description of Greenwood will be provide d in Chapters Two and Three. Neoliberalism Theoretical perspectives on neoliberalism ar e important for understa nding the shift to mixed income housing policy. There is a c onsiderable amount of work devoted to understanding what neoliberalism is, how it has become hegemonic, and what impact it is having socially, politically, and economically. I find Foucauldian characterizations of neoliberalism as a form of governmentality pa rticularly usefulalthough I also depart from these ideas in several important ways. Follo wing Jeff Maskovsky and Catherine Kingfisher (2001), I treat neoliberalism as both global economic restructuri ng and the forms of governance that have accompanied it. Neoliberalism and Political Economy Since the 1970s, neoliberalism has guided ec onomic policies in the US. This has had lead to profound changesincluding the openi ng up of global labor markets and a widening gap between the rich and poor. Some of the mo st significant economic shifts associated with neoliberalism have been the strategies desi gned to lower labor costs and develop a more flexible workforcefor instance, relocating industries to low-wage anti-union regions in
9 the US and overseas, as well as increasi ng corporate reliance on subcontracting and temporary part-time workers (which lead to th e decline in the number of jobs, wages, and security of lowand semi-skilled jobs ) (Goode and Maskovsky 2001). These and other changesincluding cutbacks in social serviceshave effectively resulted in an increase in poverty and homelessness (Lyon-Callo 2004). Howe ver, as discussed previously, dominant neoliberal discourses place the blame elsewhere. Neoliberal Governance The role of the state in neoliberalism is complex. The state is vilified through neoliberal discourses and social policies; big government is treated as an enemy of the poorblamed for facilitating their dependenc y on the state by providing too much aid (Hyatt 2001:202). According to th is perspective, the state must then free its citizens by withdrawing from their lives (for instance, by we aning women off of their welfare benefits). Neoliberalism is therefore often characterized as the withdrawal of the state. However, many scholars argue that this is not the case. For in stance, while neoliberal policies often involve both a rolling back of certain services, this is accompanied by a rolling out of others (Peck and Tickell 2002). In the case of low-income housing policy, this has meant the demolition (or rolling back) of traditional publ ic housing complexes and the expansion (or rolling out) of the S ection 8 voucher program. Maskovsky and Kingfisher in particular emphasize the continued role of the state in the lives of th e poor (2001:112). They write: Indeed, modes of neoliberal governance have been introduced into the lives of the poor largely through state action. It is thus in accurate to say that downsizing, deregulation, privatization, welfare state retrenchment (including welfare reform in the U.S.) and other neoliberal austerity meas ures have simply removed the state from the lives of the poor; rather, these policies have brought the poo r into new relations with the state (and the private sector ) (Maskovsky and Kingfisher 2001:112).
10 Rather than directly intervening in peopl es lives, neoliberal state action involves reshaping poor peoples relationshi p to the state. Hyatt writes that neoliberal social policies have defined the role of the state, away from its older stance of providing a safety net for the poor and basic services for the citizenry at large and toward the notion that it is now the primary job of the state to empower the poor and other citizens as well, to provide for themselves and for their communities own n eeds (2001:205). These new measures often involve orienting citizens (i ncluding the poor) to the valu es of the marketplace (Hyatt 2001:202). For instance, states ha ve adopted policies that requ ire Medicaid recipients to choose among numerous competing privatesector managed care plans. Maskovsky describes this policy shift in the following wa y: Politicians, policy makers, and pundits have justified this shift on the basis that it will cut costs and improve the quality of care for the poor. They argue that market forces will keep the costs of poor peoples health care down and that states will be able to use th e resulting savings to expand coverage (2000:121122). While state action is important to unders tanding neoliberalism, a broader focus on governance reveals the complex relationship be tween individuals and the state. Foucault introduced the concept of governmentality in a few brief writings a nd lectures (see for instance, his published lecture, Governmentality, 1991) to describe political power in such a way that it was not limited to the state. As explained by Nikolas Rose, who has further developed Foucaults initial ideas: Government, here, refers to all endeavours to shape, guide, direct the conduct of others, whether these be the crew of a ship, the members of a household, the employees of a boss, the children of a family or the inhabitants of a territory. And it also embraces the ways in which one might be urged and educated to bridle ones own passions, to control ones own instin cts, to govern oneself. Foucault thus
11 implied that, rather than framing investigations in terms of state or politics, it might be more productive to investigate the fo rmation and transformation of theories, proposals, strategies and tec hnologies for the conduct of conduct. Such studies of government would address that dimension of our history composed by the invention, contestation, operationalization and transf ormation of more or less rationalized schemes, programmes, techniques and devices which seek to shape conduct so as to achieve certain ends (1999:3). Rather than governance occurri ng only through concrete struct ures, Foucault examines the less tangible influence of ideas and discourse s, introducing a vocabulary for understanding these mechanisms. Technologies of governme nt are the means by which governance is enacted. According to Rose, a technology of government is: an assemblage of forms of practical know ledge, with modes of perception, practices of calculation, vocabularies, types of aut hority, forms of judgement, architectural forms, human capacities, nonhuman objects and devices, in scription techniques and so forth, traversed and transected by aspira tions to achieve certain outcomes in terms of the conduct of the governed (which also requires certain fo rms of conduct on the part of those who woul d govern (1999:52). Often these technologies are articulated and enacted through discourse as well as social policies. In fact, Foucault considers language to be constitutive of governmentality (Rose 1999:28). Rose suggests that to govern in an adva nced liberal way involves techniques of government that create a distance between the decisions of formal political institutions and other social actors, conceive of these actors in new ways as subjects of responsibility, autonomy, and choice, and seek to act upon them through shaping and utilizing their freedom (1996:53-54). According to Hyatt, th is involves the creati on of new kinds of subjects, whose own goals as f ree individuals become aligne d with those of the state (2001:212). Among the specific t echnologies of government asso ciated with neoliberalism are the promotion of various ways of acting on the self (what Foucau lt 1988 refers to as
12 technologies of the self) in order to addr ess povertyfor instance, through self-esteem, self-sufficiency, self-empowerment, and other ways of embracing individual responsibility such as homeownership. Taken up by the stat e in various ways, self-esteem has been espoused to provide, in the words of Barbar a Cruikshank, a technology of subjectivity that will solve social problems from crime and pove rty to gender inequality by waging a social revolution, not against capitalism, racism and ine quality, but against the order of the self and the way we govern ourselves (1996:231). For in stance, discourses of self-esteem play an important role in popular microe nterprise training programs, in which the individual is encouraged and incited to believe in his or he r own powers to succeed and then blamed in the event of failure (Goldstein 2001:23 6). Self-sufficiency is simila rly conceived of as a way of transitioning from welfare dependency. Welf are workers are instruct ed to require selfsufficiency of their clients (a lthough they must interpret what this means) (Morgen 2001). Self-empowerment also operates in this way. In her study of the tran sformation of public housing in England to a self-managed system, Hy att observes that pover ty is represented not as a social problem but as a new possibi lity for poor individuals to experience empowerment through the actu alization of self-managemen t (1997:219). Similarly, homeless persons are required to look within themselves (rather than to structural economic changes) for the cause of their homelessness (Lyon-Callo 2001, 2004). As I will discuss later in this chapter, mixed income housing polic y can be seen to utilize such political technologies. The strength of theorizing neoliberalism in terms of governmentality is that it reveals the nuances of how power works both through and beyond the state. However, there are several important critiques of this approach to consider.
13 A critique wielded by many influenced by Marx is that Foucaults ideas cannot address political economic proce sses. However, increasingly it is being recognized that the two theoretical perspectives need not be at odds. For instance, in his typology of four different modes of power, Eric Wolf recognizes the fourth mode of powerwhich is power that not only operates within set tings or domains but that also organizes and orchestrates the settings themselves, and that specifies the distribution and direction of energy flowsas being the type not only that Marx addressed in terms of the power of capital to harness and allocate labor power but that forms the backgr ound of Michel Foucault s notion of power as the ability to structure the possible field of action of others (F oucault 1984:428) (Wolf 1990:586). William Roseberry similarly writes that those who view Marx and Foucault as at opposite sides of a philosophical divide are wrong to do so; rather the approach of each can be seen to supplement the weaknesses of the other (1997:44). I follow Maskovsky and Kingfisher (2001) in viewing the category of governance as a way to return critical questions of state activity, na tional identity and class relati ons to the forefront of the discussion...to join studies of governance with thos e that have attended to recent shifts in the global economy of advanced capitalism (2001:108). John Clarke (2004) provides another important critique of using governmentality to understand neoliberalism. He writes: Governmentalities tend to be seen as too uni fied and coherent, br inging about too fast a closure between strategy and outcome. A ttempts to make the world conform, to produce self-regulating subject s, systems and relationships, and to install (and stabilize) new ways of be ing are governmental projects. But they should not be assumed to work (2004:115). Rather, we should not assume that strategies wo rk as the strategists expect and we should be attentive to the unevenness of outcomes (Clarke 2004:115).
14 In response to these problematic aspects of the governmenality approach, in addition to viewing neoliberalism through the lens of govern mentality, I treat neolib eralism as culturally constructed, with important pol itical economic implications. Neoliberalism and Culture Catherine Kingfisher (2002), Cris Shore and Susan Wright (1997), and John Clarke (2004) all emphasize the importance of culture for understanding neoliberalism. Kingfisher views neoliberalism as a cultural system: an approach to the world, which includes in its purview not only economics, but al so politics; not only the public but also the private; not only what kinds of institutions we should have, but also what kinds of subjects we should be (2002:13). Similarly, Clarke emphasizes the importance of understanding the cultural aspects of the welfare state: From a cultural standpoi nt, contexts are active and productive: they frame, shape and constitute what is possible, imaginable, knowable and desirable because they embody contested imaginarie s. Such imaginaries claim to tell us how society is, what it is becoming and how we shoul d organize to move to the future (2004:47). Shore and Wrights assertion that policy is an important cultural category (much like family and society) provides another way for neoliberal soci al policies to be treated as cultural phenomena (1997:7). In conceiving of neoliberalism as cultur al, I draw on the same concept of culture utilized by Kingfisher (2002), that arti culated by John and Jean Comaroff: the semantic space, the field of signs and practices, in which human beings construct and represent themselves and others, and hence their societies and hist ories. It is not merely an abstract order of signs, or rela tions among signs. Nor is it just the sum of habitual practices. Neither pure langue nor pure parole, it never constitutes a closed, entirely coherent system. Quite the cont rary: Culture always contains within it polyvalent, potentially contesta ble messages, images, and actions. It is, in short, a
15 historically situated, histor ically unfolding ensemble of signifiers-in-action, signifiers at once material and symbolic, so cial and aesthet ic (1992:27). This definition of culture importantly acknowledg es variation, contesta tion, and historical contingency. Treating neoliberalism as a cult ural phenomenon in this way, I recognize that neoliberalism is not coherent or complete and its dominance in contemporary life should not be overstated (Clarke 2004) The interconnection betwee n language and culture is another important part of this definitionfor instance, in its descri ption of culture as semantic space, an abstract order of signs, and neither pure langue nor pure parole. Language is a primary way that human bei ngs construct and represent themselves and others and hence their societies and hist ories (Comaroff and Comaroff 1992:27). Examining linguistic practices provides a uni que vantage point for gaining insight into political economic situations in particular (Kroskrity 2000)whic h is therefore very significant for understanding neoliberalism. Examining neoliberalism as cultural includes understanding the ways it shapes raced, classed, and gendered identities. Kingfisher provides important insights through her analysis of neoliberal ideas about pe rsonhood (2002:16-20). She points out that the neoliberal notion of personhood is based on a particular notion of Western individualism that is equated with economic self-sufficiency. Kingfisher points out that cultural cons tructions of personhood also involve conceptions of nonpersonhood. In terms of neoliber alism, the poor are not seen as being full persons. Examining neoliberal discourses, Kingfisher demonstrates that poor single mothers are often portrayed this wayparticular those who are seen as pathologically dependent on welfare benefits (2002:22). Kingfisher also poi nts out the racialized aspects of these portrayalsthat African American sing le mothers have come to epitomize welfare
16 dependency (2002:26). She states : this particular view of personhood, and of the societal relationships developed on its basisparticul arly those related to welfare reformare ethnocentric, masculinist, and racist (Kingfisher 2002:30). Another aspect of understanding neoliberal ism as a cultural c onstruction involves considering how neoliberalism is articulated at the local level. As Hackworth, among others, demonstrates, neoliberalism is a highly conti ngent process that manifests itself, and is experienced differently across space (2007:11). This relates to the idea of actually existing neoliberalism proposed by Brenner and Theor dore (2002), that ideolo gically neoliberalism seems less contingent than it is likely to be in practice. For instance the withdrawal of the state (for instance, the dissolution of public housing) is often simultaneously accompanied by new programs designed and implemented through th e state (for instance, self-sufficiency and homeownership programs). One way that actually existing neoliberalis m can be explored is by how it manifests itself in particular cities. Because urban environments undergo such rapid transitions, the inner city, for instance, has b een called a soft spot for th e implementation of neoliberal ideals (Marcuse and van Kempen 2000). A central argument of Hackworths book The Neoliberal City is that there is an ur ban geography to neoliberalis m, and that the practices associated with it is sometimes at odds with theoretical neoliberalism (2007:173). In this dissertation, I contribute to understan dings of neoliberalism as it is actually articulated at the local level in an urban neighborhood. Like Clarke (2004) and Hackworth (2007), my research suggests that ne oliberal practices may contradict theoretical neoliberalism.
17 Mixed Income Housing as a Neoliberal Policy Mixed income housinglike welfare reform and the restructuring of Medicaid (Maskovsky 2000)is a neoliberal solution to poverty. This po licy largely frames the cause of poverty as spatial concentra tion and its solution as deconcentration. This conceptual framework ignores structural economic issues su ch as the lack of a living wage for most entry-level jobs, the high cost of housing in relation to wages, and ongoing housing policies and practices that actively created racial a nd economic segregation (or concentration) in the first instance. Why Deconcentration? Through dominant discourses on poverty a nd affordable housing, it has become common sense that poor people living close together is a bad idea. It is popularly understood that this has to do w ith the inevitable reproduction of pathological behavior due to a lack of role models, positive social ties and defective neighborhood social organization. The prominence of these ideas has had much to do with the work of sociologist William Julius Wilson. In his influential book The Truly Disadvantaged (1987), Wilson framed increasing poverty concentration as th e cause of most urban problems (i.e., poverty, unemployment, welfare dependency). Wilson s ideas about poverty concentration support neoliberal ideology because they are based on Wilsons concept of the underclass as the socially and spatially isolated poor who devel op pathological behaviors such as criminal activity, chronic unemployment, welfare dependency, and teenage pregnancy. Drawing primarily on census data, Wilsons argument is that an underclass has developed in US inner citiesdistinguishable from urban populat ions prior to the 1980s. Defining the urban underclass, Wilson writes: Todays ghe tto neighborhoods are populated almost
18 exclusively by the most disadvantaged segm ents of the black urban community, that heterogeneous grouping of families and individu als who are outside the mainstream of the American occupational system (1987:7-8). Among those falling into the underclass categorization are individuals lacking job trai ning, skills and experience; those engaged in street crime and other such behavior; and families experiencing long-term poverty and/or welfare dependency (Wilson 1987:8). Wilson la rgely attributes the development of the underclass to global economic restructuring that has elim inated certain sources of employment for low and middle-income people. His explanation also connects the exodus of the black middle class from central-city nei ghborhoods to the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the prior lack of opportunity for black families to move to suburban areas. The result, in Wilsons view, is a significant underclass popula tion isolated in US inner cities. While Wilson links the growth of the underclass to structural economic changes, he positions concentrated poverty itself as a primary cau se of the reproduction of povertytherein deemphasizing structure. Wilson suggests th at the growth of the underclassand the resulting concentration of povertyin black communities he describes as largely heterogeneous in terms of class before the 1960s has lead to social isolation: isolation from the social buffer that the presence of mo re affluent families affords; isolation from social networks that might provide job opport unities; and isolation from role models for mainstream norms of family life (Wilson 1987:56-62). As Wilson sees it, it is this social isolation that leads to pathological behaviors. Susan Greenbaum et al. (nd; see also Greenbaum 2002b) have written about how influential the concept of social capital, popularized by the work of political scientist Robert Putnam (1993, 1995) has been to dec oncentration efforts. Although theorized
19 differently by various social scie ntists, social capital generally re fers to the benefits (possibly economic) of social networks and relationships As Greenbaum et al. (nd) point out, proponents of poverty deconcentration assu me that relocation to non-public housing neighborhoods (and also residence in mixed income developments) will lead to an increase in social capital. The social capital of public hous ing residents is consider ed to be negative or non-existent. Neighborhoods are themselves also believe d to have effects on individuals and families. Proponents of deconcentration suggest that a high poverty neighborhood will have negative effects in term s of employment, adolescent sexua l behavior, and success in school. Based on the neighborhood effects literature, the mechanisms of transmission of these effects from neighborhood to the individual are: 1) the differential quality of services available to residents of di fferent neighborhoods; 2) the so cialization of young people by non-kin adults; 3) peer influence; 4) social networks; 5) expos ure to crime and violence; and 6) physical distance from jobs and educational opportunities (Ellen and Turner 1997). This scholarship draws implicitly on a con cept that has been ha rshly critiquedthe culture of poverty. In many ways poverty de concentration seems to be a new way of asserting culture of poverty ideas that empha size self-perpetuating pathological differences among low-income blacks. Alice OConnor, for instance, suggests: In writing about the ghetto as a tangle of pathology, then, Wils on was reviving a framework that many social scientists and activists had rej ected, not only for fear of bla ming the victim but because it raised conceptual, practical, and political objections that, at the very least, were themselves worthy of debate (2001:271). Although Wilson (1987) differentiates his ideas from the culture of poverty, this does not convince O Connor (2001), among others. In fact, Wilson
20 has been called the intellect ual reincarnation of Daniel Patrick Moynihan (Steinberg 1995 cited in Rosenthal 1999). As Goetz writes, Wh ile some analysts object to the concept of the underclass, and others argue th at the association of undercla ss behaviors with minority groups is an empirical exaggeration, there is general consensus regarding the set of behavioral pathologies associated with concen trated poverty (2003:27). Culture of poverty ideas support neoliberal ideology because of their emphasis on indi vidual behavior, and disregard for structur al inequality. As a neoliberal approach to poverty, relocation programs largely place the responsibility on the individualwho is constructed as someone who will thrive once freed from the confines of public housing and gi ven the opportunity to thrive in better neighborhoods populated by more successful neighbors. If they fail in their new locations, it is then clearly seen as thei r own faultor the fault of th eir race. Meanwhile, voucher holders housing choices are lim ited to landlords who find it pr ofitable to accept Section 8 vouchers. Community building in HOPE VIs mixed income developments is based on similar ideas. Subsidized renters are expected to view those paying the market rate for their apartments as role models, and only the behavior of the low-income renters is expected to be in need of monitoring. Meanwhile, very fe w former public housing residents relocated through HOPE VI end up living in these developments.6 Residential Segregation In the common sense discourses regarding deconcentration, the old model of public housing is harshly critiqued, but the political and economic context of poverty concentration remains unaddressed. Concentrating the poor in public housing complexes wasnt simply the 6 A recent Urban Institute Report estimates that less th an 5% return to the HOPE VI developments (Comey 2007).
21 result of poor planning limited to public housin git had everything to do with far-reaching racist (as well as classist) practices enacted by some of the very institutions that are now called upon to deconcentrate poverty. Although legally enforced residential racial segregation lasted less than a decade (from 1910 to 1917) and in only about a dozen cities racial residential se gregation has been a defining spatial features of US cities for over a hundred years (Massey and Denton 1993). Over time, this pattern has been enforced a nd maintained in a variety of reprehensible waysbetween 1900 and 1920, through acts of violence by white against African Americans; then through ne ighborhood improvement associations that lobbied city counsels for zoning restrictions, threatened to boycott real esta te agents who sold houses to blacks, and enacted restrictive covenants that, if a certain percentage of property owners in a given area signed, could prevent a ll properties from being occupied by, leased to, or sold to blacks for up to twenty years (until 1948, when the Supreme court deemed them unenforceable) (Massey and Denton 1993:35-36). Racial residential segregation in the US ha s largely been enacted and enforced by real estate practices. Real esta te boards often initiated re strictive covenants and were instrumental in their widespread use. Blockbusting became a common practice among realtors. Realtors would select an area fo r racial turnover, ac quire a few homes or apartments, and rent or sell them to black fam ilies. Then the realtors would go door to door warning neighbors of the impending invasion of blacks and offer to buy their properties. There was so much demand for housing by blacks, who were prevented access to many neighborhoods, that the realtors co uld then rent or sell real es tate to blacks for much higher prices than whites would have pa id (Massey and Denton 1993:37-38).
22 Real estate valuation has played a major ro le in maintaining raci al/ethnic segregation, with homes in non-white or mixed neighborhoods appraised at significantly lower values than in all-white neighbor hoods. In his important book Crabgrass Frontier Kenneth Jackson notes that in determining the value of a home in the 1920s it was well known that the socioeconomic characteristics of a neighborhood determined the value of housing much more than the structure itself. As Jackson writes: Prominent appraising texts, su ch as Frederick Babcocks The Valuation of Real Estate (1932) and McMichaels Appraising Manual (1931), echoed the same theme. Both advised appraisers to pay particular attent ion to undesirable or least desirable elements and suggested that the influx of certain ethnic groups was likely to precipitate price d eclines (1985:198). The Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOL C), signed into law in 1933, systematized property appraisal nation-wide, de vising a rating system that e xplicitly undervalued dense, mixed, or aging neighborhoods. Neighborhoods were sorted into four categories of quality first, second, third, and fourthcorresponding with code letters of A, B, C, and D and the colors of green, blue, yellow, and red. J ackson points out, The Home Owners Loan Corporation did not initiate the idea of considering race and ethnici ty in real-estate appraisal. Bigotry has a long history in the United Stat es, and the individuals who bought and sold houses were no better or worse than the rest of their countrymen (1985:198). However, the HOLC applied these ideas to real estate appraisal in a formal and far-reaching way. Since its inception in 1934, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has further perpetuated racial segregati on and discrimination. The FHA had a profound effect on the lives of many Americansnamely by promoting the modern mortgage system that enabled a person to buy a home with a small down paymen t, at reasonable interest rates, and
23 guaranteed for 25 to 30 years. However, fina ncing was largely confined to suburban areas where blacks were not welcome (Wiese 2004) and the FHA underwriting manual clearly recommended restrictive covenants. The FHA perpetuated red-lining, a practice of not financing mortgages in minority neighborhoods. HUD policies and practices have also been implicated in th e persistence of segregation, as evidenced by th e Gautreaux lawsuit. In 1976 in response to a racial discrimination lawsuit against HUD on behalf of Chicago public housing residentsthe lead plaintiff being long-time pub lic housing resident Dorothy Gautreauxthe Supreme Court ordered the implementation of a program to addr ess residential segregat ion. As a result, the Gautreaux Program provided Section 8 vouchers to public housing re sidents (and those on the waiting list) to be used in relocating to predominately white suburbs or low-income predominately black neighborhoods in the city of Chicago. Over the programs twenty year duration, more than 5,000 participants were relocate d to qualifying neighborhoods (Rosenbaum 1995). The interconnection of slum clearance and public housing since the inception of public housing in the 1930s has been a major f actor in segregation, ensuring that the new housing would be built in poor, minority areas lo cated in the central c ity (Goetz 2003:31). Additionally, most suburban area s opted to not have housing au thorities and hence no public housing, a choice built into th e public housing legislation (Jackson 1985:225). The passing of the Housing Act of 1949 furthered the segr egation of public housing. An amendment was opposed that would have prohibited racial segr egation and discrimina tion in public housing funded under the Act, but opponents of the amendmen t argued that if raci al segregation were not allowed, the much-needed housing w ould not be built (Julian 2004:5).
24 Despite the end of restrictive covenants a nd many other overtly racist real estate practices, the US remains spatially segreg ated by race and class. Massey and Denton document continued black-white segregation in cities across the US, ba sing their assertions on a standard dissimilarity index that measures the percentage of black s that would need to move to achieve an even residential patt ern where every neighbor hood reflects the racial composition of the city (1993:20). Deconcen tration programs have not had a significant effect on residential segregati on. (Goering et al. 2003). Howe ver, there is some evidence that these patterns of segregat ion are slowly changing (Kingsle y and Pettit 2003; Rawlings et al. 2004) Although overt housing discrimination may ha ve been checked in recent decades, subtler discriminatory practices continue to operate. Massey and De nton (1993) cite a study by George Galster (1990) who synthesized wr itten reports he received from local fair housing organizations nation-wide concerning seventy-one differe nt audit studies carried out in the 1980s. Although the studies had different measures and methods, he concluded that racial discrimination continues to be a domin ant feature of housing markets in the 1980s (Massey and Denton 1993:99). In addition, a dua l housing market has remained in place for instance, homebuyers are often steered into either white or black neighborhoods, depending on assumptions made about their r acial/ethnic identifica tions (Greenbaum 1993; Massey and Denton 1993:100). Just because a recent policy shift announ ces that heterogeneity is a positive neighborhood feature, does not make it so. In fact, Putnam (2007) recently asserted that diversity in urban neighborhoods can actually be seen to impede social capitalalthough he neglects to examine the historical context in which what he views as diversity came to
25 be. In terms of how mixed income housing pol icy operates in the c ontext of continuing segregation, similar to segregationist activ ities of the past, many white, middle-class homeowners have opposed deconcentration and mixed income policies, creating significant barriers to the successful im plementation of mixed income housing programs. Although white middle-class homeowners increasingly expr ess attitudes of openness toward integrated housing, in practice they are ve ry hesitant to live in raci ally mixed neighborhoods (Massey and Denton 1993:92-95). While the mixed inco me housing programs do not specifically address racial deconcentration, it is to some ex tent implied given the historical connections between race and class in the US (Oliver and Shapiro 1995). Political Economic Unde rstandings of Poverty The focus on the behavior of the poor obs cures complex political economic processes that contribute to povertye.g., neoliberal economic restructuring, the affordable housing crisis, and the subprime meltdown. Mixed income housing policies like HOP E VI view poverty as a problem of incentive that can be addre ssed through training programs. However, the neoliberal economic model valorizes the market above all else, and companies pay low wages (often to temporary of flexible workers) and do not o ffer benefits. Studies on low-wage work have shown that it is not possible to make ends meet working these jobs (Edin and Lein 1997, Newman 2000, Ehrenreich 2002). The focus on dependency woul d therefore seem misguided in this context. Edin and Lein (1997) found that, in contrast to the stereotype of welfare recipients being strange rs to work, most women who r eceived welfare benefits had spent time working at low-wage jobs. However, because of the cost of childcare and transportationand the reduction in benefitsit was more expe nsive for these women to
26 work (than to receive welfare benefits). Ho wever, Edin and Lein (1997) also found that welfare alone was not enough to support any family in their study, recipients worked informally or illegally in order to get by. Understanding the current affordable housing crisis in terms of dependency is similarly flawed. Wages have not kept pace with the rising cost of housing. The National Low Income Housing Coalitions (NLIHC) annual re port (2006) states th at there is no county in the entire country where a full-time mini mum wage worker can afford a one-bedroom apartment at the calculated Fair Market Rent (FMR) for the area. More than nine million renter households in the US pay half or more of their income for housing (and 99% of them are considered to be low-income) (NLIHC 2006) Nationwide, on average, even a household with three full-time minimum wage workers coul d not afford a two-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent (NLIHC 2006). In the political economic context of th is years subprime mortgage crisis, homeownership rhetoricwhich has been a fo cus of neoliberal poverty policy (including through HOPE VI)is particularly troublesom e. Through the sudden availability of unconventional mortgages, homeownership became a possibility for many who would not have otherwise qualified to pur chase a home based on income, job stability, and personal credit criteria. However, a record-breaking num ber of individuals and families are defaulting on their mortgages and foreclosure rates are skyrocketing. Many found themselves overburdened by sharp increases in variable interest rates and other aspects of their loans (Nocera 2007). It might be usef ul to ask why the critics of concentration focus on fixing the behavior of the poor, rather than the behavior of bankers and other le nders. It is probable that a further increase in poverty will result from these forclosures.
27 Considering this political economic contex t, it would seem that more effective solutions to poverty would involve political economic changes rather than targ eting the behavior of the poor. One intriguing soluti on is Chester Hartmans (1998) proposal that housing be treated as a basic human right. He ar gues that the cost to individuals and society at large of not having adequate housing is in fact much great er than the cost to provide housing for everyone. Another aspect of his argument is that a right to housing would supersede a right to other resources because it takes up such a large portion of ones incomeas well as its centrality to everyday life. Poverty Knowledge and Neoliberal Ideology Neoliberal ideology dominates scholarship on poverty and housing in the US as well. In this way, neoliberal ideology has had an effect on the type of research that is conducted on these issuesand certainly the research that influences policy. Ali ce OConnor articulates the relationship between poverty research and policymaking in the following way: What matters in determining whether a nd how knowledge connect s to policy is not only the classical enlightenment properties of rationality and verifiability; nor is it only the way knowledge is mobilized, packaged, and circulated; nor even whether the knowledge corresponds with (or effectivel y shatters) popularly held values and conventional wisdom. All of these things ha ve, indeed, proved important in affecting the course of poverty and welfare policy. Even more important in determining the political meaning and policy consequences of poverty knowledge, though, has been the power to establish the terms of debateto contest, gain, and ultimately to exercise ideological hegemony over the bounda ries of political discourse (2001:17). In this way, neoliberalism has defined the te rms of what poverty research will influence poverty and low-income housing policies. Althou gh there are numerous strands of research on these issues, those that gain institutional support are framed in terms of neoliberal ideas. As previously established, neoliberal ideol ogy involves a focus on individual responsibility
28 rather than social structures. Along those lines, the research us ed to support the neoliberal shift in housing policy focuses on the problematic behaviors of the poor. As previously discussed, more than any other contemporary scholar, William Julius Wilsons work (1987, 1996) has been taken up by policymakers to justify this shift. Very soon after the publication of The Truly Disadvantaged (1987), aspects of Wilsons work were taken up by policymakers. During Henry Ci sneross term as HUD secretary, 1993 through 1997, a number of HUD initiatives were enacted to deconcentrate poverty (the obvious solution to concentrated poverty)most significantly HOPE VI and the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) Program, another mixed in come housing program that, beginning in the early 1990s, was implemented in five US cities. The elements of HOPE VI as listed on the HUD websitethe third, in par ticularreveal this strong connection to Wilsons work: Lessening concentrations of poverty by placing public housing in nonpoverty neighborhoods and promoting mixed-income communities ( http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih /programs/ph/hope6/about/ accessed October 27, 2007). Cisneros was obviously influenced by W ilson when he depicted the contemporary American nightmare as: hi gh concentrations of poor minor ities in poverty-impacted, revenue-strapped, physically decay ing inner cities and older s uburbs who are isolated from the opportunities generated in wealthier, vigorously grow ing outer communities of metropolitan areas (1996:37). This concern with poverty deconcentration now dominates social science scholarship on these issues. Citing Paul Jargowsky (1996), Ed Goetz discusses thr ee main streams of scholarly inquiry inspired by the publication of The Truly Disadvantaged : 1) contesting the factors that cause concentrat ed poverty; 2) further documenting poverty concentration nation-
29 wide; and 3) considering the consequences of concentrated po vertyon those residing within such neighborhoods, as well as the larger communities in which the neighborhoods are located (Goetz 2003: 21-22). It is important to note that despite differences, all three strands of scholarship reta in the unchallenged focus on poverty deconcentration. The neighborhood effects litera ture, which fits somewhat with this third strand of research inspired by Wilsons work, is also infl uential in the policy arena. This scholarship is frequently cited to sup port deconcentrating poverty and promoting mixed income communities. The studies (both theoretical and empirical) consider how ones neighborhood (i.e. economic environment) can have positiv e and negative effects on a persons health, employment, education, and like lihood of teen pregnancy, among other social issues (Ellen and Turner 1997). This body of research supports neoliberal ideology because it frames the problem (and solution) to poverty in terms of changing the behavior s of individuals by changing their environment. Although these st udies are not very c onclusive about the positive effects of moving from high poverty to lower poverty neighborhoods (Galster and Zobel 1998), they continue to be cited to support mixed-income housing policy. Empirical research on the MTO program is largely structured in terms of neighborhood effects. However, this research suggests mixed results rather than supporting the neighborhood effects claims; this is neve r mentioned in dominant discourses on the program. For instance, the results reported in Goering and Feins (2003) recent edited volume on MTO research are framed very posit ively, but most studies presented less than overwhelming findings. MTO studies report th at many relocatees reported satisfaction with their housing and new neighborhoods; however, the program has not resulted in an
30 improvement in income (Clampet-Lundquist 2004, Goering, Feins, and Richardson 2002, Katz, Kling, and Leibman 2001, Turney et al. 2006). Research reports on HOPE VI are much lik e those on the MTO program. Despite a positive framing of the findings that supports th e continuation of HOPE VI, the details of these reports often contain some troubling data. For instance, the most recent Urban Institute report on HOPE VI HOPE VI: Where Do We Go From Here? (2007), a series of separately authored reportswas presented as support for HOPE VI reauthorization. Indeed, a large percentage of HOPE VI relocatees rated th eir new housing very highly (Comey 2007), fear of crime had been reduced (Popkin and Cove 2007), and, most significantly, youth behavior was improved (Gallagher and Bajaj 2007). However, living costs increased for many (Buron, Levy, and Gallagher 2007); moreover, ther e was no increase in the percent of relocatees employed and the health of relo catees had worsened considerablyalthough the specific cause could not be determined (Manjarrez, Popkin, and Guernsey 2007). In terms of examining the relationship between poverty knowledge and politics as OConnor (2001) does, HOPE VI res earch is an interesting exam ple. Research on HOPE VI has been primarily produced by two Washington DC independent research institutesthe Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute (U I). The major publications have been the Urban Institutes HOPE VI Panel Study: A Baseline Report (2002) and two reports coauthored by representatives from both institutions: A Decade of HOPE VI: Research Findings and Policy Challenges (Popkin et al. 2004), and the most recent HOPE VI: Where Do We Go From Here? (2007). All of these reports follow the pattern I described previously, of framing the findings positively de spite the fact that much of the evidence presented would seem to challenge the effectivene ss of the policy. It is important to note that
31 many of the researchers in these organizations also have ties to HUD. Brookings and UI receive funding to conduct research on HOPE VI and have al so supported HOPE VI legislation (for instance, UI researcher Susan Popkin provi ded Congressional testimony for HOPE VIs reauthorization in 2007). Similarl y, Xavier de Souza Briggs, an academic who publishes on these issues, and Margery Austin Turner, a UI researcher have spoken out in support of mixed income developments in Ne w Orleans (Briggs and Turner 2005). Popkin, Turner, and even Briggs all formerly worked for HUD. Bruce Katz is Vice President of the Brookings Institution (and has authored a number of publications) and was also Cisneross former chief of staff at HUD in the early 1990s. Jill Khadduri, a resear cher at the research firm ABT who publishes on the topic of mixe d income housing (Khadduri and Martin 1997; Khadduri 2001; Khadduri, Buron, and Lam 2004) also used to work for HUD. Ethnographic Perspectives on Poverty and Housing Although they have not necessarily influen ced policy (for reasons discussed above), other strands of scholarly research have posed questions that destabilize the ideas upon which neoliberal policies are based. Anthropologica l contributions have been significant. A number of anthropologists have ch allenged Wilsons ideas with ethnographic evidence. Anthropologists have taken Wilson to task for ma king claims about low-income black communities without any et hnographic evidence. For instance, Wilsons portrayal of a mythic past of racially segregated crossclass communities where poor black children lived next to middle-class role models is placed in question by ethnographic accounts that describe social distancing and feelings of contempt between the different groups (Curtis 1999:124; Newman 1992; Williams 1992). Kathryn Newman s article, Culture and Structure in The Truly Disadvantaged (1992), provides an excellent critique of the mismatch between theory
32 and data in Wilsons work. Sh e identifies several ways that Wilson, without using the term culture, connects structural causes to certain cultural effects alt hough he has no real data; such conclusions cannot be made using census da ta and Newman suggests that this is where ethnography comes in. She discusses Wils ons ideas about household formation and childbearing behavior; his social isolation hypothesis; the institutional structure of the ghetto community; and the aspirations and e xpectations of minority childrendisputing Wilsons assertions by presenting contras ting ethnographic data (Newman 1992). For instance, Newman presents ethnographic res earch from anthropologist Ulf Hannerzs ethnography of a street in Washington, D.C. to counter Wilsons claims of heterogeneous class mixing in black communities prior to the 1960s. Stephen Gregory (1998) also indicates that the mere presence of middle-class blacks is not the answer. Hi s ethnography of Black Corona, a historically black Queens, New Yo rk community, describes black middle-class activism that embraces conservative homeowner politics rather than more class-inclusive politics. Anthropologists have also challenged the stereotype of poor, black communities as pathological. As emphasized by Carol Stack (1974), among others (for instance, see Greenbaum 2002b), poor families living close toge ther can have the positive effect of enabling the formation of social networks to provide basic needs and services such as food, transportation, and childcare. As Alice OConnor writes, The pathology, Stack and others emphasized, lay not within the family but in the racism and chronic unemploymentand a welfare systemthat made stab le, monogamous relationships di fficult to sustain (2001:269). An increasing number of anthropologists have begun to view so cial policy as an important area for research. For instance, Kare n Curtis calls for an ethnographic approach to
33 poverty policies in her 1999 ar ticle, Bottom-Up Poverty an d Welfare Policy Discourse: Ethnography To the Rescue? Lamenting that poverty research has been dominated by economics, political science, sociology and geography, she writes: Thus, the poor are well counted and classified by income, race, ethni city, gender, household and family status, as well as location, but much less is known about th eir provisioning strategi es, interactions with societal institutions, percepti ons of opportunity structures values and aspirations, or decisions about household and family fo rmation (Curtis 1999:104). Ethnographys bottom-up approach, Curtis asserts, is uniquely equipped to fill in these critical research gaps. Similarly, in her review article, P overty among African Americans in the Urban United States, Brett Williams suggests that ethnography can dismantle the widespread notion that the poor, especia lly the underclass, compose a homogenous mass across the nation, and that their behavior is predictable and uniform (1992:168). She emphasizes the importance of [l]ooking at ac tual, rather than hypothetical neighborhoods in understanding poverty (1992:168). A number of anthropologists have responde d to the need for ethnographic studies of policy. Sandra Morgen and Jeff Maskovsky s review, The Anth ropology of Welfare Reform (2003), synthesizes re cent ethnographic contributions to the study of welfare policy. Anthropological research has recently cha llenged claims of welfare reforms success; brought to light the lived realit ies of poor families; explored policy from the perspective of welfare bureaucrats as well as those receiving be nefits; and examined the effects of welfare restructuring on the citizenship of the poor (Morgen and Maskovsky 2003). The growth of ethnographic research on policy is also evidenced by the Amer ican Anthropological Association (AAA) recent establishment of a co mmittee on public policy.
34 By conducting ethnographic research on HOPE VI our research team has contributed to understandings of this polic y (see for instance, Greenbaum et al. 2007). C ontrary to the theoretical literature that supports HOPE VI, our research has shown that HOPE VI relocatees had considerable social capital before relocationand less after relocation. Although many are comfortable in their new home s in new neighborhoods, they also recalled many positive aspects about living in public housing that are not considered in dominant discourses on these issues. This dissertation contributes to the growing literature critically engaging neoliberal social policies by examining mixed income housing through ethnograp hic research in a Tampa neighborhood affected by the policy thro ugh HOPE VI relocations. On the one hand, my dissertation research investigates the impact this policy shift has had on one particular neighborhood. On the other hand, it is an examination of a particular local articulation of neoliberalism. Chapter Thr ee details the research project I undertook.
35 Chapter Three Research Methods This chapter outlines the methods I utilized to answer the following research questions: 1) What are the social dynami cs of a mixed race, mixed income suburban neighborhood in Tampa, Florida? 2) How has the HOPE VI program affected this neighborhood? 3) How do these changes in hous ing policy intersect wi th other neoliberal practices (i.e., spatial ar rangements and discourses)? In order to answer these questions, I conducted ethnographic research in Tampas Greenwood neighborhood over a three-year perio d, from 2003 to 2006. I relied primarily on participant observation and semi-structured in terviews but also incorporated archival research and discourse analysis into my research design. Research Setting My research questions evolved from initial participant observation activities in the Greenwood neighborhood for a team research project on HOPE VI for which I was a research assistant. Greenwood was selected as a site for that research project because the community was a key site for HOPE VI reloca tions in Tampa in 2000. Statistically, other than public housing complexes, the Green wood neighborhood received more HOPE VI relocatees than any other Tampa neighborhood. While the team research project was interested in social capital before and afte r relocation, I began to focus on the increasingly popular idea of mixed income housing as a solu tion to poverty. In Greenwood, I was able to observe the social dynamics of an actual mi xed income neighborhood and the effects of the
36 implementation of this policy in this s ub/urban Tampa neighborhood. HOPE VI was my point of entry, but in Greenwood this program inte rsects with larger i ssues related to mixed income housing policysuch as race and class id entities and discourses and neoliberal shifts in definitions of the social order. The Greenwood neighborhood is ideal for explor ing these research questions. In particular, while the idea of creating mixed in come housing is being promoted nation-wide through HOPE VI and the Section 8 program, Gr eenwood already consis ted of a mix of residents of varying incomes and racial/et hnic backgrounds, ranging from very low income to highly affluent families who are black, white and Latino. I became fascinated with the neighborhood as a naturally occurring example of a mixed income neighborhood especially when it became apparent to me that a significant constituency of Greenwood homeowners were actively contesting the pr esence of low-income renters in their neighborhood. The resistance and hostility of more affluent homeowners to income mixing would seem destined to undermin e the primary goal of mixed income housing programsnamely, that poor residents benefit from their interactions with middle-class neighbors. This resistance would seem to comp licate, if not contradi ct, the policy vision of mixed income housing. In Greenwood, it seems th at the affluent component does not want to mix with the public housing gr oup, let alone mentor them. For the purposes of my dissertation, Ta mpas Greenwood community is defined by the boundaries of the census trac t that includes it. Working with a census tract definition enabled me to obtain statistical data releva nt to my research questions, such as the neighborhoods economic and racial/ethnic ma ke-up. The boundaries of the census tract referred to throughout the dissertation as Gre enwood are: the Hillsborough River to the
37 north; 17th Street to the east; Park Avenue to the south; and 35th Street to the west. This area includes a number of residential developmen ts, apartment complexes, churches, schools,7 and to the south, a heavy industrial area. A lthough residents definitions of their neighborhood vary, they generally follow this definition. While not all residents used this name to refer to the areain fact, most did not identify with a neighbor hood namethe neighborhood civic association, the Sheriffs department, and the local newspaper had adopted it. Participant Observation Much of my insight into the Green wood community has resulted from my participation in the neighborhood. Because the neighborhood consists of residents of various economic backgrounds, in order to interact with both middle-class homeowners and lowincome renters, it was important for me to ma ke multiple points of entry. The necessity of this research strategy alone reflects the lack of interpenetration of the various social networks of these different segments. Along these lines, I spent over three years conducting participant observation with the neighborhoods civic associ ation and nearly two years working in the leasing office of one of Greenwo ods low-income apartment complexes. My observations were recorded in written field notes over the research period. The Greenwood Community Council My introduction to the Greenwood neighbor hood was through the neighborhood civic association, the Greenwood Community Council, wh ich I will refer to as GCC. Driving through the area, I had seen th e organizations monthly meeti ngs advertised on a bus stop bench with the slogan Neighbors Helping Nei ghbors. Prior to attending my first GCC meeting in June of 2003, I knew only generally about Greenwoodthat it had been a major 7 Actually, while one of these school s, Hoover Elementary, is within th e census tract boundaries, Robinson High School is just outside the census tract boundary.
38 site of HOPE VI relocations, and I had examined its decennial demographic profile. During the first GCC meeting, I learned that there wa s significant resistance among homeowners to low-income renters in the neighborhood. Afte r listening to the racially and economically coded discourses at this meeting, I began deve loping my dissertation pr oject to investigate critically mixed income housing policy on the ground. I attended Greenwood Community Council meet ings almost every month for more than two years, from the summer of 2003 to th e summer of 2005. After this two-year period, I remained on the organizations email list to receive monthly meeting minutes and important announcements and also attended meetings when I could. During my two years of intense participant observation, in addition to attend ing meetings, I participated in two of the neighborhood clean-ups the GCC organized, and I successfully wrote a small grant that provided funds for the GCC to purchase portabl e signs for advertisi ng their meetings in numerous places in the neighborhood. By attending the GCC meetings, I learned a bout the concerns and activities of a group of organized homeownersmuch of whic h revolved around low-income housing in Greenwood. I also learned about the mechanisms of social order (and control) that the group utilizes in its efforts to enact their vision of a better neighborhood, which seems to include controlling and where possible reducing low-income housing with the help of code enforcement, the Hillsborough County Sheriff s Department (HCSD), nuisance abatement, and companies such as Private Security Servi ces (PSS)a private security company hired by many of the areas apartment complexes. Representatives from these institutions attended monthly GCC meetings. During the meetings, I gained much knowledge about interrelated raced, classed, and gendered discours es circulating in the neighborhood.
39 Harbor Pointe Apartment Homes While requesting a key informant intervie w with Janice, the property manager of Harbor Pointe Apartment homes, I stumbl ed upon an amazingly valuable participant observation opportunity. The complex happened to be changing ownership on the day that I dropped by the leasing office to schedule an appointment. The new owner, Pete Edwards, was in the office and asked about the purpose of the interview I was seeking with Janice. When I explained my research goalsinc luding learning about Section 8 in the neighborhoodhe invited me to work in the o ffice to learn first-hand about low-income housing. For the nearly two years (March 2004 to February 2006) that I was employed at the complex, I worked part-time (between twenty and thirty hours a week), although for two months in the summer of 2003 I worked fulltime. This paid work experience was an incredible research opportunity. Through daily office ta sksincluding an swering the phone, leasing apartments, filing residents pape rwork, and making photocopi esI learned firsthand about low-income property management, S ection 8, apartment appl icant screening, and tenant concerns. It allowed me to have lots of interactions with lo w-income applicants and renters who both did and di d not have Section 8. On a typical day in the 232-unit apartment complex,8 I fielded phone calls and visits from dozens of prospective and current tenants. I showed apartments to prospective residents who visited the property. I filed paperwork in tenants files and the complexs financial files. I processed applications. I made sure apartmen ts were ready for tena nts scheduled to move 8 Two of these apartments were set up as offi cesa leasing office and a maintenance office.
40 in. Throughout these work activ ities I learned much from my conversations with applicants, residents, and staff. For many reasons, these tasks proved much more challe nging than I anticipatedand this too was part of my learning experien ce. Maintenance reque sts were constantly backlogged many of which were quite seriou sand tenant complaints were constant. Turnover among employees was high. From my conversations with other employees who previously had worked at other complexes, all of these challenges seem ed to be typical of low-income apartment complexes. These were important observations; policymakers often note the assumed instability of low-inco me communities but rarely comment on the instability of the agencies that serve them. I also gained insight into th e Section 8 program from work ing in the leasing office. Before working at Harbor Pointe, I underst ood Section 8 vouchers only in theory. Working as a leasing agent in a complex where nearly ha lf of the residents are voucher recipients, I learned how Section 8 operates on the ground. Th ere was a period when I was instructed to fill out some of the Section 8 paperwork. I lear ned about how the bureaucracy of Section 8 is often a major source of stress and concern for vo ucher-holders. Just because a person has a voucher, does not mean he or she is guaranteed housing. I also learned much about the business si de of apartment complexes and how these decisions and actions affect applicants and tena nts. There is a great deal of turnover in apartment complex jobs. During my nearly tw o years at Harbor Poin te, there were three different property managers. In addition, I w itnessed the sale of th e property and transition to yet another new owner in July 2005. Thes e business decisions affected the quality of
41 apartment renovations, the number of staff memb ers retained, approaches to maintenance issues, evictions, tenant payment arrange ments, rental rates, and late fees. Working at Harbor Pointe also enabled me to understand better the context for the semi-structured interviews I conducted (which w ill be discussed in the following section). In particular, Miss Diane, a HOPE VI relocatee, had been interviewed for the NSF research as a resident of the other neighborhood in the study, Ri verbend. About a year into my working at Harbor Pointe, Miss Diane began working in th e office at Harbor Poin te and later moved to an apartment in the complex. One of her da ughters worked at Harbor Pointe in various capacities (most recently as the property manage r) and at times her son did as well. Miss Diane had been to the office several times to visit her daughter and sell Avon products, and when the other leasing agent quit, the propert y manager hired Miss Diane. She worked the days that I did not, and we worked together on Fridays, a particularly busy day of the week. Working with Miss Diane brought a new di mension to my participant observation experience. She was outspoken about raci sm and other issues, and we had many good conversations about my research. It was also an opportunity for me to understand what had happened to her since HOPE VIa nd since being interviewed. Although the owner who hired me saw me primarily as a salesperson, I viewed myself as a problem-solver and often an advo cate. While working at Harbor Pointe, I attempted to assist both applicants and tena nts to solve their probl ems. Many of these problems had to do with unresolved maintenan ce requests. Many appl icants did not fit screening criteria. Many tenants were str uggling to pay their rent and hoped to make arrangements with management; often I was posit ioned as a gatekeeper to management, and I
42 would attempt to get the manager to hear th ese requests. Residents also often needed information, access to a phone or fax machine, and sometimes a sympathetic ear. Private Security Services I also gained a great deal of insight into neoliberal form s of social order operating in Greenwood (and intersecting with mixed in come housing policy in the neighborhood) by conducting two ride-alongs with PSS officers. Through this participant observation, I learned first-hand about the organizations community base d, prevention approach to safety and security. I observed PSS officers pa trolling various propertie s, interacting with residents, responding to resident calls, wr iting reports, and working with the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Department. In many ways, PSS seems to conceive of soci al order as physical orderfor instance, a tidy property with residents in side their apartments after dark rather than standing in doorways, sitting in cars, or socializing in the parking lot. When a PSS officer encounters a person at night, he/she9 will often ask if the person lives in the complex and if so, where. If the person is not specific enough, he/she might be questioned further, asked for identification, and looked into th rough criminal databases acce ssible through the computer in an officers car. Residents are told that th eir lease only applies to the inside of their apartmentsnot the outsideand th ey cannot loiter in the parking lot. Officers also inspect the properties they patrol fo r physical damage (such as ex terior lights and windows). PSS officers report social and physical disorder to property management daily. 9 I conducted one ride-along with a male officer and one with a female officer At the time, this female officer was the only female officer em ployed by the company.
43 My Positionality in the Neighborhood My position in the communityas research er, Harbor Pointe employee, and GCC volunteer provided both opportunities and limitati ons. Sometimes it felt like my community roles as Harbor Pointe employee, GCC volunteer, and researcher were in conflict with each other. When I attended the GCC meetings, I saw myself as a researcher in a participant observation capacity. However, Harbor Pointe saw me as an employee who could represent the complex in place of the manager (they were willing to pay me for the time I attended the meetings). GCC meeting attend ees seemed to see me as one of them even though I did not live in the neighborhoodbut also as a source of information about Harbor Pointe. My position as an office worker at Har bor Pointe provided me with important insider knowledge of the complex. However, at certain times this id entity seemed at odds with my researcher identity. For instance, wh en interviewing HOPE VI relocatees who lived in Harbor Pointe about their current living s ituations, I was concerne d that their answers might be influenced by my position in the office. My own race, class, and ge nder positioning are also important to this discussion of my position in the neighborhood. At Harbor Pointe, I stood out because of my white, middle-class background. Although I was struggli ng economically as a graduate student, my education and opportunities for economic mobility were apparent. Als o, I should note that I am very fair, blond, and blue-eyed. The ma jority of Harbor Pointe residents are
44 economically disadvantaged and African Americ an, although when I first began working in the leasing office the manager and as sistant manager were both white.10 Sometimes residents, my co-workers, and others commented on my difference. When I first began working in the office, for instance, two men who had been hired to clean carpets assured me that I could find a job in a nicer complex. Miss Diane, my co-worker, commented several times that at least I had anthropology, meaning there were opportunities for me outside of the leasing office At the same time, however, she and I did commiserate with each other about the negligible size of our paychecks, struggling to pay our bills, and trying to save money. However, I be gan leaving work early twice a week to teach a class at the University of South Florida (USF) and traveled out of state to academic conferences and to visit my family during the holidayswhich very much emphasized my class difference. One day Miss Diane and I were discussing what consti tuted middle-class and she said, Oh, you mean someone who s doing well enough to go on vacation. Despite my outsider status with respect to race and class, after a few months at Harbor Pointe, because of the high turnover of employees, I felt like an insider in another way, in that I had worked at Harbor Pointe l onger than any other employee. In this way, I knew well the residents, co mplex policies, etc. Interviews The interviews I conducted for my dissertation were part of the data collected for the team research project on HOPE VI relocations in Tampa in which I have been participating since 2001. Although the goal of the larger pr oject was to understand the importance of social capital in relocations, the semi-structured interview protocol elicited much information 10 Because of the high turnover in employees, the racial make-up of the office and ot her work areas frequently changed.
45 important to my own research questions. In 2003, the project, entitled Deconcentration and Social Capital, received a grant from the National Science Foundation. Twenty HOPE VI relocatees and twenty homeowners were in terviewed in each of two neighborhoodsone of which was Greenwoodfrom the summer of 2 004 until the winter of 2005. All HOPE VI relocatees interviewed were African Ameri can women. Homeowners interviewed were racially varied and both male and female; some times they were married couples. Interviews were tape recorded and later transcribed. Transcripts were coded and analyzed using NVivo software. All interviewees were asked numerous que stions about the neighborhoods where they live, why they moved to these neighborhoods, and about their currentas well as past housing situation. In the Greenwood interviews, at my request, questi ons were also asked about gates and fences in the neighborhood, as th ese were potential sources of social control in the neighborhood that might affect income mixing. I actually participated11 in nineteen out of the forty Greenwood12 interviews.13 Eight of these were with HOPE VI relocatees and eleven were with homeowners. Homeowner interviews were so licited through letters sent to addresses we selected using random sampling. With the HOPE VI relo catees, letters were sent to all of the relocatees initial addresses after relocation; this information had been provided by the Tampa Housing Authority (THA) during a pilot re search project. We received few responses from the letters to the HOPE VI relocates, which we inferred meant that many had moved 11 For safety reasonsand because of the collaborative nature of our researchinterviews were usually conducted in pairs. However, I conducted several inte rviews on my ownbecause the interviewee wished to be interviewed in a public place or becau se I knew the interviewee personally. 12 I also conducted five interviews in the other study neighborhood, Riverbend. 13 However, as agreed upon by the group, I have full acces s to all of the interviews conducted, as data for my dissertation project.
46 from their first addresses after relocationwhich was potentially telling about the stability of housing choices and options through HOPE VI. By the time we were ready to begin interviewing relocatees in 2004, at least three years had passed since residents moved out of College Hill and Ponce de Leon. Many of the Greenwood HOPE VI intervie ws were therefore obtained through snowball sampling, many from contacts I made at Harbor Pointe. At times, I would learn through a conversation with a resident that she had been involved in the HOPE VI relocations. Other times, I approached particul ar residents based on the list of relocatees names compiled by the THA. The interviews provided much informati on about how HOPE VI had affected the lives of relocatees, be yond the programs stated goals, as well as other neighborhood issues related to mixed income housing policy. In a ddition, as mentioned pr eviously, through my participant observation activities at Harbor Pointe I was able to collect some follow-up information about interviewees who lived at Harbor Pointefor instance if they ended up moving. From homeowner interv iews I also learned much about how they perceived and have experienced HOPE VI relocations into the Greenwood neighborhood, other neighborhood issues, and the proble m of low-income housing. In addition to the interviews with HOPE VI relocatees and homeowners, I personally conducted four key informant interviews w ith neighborhood figures to learn more about neighborhood issues: the manager of Harbor Poin te, the president of the GCC, an aggressive homeowner activist, and an act ive resident of Bradford Park Condominiums, a more expensive complex located adjacent to two low-income complexes.
47 Archival Research Archival research also played an importa nt role in my methodology. Census data, information on the Hillsborough County Propert y Appraisers website, local newspaper articles, past GCC documents, and Harbor Poin te documents provided an important context (often historical) for the data colle cted through other research methods. Because of the importance of neighborhood de mographics in the literature on mixed income housing programs (for instance, on th e MTO program and neighborhood effects), I collected demographic information about Greenw ood from the census. This enabled me to understand the neighborhoods racial and econo mic make-up and changes across census periods, as well as unemployment, and renter and owner occupancy. I also collected information about criminal activity for the census tract from th e HCSD website. I examined a number of policy documents. These include: the THAs successful HOPE VI grant application to redevelop Co llege Hill and Ponce de Leon and documents posted on the THA related website; and Urban Institute and Brookings Institution reports on HOPE VI, as well as reports by the National Coalition of Low Income Housing (NCLIH) that contest rosy assessments by th e other foregoing entities. The Hillsborough Countys Property Appraisers website enabled me to look up neighborhood addresses and lear n specific information about various properties. I was especially interested in piecing together a hi story of the development of the community by understanding when homes, subdivisions and complexes were built. Local newspaper articles published in the Tamp a Tribune and St. Petersburg Times over the past fifteen years enabled me to understand the history of the GCC and Tracy Dix Estates, a
48 public housing complex that was constructed so shoddily that it was to rn down scarcely a decade after it was built. GCC documents collected by the current pres ident, John Sanders, also helped me understand Greenwoods history. These documents included past GCC meeting minutes and newsletters (beginning in 1997) as well as letters John had wr itten to government entities requesting various actions in the neighborhood. Working at Harbor Pointe, I had access to numerous useful archival data sources including residents rental applications, credit and bac kground reports, and their files containing archived personal and housing inform ation from their applic ation to the present day (which for some, was more than a decades wo rth). For ethical reasons, I did not collect or systematically analyze th ese documents, although I did ma ke a count how many residents had Section 8 Vouchers. I do, however, draw on the general knowledge I gained from my exposure to these material s in this dissertation. Discourse Analysis Discourse analysis is another way that I investigated my re search questions. The methodology of discourse analysis is grounded in the recognition that our ways of talking do not neutrally reflect our world, identities and social relations but, ra ther, play an active role in creating and changing them (Jorgensen and Phillips 2002:1). In this way, I utilize ethnographic discourse analysis (c f. Messing 2007), an approach th at considers speech in its cultural context. This method proves useful in understanding the power ful discourses related to race, class, gender, and real estate at work in the Greenwood neighborhood. After analyzing the interview data, I select ed portions of interviews for discourse analysis to further consider issues of race and class in the neighborhood. I re-transcribed
49 these interviews, paying close atte ntion to linguistic features. A transcription key is provided in Appendix A. Ethics Informed consent was obtained in writi ng from everyone formally interviewed. I received verbal permission to conduct research from the owne r of Harbor Pointe Apartment Homes when I was hired to work in the offi ce. When the next owner bought the complex over a year later, I discussed my research activities with him. However, I was never confident that he fully unders tood that I would draw heavily on my work experiences in the complex in writing my dissertation. I also later learned that he was not actually the owner of the complex but represented a trusteeship that owned the complex. While I shared my research with many complex re sidentsand formally intervie wed severalcertainly not all residents at the complex over the two-year pe riod knew about my resear ch. Similarly, while I clearly presented myself as a researcher to the GCCand interviewed several members there were undoubtedly meeting attendees who did not fully understand what this meant. To protect the anonymity of my research subjects, pseudonyms are used throughout the dissertation for the neighborhood, the comp lex, all individuals, and certain other neighborhood entities. Also, the team research project was reviewed by USFs Institutional Review Board.
50 Chapter Four The Greenwood Neighborhood as a S ite of Neoliberal Policy This chapter introduces the research setting, Tampas Greenwood neighborhood. I will explore the neighborhoods history, institutio ns, and concerns through the lens of my research questions. Greenwood is an intriguing site for c onducting research on low-income housing policy. More than any of the other neighbor hoods into which Tampa HOPE VI relocatees moved, Greenwood is a model relocation ne ighborhood as specified by mixed income program guidelines. The literature on mixed income and mobility programs posits that once out of public housing, relocatees will move to neighborhoods that increase the economic opportunitiesamong other quality of life improvementsof individuals and families. In theory, these neighborhood effects are accomplished in part by residing in a neighborhood with middle-class neighbors to model and with whom to networkand that also have better schools, lower cr ime rates, and are located in cl oser proximity to better jobs. Most HOPE VI relocatees do not move into neighbor hoods that fit this mode l. In contrast, in many ways Greenwood would appear to be an ideal reloca tion neighborhood. Unlike other neighborhoods where a significant number of former residents of public housing in Tampa were relocated through HOP E VIfor instance, other public housing complexes and Tampas Riverbend neighbor hoodGreenwood is fairly low-poverty. Greenwoods poverty rate is ri ght at 20 percent (Census 2000), substantially below the threshold of high poverty neighborhoods ( 40% poor) set by Paul Jargowsky (2003) and
51 other proponents of poverty deconcentration.14 Greenwood also has the lowest poverty rate of all of Tampas major HOPE VI relocation sites. The neighborhood itself could also be cons idered mixed income, with housing ranging from low-income apartments to hom es worth several-hundred-thousand-dollars and much in between. In Greenwood, in f act, HOPE VI relocatees share a neighborhood with a state representati ve who is currently running for stat e senate and another resident who is a serious candidate for the County Comm ission. Tampas Greenwood neighborhood is a diverse mix of young and old, African Ameri can and white, renters and owners. Lowincome and middle-class individual s also live in very close p hysical proximity to each other in Greenwood. Most of the apartment complexes are located immediately next to residential subdivisions, although complexes tend to be surr ounded by fences and have limited access. As a research site, Greenwood provides an opportunity to look at the dynamics of relocation into an extant mixed income community. To a large degree, the benefits of mixed income living are assumed and are based on theory rather than on empirical research. As discussed in Chapter Two, Wilsons (1987) wr itings on the underclass, the neighborhood effects literature, MTO research, and the id ealized example of mi xed income African American neighborhoods of the past are consistently cited to s upport the inferred benefits of mixed income housing. The entrenched histor ical norm of residentia l racial and income segregation is treated as a mere speed bump in attaining mixed income utopia. However, my empirical research thus far doe s not support these claims. Per ceptions of declining property values and social danger persist among the hi gher income homeowners, who are not often 14 At the same time, the MTO experimental group, for instance, required th at relocatees move into neighborhoods with no more than a ten percent poverty rate.
52 willing participants in the utopian scheme s of the foregoing theorists. The Greenwood neighborhood provides an important opportunity to study actual interrelations in a heterogeneous neighborhood. My Introduction to the Neighborhood Greenwood is a suburban neighborhood consisti ng of a mix of low-density and highdensity housingand an industrial ar ea in the southern part of the area. As discussed in the previous chapter, the area refe rred to as Greenwood in this dissertation, has an area of 1.68 square miles. The tract had a population of 7, 578 residents in the 2000 census. Greenwood is centrally located just south of Temple Terrace, an historically separate urban municipality surrounded by the City of Tampa. Greenwood is not included in the official boundaries of either Tampa or Temple Terrace, but is jurisd ictionally part of unincorporated Hillsborough County. This liminal status means that it is served by Hillsborough Countys Sheriffs department rather Tampas Police Departme nt, among other governmental differences. I will begin my introduction to the Gr eenwood community by describing my own introduction to the neighborhood. During my first drive through the neighborhood, I was struck by the contrast of well-maintained suburban homes and yards with dilapidated apartment complexes and small corner stores. Th is contrast is especially noticeable driving down a primary neighborhood street Beckin Drive, which runs parallel to the Hillsborough River. On either side of Beckin Drive (a major east/west corridor), are quiet streets lined with single-family homes. Many of the homes built near the river are quite impressive appraised at around $250,000. However, when Beckin Drive crosse s deeper into the neighborhood, the scenery changes abruptly. On either side of the road are two physically deteriorating apartment complexeswhich I have named 1) Harbor Pointe (to the south) and
53 2) Ashton Heights (to the north). These house pr imarily low-income renters (in the past, both complexes have accepted Section 8 vouchers, al though neither complex currently accepts the vouchers). Beckin Drive then dead-ends at the ornate gates of a well-maintained, predominately middle-class condominium complex. Continuing south on a busy north-south st reet are small boxy houses, two low-income apartment complexes similar to those I desc ribed previously, and two small commercial strips with convenience stores hair salons, restaurants, and a laundromat. The large Presbyterian Church, where the Greenwood Community Council meetings used to be held, is also located along this corridor. These meetings are now held at the Greenwood Recreation Center because the Presbyterian Church closed when its pastor moved. Farther south is an industrial area in the midst of which is a Hillsborough Count y Sheriffs sub-station. Traveling east on Denton Avenue from 20th Street is the Greenwood Recreation Center, Hoover Elementary School, a gated c ondominium complex, and the Apartments at Plantation Homes, a gated low-income apartment complex. Traveling west on Denton Avenue from 20th Street is an other low-income apartment complex. To the west of 20th Street is a stable, workingclass area with single-family homes known as The Orchard because all its streets are named after fruit trees (i.e., Peach Street, A pple Street, etc.). During this first drive through the neighborhood, as mentioned in the previous chapter, I learned about the GCC from an a dvertisement for the organization on a bus stop bench. GCC meetings are held on the third Tu esday of every month, and when I called the phone number on the advertisementwhich turn ed out to be the phone number for the sheriffs substationI was told to arrive at the Presbyterian Church by 6:30 pm. I will
54 describe the first GCC meeting I attended as it was a crucial poi nt in the development of my researchand my understanding of the Greenwood neighborhood. When I arrived at the meeting on Ju ne 17, 2003, I was impressed by the turnout nearly forty peoplealthough I soon learned that a number of the attendees were not Greenwood residents but repres entatives of neighborhood institu tions providing reports to residents. Meeting attendees sat in metal folding chairs at long tables that faced another table at which sat the GCCs president, John Sa nders and the areas Community Resource Deputy, Deputy Carter. Attendees ranged in age and ra cial/ethnic background; most were at least middle-aged, and a significant number were elderly. John and Deput y Carter called the meeting to order promptly at 6:30 and began following a formal agenda, copies of which were passed out as attendees entered the meeting.15 The items listed on the agenda were: 1) Welcome/Introductions; 2) Appoint Recording Secr etary; 3) Review a nd Approve Minutes of Last Month; 4) Reports (Comm ittees); 5) Unfinished Business ; 6) New Business; 7) Good of the Community; 8) Next Meeting Date/Time/ Place; and 9) Adjournment. When, under Welcome/Introductions, first time attendees were asked to introdu ce ourselves, another member of the NSF research team and I st ood and introduced ourselv es as USF students conducting research in the Greenwood Neighborhood; we seemed to be positively received. As the meeting proceeded through the agenda the issues that I would explore for the next three years were already becoming apparent to me. The meeting seemed to consist of homeowners whose concerns for the nei ghborhood centered on the areas low-income renters. This became apparent to me at numerous points in the meeting. 15 The printed agenda also included mee ting minutes from the previous meeting.
55 When the Sheriffs report was given, it wa s stated that criminal activity was on the rise in Greenwood. A discussion of what coul d be done to decrease crimeespecially in light of low manpower following recent reti rementsfollowed. John mentioned that he hoped to start a neighborhood watch but he also emphasized the importance of apartment complexes doing background checks on potential residents. Johns insistence on background checks for apartment applicants interested me because it located the source of neighborhood crime in apartment complexes. Similarly, in a report under Unfinished Business, the owner of Harbor Pointe Apartments stated th at the complex was at low occupancy because a number of bad boys had been evicted. Als o, under New Business, PSS, the security company that patrolled Ashton Heights, proposed a new strategy for addressing crime. Because once drug dealers are pushed out of Ashton Heights, they may still be in the area, PSS planned to patrol other areas of the neighborhood as well, involving homeowners properties if necessary (with perm ission). These were some of my first not very subtle clues about homeowners attitudes towa rd low-income renters. I was also intrigued by discussions of the importance of adding gates and fences to apartment complexes. It sounded like a way of containing the apartment-dwellers. The owner of Harbor Pointe, apparently in respons e to past GCC concerns reported that a fence would be installed in the ne xt week, and tenants would n eed an access card to enter the complex; also, the complexs entrance locate d the nearest to Bradford Park Condominiums would be closed off.16 Under the agenda item labeled Good of the Community, a woman who lived in Bradford Park Condominiums relate d that the recently installed fence at Ashton 16 Only one of these promises was fulfilleda rented chain link fence was installed.
56 Heights was a great improvement; she could now drive home without being stopped by a crowd of people in the street. A prospective buyer of Ashton Heights in troduced himself, and homeowners asked him about the rental range for units, whether or not the complex would continue to accept Section 8 renters, and what hour s the gates would be closed. To me, this discussion further reflected homeowners concerns not just about low-income renters but specifically about Section 8. I found this obvious opposition to low-income renters interesting because of my research questions about the social dynamics of a mixed income community. It became apparent that what demographicallyand in other waysappeared to be a good neighborhood for HOPE VI relocatees when comp ared to public housing, contained forceful opposition to low-income housing and people. Though a mixed neighborhood, it seemed to be socially segregated. My continued involvement with GCC and the interviews we conducted with homeowners reinfo rced that early impression. Neighborhood Institutions In this section, I will describe neighbor hood institutions through the framework of mixed income housing policy. I will consider neighborhood institutions thataccording to the neighborhood effects literature, for instancecould poten tially improve the circumstances of families moving from public housing. Schools There are two large public schools in the Greenwood area, Hoover Elementary and Robinson High School. Both schools have scored low on the mandatory standardized test, Floridas Comprehensive Achievement Test (F CAT). Based on information provided at the
57 Hillsborough County public schools website ( http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/schools/SelectSchool.asp ), Hoover is predominately African American and economically disadvantaged. Robinson is more racially/ethnically mixed and less economically disadvantaged. It also has a competitive International Baccalaureate magnet program. In interviews, perceptions of, and experiences with, these neighborhood schools were varied. In addition to Hoover and Robinson, th ere is one charter school in the neighborhoodScience Academy. This middle sc hool, serving sixth through eight grade, opened three years ago and currently has an enrollment of 70. The Academys mission includes upholding the ideal s of science and humanism. The school has scored a D on the FCAT for the past two years. Another charter school in the neighborhood, Eastside Multicultural School, closed in 2005 after recei ving F grades on the FCAT two years in a row. It was an elementary school (kinde rgarten through fifth grade) with around two hundred students, that opened in 1997 and was known for serving primarily poor neighborhood children (Brown 2005). Hillsborough County also has a School Choice program that enables some students to attend schools other than the one to which they would be assigned based on their home addresses. At certain points in the school year, a parent or guardian may fill out an application that allows the choice of three non-magnet schools from a list of schools with space; once all applications are processed, a studen ts family is notified about availability for the student at any of these thre e schools. While this can mean that a student attends a better school than the one in his/her neighborhood, tran sportation is not alwa ys providedand such a program discourages increasing funding fo r schools with fewer resources.
58 Recreation Centers The Greenwood Recreation Center and Park provide some after school recreation opportunities. There are basketba ll courts, a tennis court, a football practice field, and a playground for neighborhood youth to use. The cent er also offers an after-school program and summer program for children ages 6-17. However, most of the women with children that we interviewed did not ut ilize the recreat ion center. Social Services Unlike the location of former College Hill and Ponce de Leon public housing complexes, Greenwood has no social service agencies. One church in the area provides some services to low-income families, like, for instan ce, a health fair that was advertised in the apartment complexes. Public Transportation Greenwood is fairly well served by Tampas Bus Service Hart Line. However, public transportation was more convenient in the College Hill/Ponce area. While there are sixty-one bus stops in Greenwood, there were one-hundred-six ty-one in the public housing area. Both sites include an express bus route; however, the College Hill/Ponce de Leon area borders additional express routes (Spalding and Ward 2002). Sheriffs Department Because Greenwood is considered to be pa rt of unincorporated Hillsborough County, rather than the City of Tampa, the area falls under the jurisdic tion of the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office (HCSO) instead of the Tampa Police Department (TPD). More so than the TPD, the HCSO has a much larger area to patrol, with fewer proportional resources.
59 Unlike an ideal relocation neighborhood (from the policy perspective), Greenwood is considered a fairly high crime ar eaespecially in term s of robbery, assault, burglary, stolen vehicles, and drugs. ( http://www.hcso.tampa.fl.us/pub/ default.asp?/Online/UCRCRIMES accessed July 26, 2006). A ranking of high crime by HCSO means that the number of crimes that occurred in the area is do uble and above the number of crimes per 100,000 residents in Unincorpor ated Hillsborough County HCSO has a substation located on 20th St reet, in the industr ial area of the neighborhood, staffed by a sheriffs deputy and a community resource officer. The two officersDeputy Carter and Officer Watsonhold monthly meetings with managers from all of the area apartment complexes in order to discuss common issues and go over the log of calls received from each complex over the past month. The HCSO also assists with the GCC meetings, which were originally organized through a community pol icing grant. Greenwood Community Council The GCC began in 1994 through a federal co mmunity oriented policing grant from the US Department of Justices O ffice of Community Oriented Policing.17 The grant financed the leasing of property and build ings for a community station, equipping the stations, and the salaries for a Community Se rvice Officer. HCSO pa id the salary of a community station deputy. A community counc il, the GCC, was formed, ideally consisting of the Community Service Deputy and Officer and local residents, merchants, area elementary school principals, county park person nel, and county code enforcement officers. The purpose of the council was to assist in id entifying community need s/priorities and work 17 The grant actually funded community policing oper ations in two Hillsborough County communities, one urban (Greenwood) and one rural (Wimauma).
60 with the station deputies on pr ojects and tactics to reso lve problems (The Greenwood Community newsletter 1998). According to a newspaper article in th e Tampa Tribune, when the GCC was first organized, the entire commun itya mixed group of apartmen t dwellers and homeowners was more involved with fighting the areas drug and crime problems (Parker 1997). The article notes that a few year s later, with those problems subsided, council interest has waned (Parker 1997). In my experience with the GCC, only homeowners attended meetings, and although attendance at meetings did wax and wane, the organization remained very active in the neighborhood. At monthly GCC meetings, lik e the one I described prev iously, Greenwood residents report neighborhood issues and incidents to sher iffs deputies and code enforcement officers. Among the issues frequently of concer n were abandoned houses with overgrown landscaping, crime (mostly car break-ins and th efts, drugs, and prostitu tion), concerns over apartments and Section 8, property values, th e possible presence of a rooming house in the neighborhood, pot holes, and speeding. Resident s also used these meetings to share information about neighborhood developmen ts and strategize about neighborhood improvements. For instance, in the summer of 2006, residents made plans to oppose a proposed multi-family development in the neig hborhood at a series of zoning hearings. These meetings were also a time to gain information about numerous issues affecting homeowners, and a number of guest speakers we re invitedincluding the principal of the local high school, the head of the Tampa Housing Authority, the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser, a developer, and a re presentative from the Hillsborough County Cooperative Extension Office to ed ucate residents about landscap ing options. Literature was
61 also provided at meetings about safety, livi ng wills, and voting, among other issues. When I first began attending these meetings, ther e were refreshments (brought by different homeowners each month) and socializing af terwards. This tradition ended during my research period, although many resi dents still used the meetings as an opportunity to chat with their neighbors. Residents also organized thei r own activities to address neighborhood concerns. Over the GCCs history, two efforts st and out as being particularly hard foughtthe demolition of Tracy Dix Estates and the Nuisance Abatement Order placed on Ashton Heights Apartments. Both of these efforts have to do w ith low-income housing in the neighborhood. Beginning in 1995, the council was concerned with getting the Tracy Dix Estates, a seventy-unit Tampa Housing Authority pr oject, demolished (Parker 1997). John, a homeowner activist and the GCC president, in addition to other homeowners, suggested that the building of Tracy Dix was, in many ways, the cause of the downfall of the community. He described the neighborhoods history in the following way: This [neighborhood] was the white flight from downtown. This was the outskirts of Tampa years ago and this was kind of the suburbs of downtown and this was where the better homes were being built. This wa s quite a place at one time and I think a lot of people give credit to the Tracy Di x thing for destroying the neighborhood. According to a time-line of Tracy Dix compiled by a GCC member from various documented sources, Tracy Dix was built and de eded to the Tampa Housing Authority in January 1984. In September 1994, just over ten y ears later, the complex was closed due to structural problems. A newspaper article repor ted that the outside walls were constructed from flimsy sheeting, and the buildings roofs were not built to sustain high winds and showed visible damage (Rosen 1994). In Ma y 1995, the Corps of Engineers assessed the
62 refurbishing cost at $2.1 million. Instea d, Tracy Dix was officially condemned by Hillsborough County in July 1996; the formal condemnation order for demolition then occurred in May 1997. The GCC organized to have Tracy Dix Estates demolished. According to John, during the five year period that the complex wa s vacant there was all kinds of crime, drugs, and prostitution, and stolen vehicl es were ending up there. Fo r nearly three years after the complex was condemned, the GCC remained in close contactmaking phone calls, sending letters, and meetingwith repres entatives from the local, state, and federal government as the Tampa Housing Authority sought federal approval and funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for demolition. In 1997, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development denied the Tampa Housing Authoritys second application to de molish the complex (Parker 1997). In 1998, a newspaper article reported that for the first tim e in three years, the Tampa Housing Authority was pushing to have the federal government a pprove a plan to demolish Tracy Dix (Parker 1998). Finally, the complex was demolished in June 1999 Recently the GCC has been concerned with what will happen to the vacant lot that remains. They fear more low-income housing in their community. When they invited the Director of the THA to speak to this issue, he stated that eventually the land would be used for affordable housing, but that not all such housing had to look lik e public housing. Regarding the Nuisance Abatement Orde r against Ashton Heights Apartments, homeowners drew on a Florida stat ute that states that a property can be declared a nuisance if two felony arrests for drugs and/or prostitu tion occur on the premises over a six-month period. If pursued by local citizens, the cas e goes before the Hillsborough County Nuisance
63 Abatement Board to make a determination. James, a concerned Bradford Park Condominiums owner (and president of the ma in condominium association) began video taping the nighttime activity at Ashton Heights Ap artments, outside of the complexs gates, and put together a fifteen-minute tape characte rizing late-night rowdiness in the apartment complexs parking lots and what appeared to be drug deals, which he sh owed at the hearing. He worked with other GCC members and the complex was successfully declared a nuisance in September of 2002. Ashton Heights Apartmen ts was charged with fines and a list of required actions, which included: providing on-s ite management (or property representative) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; ensuring that all residents sign a Crime Free Lease Addendum; conducting criminal background checks for all prospective tenants; providing on-site security; and repairi ng all perimeter fencing. After the Nuisance Abatement Order was in effect, the GCC saw many of what they consider to be desirable cha nges in Ashton Heights Apartmen tsincluding the addition of a gate with controlled accessand used the orde r as leverage to pressure Harbor Pointe Apartments to make changes as well. According to James, Harbor Pointe Apartments management was made aware that area homeo wners were observing the complex and they could be the next to be declared a public nuisance. Representatives of both apartment complexes began attending the GCC meetings in order to respond to homeowners concerns. Harbor Pointe Apartments owner made promises to add a fence, gate and security cameras and eventually surrounded the property with an unsturdy chain-linked Rent-A-Fence explicitly advertising itself as such. The GCC has also organized around proposed developments in the community. One development was of single-family homes, but the GCC opposed the density of the
64 development and was able to cut the number of houses considerably. Very recently, a developer proposed building over 200 units of multi-family housing behind Bradford Park Condominiums, with an entrance off of 20th Stre et, next to Harbor Point Apartments. The GCC was especially concerned that the developer proposed building either apartments or condominiums and that a high number of apar tments would increase the percentage of renters in the neighborhood. In creased traffic was also a concern. The GCC protested the development at a series of r ezoning hearings, and a rezoning request was deniedprimarily because the access road to the development wa s not wide enough. However, the property owner and its developers conti nue to try to gain approval th rough mediation with Board of County Commissioners. Neighborhood History/Changes Greenwood History Based largely on information pieced together from the Hillsborough Countys Property Appraiser website ( http://www.hcpafl.org/www/index.shtml ) and the US census, I will sketch a brief history of development in the Greenwood area. The Greenwood neighborhood consists of smaller subdivisionsalthough their demarcation is not in any way explicit. Th e first housing developments in Greenwood were modest single-family houses in the 1950s and 1960s One interviewee was one of the first to build in the area; in fact, the street he lives on bears his last name. He remembers that when he first moved into his house, centrally lo cated in the neighborhood, there was absolutely nothing between where he lived and the Hi llsborough River (bordering Greenwood to the north).
65 Houses in the subdivision known by locals as The Orchard18 were built in the 1960s. An interviewee who move d into a house in The Orchard with his wife in the early 1960s related the following: When we moved in there were orange gr oves back there and cow pastures. There were no apartments. It was really like the country. The houses on Puritansome of which are co nsidered to be part of the Orchard were also built in the 1960s. The houses on side streets off of the south side of Beckin Drive were built in the 1960s and 1970s. These houses ar e somewhat larger than those built in the Orchard. The subdivisions off of the north si de of Beckin Drive, near the Hillsborough River, were developed at various times. One house on th e river was built in 1973 and another, farther west, was built in 1989. In addition to residential growth, Robi nson High opened in 1960, followed by Hoover Elementary in the mid-1960s. Another neighbor hood fixture, the industrial area just north of Park Avenue, seems to have a longer histor y in the neighborhood, as homeowners recall. Demographically, the neighborhood has changed a great deal since the 1970s, the first time a separate census tract existed for the area. I am including a table to summarize these changes, which I will discuss in greater detail below. 18 The Property Appraiser refers to this subdivision by a different name.
66 Greenwood Demographic Profile 1970 1980 1990 2000 Population 3,363 6,130 7,744 7,578 % White 98 77.2 48.7 27.7 % Black 2 21.4 48.8 66.6 % Hispanic 12.8 8.9 8.2 8.5 % Other N/A 1.4 2.5 5.7 % Poor 9.2 10 20.2 20.1 % Female 43.3 50.7 46.6 54.8 Table 1 As illustrated through Table 1, a great de al of growth occurred in Greenwood between 1970 and 1980, likely due to the addition of several apartment complexes. The first apartment complex in Greenwood was Ashton Heights Apartments, built in 1973, after a couple of the small subdivisions were deve loped, suggesting that the neighborhood was originally envisioned as a neighborhood of single-family homes. John described the introduction of apartments to the neighborhood in the following way: Ashton Heights, that was, this whole ar ea back here was all farm land, grazing land and Ashton Heights was actually put in co ld corruption, they didnt have permitting, they didnt have the right zoning. But, the county commission ers got their palms greased and they let it slide. According to John, three of the commissioners ended up in jail for other corrupt deals, and the construction of Ashton Heights led the way fo r Harbor Pointe Apartments. Harbor Pointe was built in 1974, and The Apartments at Plan tation Homes in 1974. Then Howard Park
67 Apartments (a THA public housing complex) was built in 1976, Bay Village in 1979, Grace Manor Estates in 1982, Tracy Dix Estates (a THA public housing complex discussed previously) in 1984, and Granville Court in 1986. I understand that another complex was built next to Bay Village at about the sa me time but was condemned and torn down approximately ten years ago. Bradford Park Condominiums and Carrington Homes Condominiums were built in 1981. Riverview Estate s, a complex of townhomes, was built in early 2000. Low-Income Housing in Greenwood Housing targeted to low-income renter s in Greenwood began in 1976 with Howard Park Apartments, a public housing complex w ith a hundred units. Tracy Dix Estates, a public housing complex with seventy units, was then built next to Howard Park in 1984. At some point, in the mid-1990s as homeown ers understand it, neighborhood apartment complexes began accepting Section 8 vouchers. As several area homeowners remember it, wh en they were first built, Ashton Heights Apartments and Harbor Pointe Apartments we re considered to be upscale complexes. According to John, when Ashton Heights Apartmen ts was built, it was the place to live for New Tampa type people19 that didnt buy, that rented. One homeowner remembers attending fraternity parties at Harbor Pointe when he was a student at USF. Several homeowners suggested to me that the neighborhood began declining when Tracy Dix was condemned and residents moved into other area apartment complexes, which had begun accepting Section 8. If that is true Section 8 would have become prevalent in 19 (Fairly well off.)
68 neighborhood apartment complexes around 1994. Unfortunately I do not have specific information dating that far back. The census data summarized in Table 1 sugge st that a significant increase in poverty actually occurred between 1980 and 1990, a de cade before homeowners identify neighborhood decline, perhaps because of th e addition of the Tracy Dix complex during that period. Homeowners did not seem to no tice this shift until th e low-income renters moved from Tracy Dix to more cen tral areas of the neighborhood. Other Neighborhood Changes Many Greenwood homeowner in terviewees were con cerned with neighborhood changes over the past decade. In particul ar, many long-term homeowners described an increase in crime (particularly drugs), a phys ical and aesthetic decl ine in propertiesboth single-family homes and apartment complexes an increase in low-income renters or a different type of people, a larger number of children in the neighborhood, and some turnover among homeownersparticularly the el derly. Several interviewees mentioned recent changes for the better regarding the physical rehabilitation of a couple of the apartment complexes and the diligent efforts of the Hillsborough County Sheriffs department in the neighborhood. Only one homeowner specifically mentioned HOPE VI relocations as a source of neighborhood change s. He claimed to have heard from a representative of the Sheriffs department that a large number of people had been relocated to the neighborhood from College Hill and Ponce de Leon, causing a significant increase in crime. One noticeable change in Greenwood is that between 1990 and 2000 (when HOPE VI relocations occurred), Greenwood went from being 48.8% Black and 48.7% white to 66.6 %
69 Black and 27.7% white. However, the poverty rate remained almost exactly the same 20.2% poor in 1990 and 20.1%20 poor in 2000. Several whit e interviewees specifically mentioned the increasing number of African Am ericans in the neighbor hood as a significant change. In all of these cases, the interviewees were suggesting that other white homeowners were unhappy with this change (and that ma ny had moved because of it). However, homeowners were more likely to hint at economic changes in the neighborhood, primarily the perceived increase of low-income rent ers, especially betw een 1990 and 2000. It is interesting that such a shift is not supported by the census da ta, while a shift in racial demographics is. It is also important to not e the significant increase in the percentage of females between 1990 and 2000, which could be a ssociated with an increase in female headed households. Again, homeowners did not identify this specific change, but their general concerns about decline could be connected to this change as well. Greenwood Complexes Although Greenwood contains a diverse mix of residents from various economic and racial/ethnic backgrounds, in many respects ho meowners seem to main tain their distance from renters in apartment complexes. Unlik e planned mixed income communities, in which low-income and middle-class families live in the same housing development,21 in Greenwood low-income renters are almost exclusively re legated to apartment complexes. And, as discussed in the previous sect ion, a significant number of home owners resist the presence of low-income housing in their community. 20 These percentages refer to number of persons below the poverty level (rather than number of families/households). 21 Even in these planned mixed income communities, sepa ration may be enforced according to class or even race (Clark 2006).
70 There are six privately owned apartment complexes22 and three condominium/ townhome complexes within the census tract boundaries. Currently three of thes e apartment complexes accept Section 8. This includes The Apartments at Plantation Homes, which is also a Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)23 property. Individual owne rs of condominiums may also accept vouchers. All of these complexes are fenced (or wa lled) and many are gated as well. Ashton Heights Apartments, Bradford Park Condominium s, Granville Court, and Riverview Estates are all fenced and gated. Bradford Park Condominiums has a guard patrolling the gate twenty-four hours a day and the swimming pool is ev en separately gated. The Apartments at Plantation Homes used to also have a guard s poradically in place at its guard shack, although currently the complex is fenced and patrolle d by a private security company, but the guard shack is no longer in use. Ashton Heights Ap artments and Riverview Estates have gates accessible with an access code. However, when there was a guard hired to limit access to The Apartments at Plantation Homes, he/she wa s frequently not present and did not always strictly control access, and the gates at As hton Heights Apartments often remain open. Harbor Pointe, Grace Manor Estates, Bay Villa ge, and Carrington Homes have fences around the perimeter of the properties but access is not controlled. Based on my experiences at Harbor Poin te, I understand that these apartment complexes are not in and of themselves mixed income. Harbor Pointe, for instance, could not be considered mixed income. Although th e complex is approximately half occupied by tenants with Section 8 vouchers, the other half would not be cons idered to be middle-class. 22 This does not include the one public housing complex in the area. 23 The LIHTC provides rental housing development investors with a yearly tax credit for developing rental housing reserved for households with incomes no greater than 60 % of the areas me dian income; at least 40% of a developments units must be reserved for these households (Khadduri 2004:2).
71 Many tenants held service jobs. During my employment at Harbor Pointe, I only encountered two or three tenants who might be considered to be middle-class. One of these was a police officer who made over $40,000 a year. Another had a mid-level job but owned a house out of state. Another help ed run a family-owned funeral parlor. Most residentsthose who did and did not have Section 8might be characterized as working poor. In many ways, the non-S ection 8 residents were more economically insecure than those with Section 8. Residents who fell behind in rent payments were usually not those with Section 8. Certainly those evicted for non-payment were rarely Section 8 voucher holders. Many residents who did not ha ve Section 8 vouchers consistently made payment arrangements because they could not pay their rent on time. One woman, Ms. Harding, had a standing arrangement to pay her rent late, with a late fee. She made a payment toward her rent about twice a month, each time she got paid. She was renting a three-bedroom apartment and supporting her da ughter and grandson alone by working at a daycare center. Another woman and her husba nd often made payment arrangements for their one-bedroom apartment. They had chronic health problems. She worked in an office, and he was a truck driver. Things we re especially difficult when her husband lost his job. Ms. Wright lived in a two-bedroom, two-bath apar tment with her two teen age daughters. They both worked and contributed to the household. One dropped out of high school and the other started at USF on an academic scholarship. The entire period that I was at Harbor Pointe, Ms. Wright only paid her rent on time once or twice. Her employment was rarely stable, which made things very difficult. Undependa ble transportation was another problem. For a period, Ms. Wright had a temporary job at a cal l center that became permanent. Her wages were between $10 and $12 per hour. Although the job came with benefits, Ms. Wright soon
72 cancelled them because they took too much of her paycheck. Ms. Wright ended up losing this job when she lost her cool during tape d customer service calls She has since found other work, but none of the jobs she has held has been very high paying or stable. Recently Ms. Wright moved to another apartment co mplex outside of Greenwood, though nearby. She lives with her college-aged daughter (the other daughter moved to Atlanta). Blockgroup census statistics s upport these observations re garding the clustering of low-income renters within the Greenwood ne ighborhood. For instance, in 1990 the median household income for the census tract was $20,536. However, one blockgroup within the census tract had a median household income of only $7,934 (Greenbaum and Ward 2004). Harbor Pointe Apartments I will describe Harbor Pointe Apartments in detail as it is the complex I know most intimately, in order to shed further light on neighborhood issuesfrom the perspectives of both low-income renters and hom eowners. In over thirty years, the complex has been through many owners, managers, maintena nce supervisors, and other staff.24 I will begin my description of Harbor Pointe with its ownership by Felix Rodriguez, beginning in 2002. Although I did not work at the complex at that time, two of the complexs employees that I worked with had also worked for him. In August 2002, Felix became the propertys ow ner. From talking to employees who had worked for Felix, I learned that it had been very difficu lt to keep the complex running under his ownership. He was pretty much charact erized as a slumlord. He lived in another city in Florida and did not visit the property of ten. The rumor was that he had inherited the 24 The Hillsborough County Property Appraisers website lis ts four qualified sales and three unqualified (this means that the sale price did not match the market value, involved multiple properties, or was between family members). Two of these sales occurred in the past three years.
73 property. Employees did not always get paid on time. Vendors werent paid. PSS had made this fact known at a GCC meetingannouncing exactly how much money Felix owed PSS. The lawyer wasnt paid so evictions were not possible. Many corners were cut. Apartments were rented as is, with cleaning done by the office staff. At a GCC meeti ng where homeowners were conti nuing to ask the managers of the complex to put a fence around the property, Fe lix admitted that he was cheap and did not want to invest much money on the fence. When he sold the property to Pete and Sam in February 2004, the property was in a deteriorated state and app eared to have been neglected for yearscertainly even prior to Felixs buyi ng the property. Felix did not seem to be interested in the homeowners con cerns. Although the property manager, Janice, atte nded GCC meetings, she hinted that Felix was unavailable much of the time. When Felix did attend a m eeting (the first meeti ng I attended), he made promises he did not keep. In terms of re sponding to homeowners request for a fence around the property, he finally installed a worn out Rent-A-Fence, that was aesthetically much worse than having no fence at all and certainl y was not what homeowners had in mind. For residents during this pe riod, the maintenance workers did not have supplies to make repairs. At least one womans apartment went into abatement25 through Section 8 because it failed inspection thr ee times. Residents who did not pay their rent received warnings, but were not evicted, because Fe lix was past due with the lawyer. In 2004 Felix sold the property. In contrast, Pete (the new primar y owner) and Rich (his partner) were very hands-on owners. Even though they lived inand were based out ofOhio, the first months that they owned the property they were there much of the time. 25 An apartment goes into abatement, meaning that Section 8 will not pay for a voucher-holder to inhabit it, when it fails three consecutive inspections.
74 They rented a condominium in the Tampa ar ea and stayed there on and off for months.26 Their companys mission statement involves pr oviding quality housing and compassion for low and moderate-income seniors and families and persons with disabilities while also providing investors with a prof it. The statement also provides information about their management styles emphasis on personal integrit y, which seems very much in contrast to the approaches of other Harbor Pointe owners. For the most part, Pete and Sam seemed to fulfill this mission. During my first year at Har bor Pointe, under the new ownership of Pete and Sam, the complex underwent major aesthetic improveme nts that many complex residents and area homeowners viewed positively. The complex al so began tightening its applicant screening requirements, which I will discuss in-depth in a later chapter. Many evictions were filed for non-payment. A few months after beginning these changes, Pete and Sam hired a new property manager,27 who tightened up on all community polic ies. Pete also hired the security company, PSS, which had previously patro lled the property (before Felix stopped paying them). After Pete and Sam bought the property, a flurry of construction immediately commenced. They brought a general contractor and his crew of construction workers. The construction workers were housed in vacant ap artments. Work progressed quickly, although it was halted for a period for permitting reasons. Although Pete and Sam created a higher st andard for the apartmentspainting the cabinets white to cover their 1970s look, replac ing many carpets and ap pliances, and so on 26 After a year, Pete moved his belongings from the condo to an apartment at Harbor Pointe fixed up for him but he only visited occasionally. 27 The current manager Janice was demoted to office manager and quit as a result.
75 at the same time, they were still very cautious with expenditures. They were involved in even the smallest purchasing decisions. For instance, they went through the vacant apartments and personally determined which car pets they thought needed to be replaced. Certainly Pete and Sam were inte rested in making a profit. Pete seemed very concerned about th e larger Greenwood neighborhood. He made sure that a representative from Harbor Po inte attended monthly G CC meetings and even attended a couple himself. At one point, th e Sheriffs department arranged a separate meeting with representatives from Harbor Pointe, Ashton Heights, Bradford Park Condominiums, and PSS to address youth crime. Pete and Sam fl ew from Ohio just for this meeting. Not even sixteen months after Pete and Sam bought the property, they sold it to Executive Group. Robert Jack son, who introduced himself as the owner, actually represented a living trust composed of multiple people (of which he was not one). Roberts approach was much different than Pete and Sams approach. Based in North Carolina, Robert was very much an absentee landlor d. Most of the employeesincluding mecame to see him as a slumlord. It seemed like Roberts only concern wa s profit. Employees became independent contractors. Promises were made and not kept Bills were not paid. Employees were let go to cut costs. During Christmastime the waste removal company had not been paid, and trash was piled up around the dumpsters, which were overflowing. Work orders were terribly backed upin part due to the decreased numbe r of staff. They were unable to get apartments move-in ready by the day that reside nts were scheduled to move in. Meanwhile, Robert pressured Harbor Pointe office workers to lease more apartments. He even had the
76 maintenance office cleared out and converted into an apartment to rent out. The grounds were consistently strewn with trash because there werent enough maintenance workers to address maintenance requests and also take care of this task. Based on my experiences attending GCC mee tings, I surmised that to homeowners, changes in ownership meant changes in screen ing guidelines for who would move into the community, decisions about evictions (who st ayed in the community), and care of the physical property. To renters, changes in ownership meant changes in rental rates, management style, applicant screening polic ies, and late payment arrangements. In contrast to the ways that mixed income housing programs and policies are theorized, HOPE VI relocatees in Greenwood are segregated in apartment complexes that while not inhabited only by Section 8 voucher holderscertainly are not economically diverse. Living in these complexes, they beco me the generalized targ ets of homeowners who view low-income renters as contributing to ne ighborhood decline. The activist efforts of a group of homeowners, some of which involve ga ting and fencing, furthe r prevent the social mixing envisioned by HOPE VI advocates. In this new, privatized model of public housing, HOPE VI relocatees also become subject to the decisions of landlords who treat Section 8 vouchers as an investment opportunity. Harbor Pointe is an important site in Greenwood because it has housed a large number of HOPE VI relocatees and has al so had an impact on the larger Greenwood neighborhood. The following chapter describes th e complex in detail as both a home and an investment.
77 Chapter Five Home or Investment?: The Pr ivatization of Public Housing Chapter Two discussed the history of th e problem of affordable housing and the various government programs designed to address th e issue. Of particular importance here is the recent neoliberal approach, which has resu lted in the privatization of existing public housing through HOPE VI and has also increased government reliance on the private housing market to provide subsidized units through the Section 8 program. Therefore, in order to understand low-income housing policy on the ground, it is necessary to examine the private rental market. In this chapter, I describe in detail the everyday work ings of an apartment complex geared toward low-income renters28Harbor Pointe Apartments. The chapter details the perspectives of both landlords, who see the property as an investment, and renters who make the apartment community a home. Harbor Pointe Apartments Harbor Pointe Apartment Homes is located in the northwest part of the Greenwood neighborhood. The complex is located amidst single family houses; be tween solidly middleclass subdivisions and The Orch ard, a subdivision with more modest homes. As I mentioned in the previous chapter, Harbor Pointe is lo cated immediately next to a middle-class, gated condominium complexBradford Parkand across the street from another low-income apartment complex, Ashton Heights Apartments. 28 During my research period, nearly half of the residents were Section 8 recipients. A number of residents had moved to Harbor Pointe after being relocated through HOPE VI.
78 Built in 1971, Harbor Pointe consists of twenty-nine two-story buildings of varying sizes housing 232 apartments. Most of the apar tments face inward toward a common parking lot, except for the apartments along the west side and back of the complex. There are three different floor plans for one-bedroom apartments three different floor plans for two-bedroom apartments, and one floor plan for three-bedroom apartments. Most of the apartments are spacious, with ample closet space and private ba lconies. All of the apartments have central heat and air. During the time that I worked at the comple x, the interior details of the apartments varied considerably depending on which pr operty owner, manager, and particular maintenance staff were working in the apartment at the time it was prepared for a tenant to move in. For the most part, the carpeting was a utilitarian dark brown to hide regular wear and tear. Standards for replacing carpeting in an apartment varied. A trusted and affordable carpet cleaner was often called in to evaluate the carpets and recommend new carpeting when necessary. Older appliances were retained whenever possible. This meant that many apartments had dishwashers from the 1970s and ovens with only one rack while others had brand new appliances. The same applied to the vinyl floor covering in the small entranceway, kitchen, an d bathroom/s; sometimes new vinyl was provided and other times, worn and often very stained vinyl was left in the apartment for the new tenant. Kitchen cabinets were made of pressed board and the exterior was usually a color popular in the 1970syellow or lime greencovered with whit e paint. Counter tops, and sometimes bathtubs, were painted over rather than resurfaced. Among the several amenities at Harbor Po inte are the three laundry rooms dispersed throughout the complex; none of the apartments had washer/dryer hook-ups. Pete and Sam,
79 the owners for whom I first worked, had bra nd new washers and drye rs installedfour of each for the three different laundry rooms. Wh ile originally the laundry rooms were open for twelve hours a day, this changed when several residents reported to the management that some teenagers were using the facilities to engage in sexual activity and gambling. The laundry rooms were then open from 9 am to 6 pm, which was an inconvenience for many who worked during the day. The cost to wash and also to dry was very affordable, $1.25 each, but there were a limited number of machin esand the machines were somewhat small. A number of residents washed their cl othes at a nearby La undromat instead. Harbor Pointe advertises several outdoor recreational f acilities: two swimming pools, a basketball court, and a playground and picnic area. However, use of these amenities was limited. The two pools remained locked excep t when the leasing office was open; in addition, the pool that was located at the back of the complex remained locked most of the time. The other pool was directly behind the l easing office, so the managers felt they would be able to more closely supervise swimming th ere. Often the pool remained locked until someone requested that it be unlocked. The colorful, well-construct ed plastic playground that Pete and Sam added to the property was ce rtainly enjoyed by resident children; however, repairs were not made when the slide eventu ally broke. In additi on, although there was a basketball goal, nets were rarely provided. W ith the renovations instigated by Pete and Sam, the former club house instead be came a building in which to st ore building mate rials and the golf carts that the maintenance workers used for transportation thr oughout the complex. The cost of apartments at Harbor Pointe was relatively reasonable when compared to Fair Market Rent calculations, although many families did not find the rent affordable. In 2006, the monthly rent for the l east expensive two-bedroom apar tment at Harbor Pointe was
80 $67029 (including water), which is considerably less than the Fair Market Rent for Hillsborough County for a two-bedroom apar tment$817 a month (Low Income Housing Coalition 2006). HUDs assessment of the Fair Market Rent for the Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater area lists a two-bedroom at $785 a month (US Department of Housing and Urban Development 2006), which is still mo re expensive than th e most expensive twobedroom apartment at Harbor Pointethe twobedroom, two bath townhouse that rented for $740/month (including water). An illustration of the actual lack of affordability of Harbor Pointe is that most applicants did not meet the minimum income requirements for renting an apartment. These guidelineslike most esta blished by landlordsare based on the premise that a family cannot truly afford an apartment (a nd are at risk of defaulting on rent) if more than 33% of the households income is expended on rent. Therefore, in order to be approved for an apartment at Harbor Pointe, a familys monthly income (before taxes) needed to be three times the monthly cost of rent. Many applicants were single mothers working lowwage jobs or elderly persons living on Social Security and did not meet these guidelines. As leasing agents, we were told that we could st retch the guidelines as long as an applicants monthly income was at least 2.5 times the mont hly rent. However, many, especially elderly persons on social security, still did not meet these requirements. In order to further demonstrate the relative cost of Harbor Poin te, the one-bedroom apartment that I lived in outside of the neighborhood was nicer and less e xpensive than the comparably sized unit at Harbor Pointe. Although Harbor Pointe resi dents made their housing choices based on a number of factors, I believe that one reason many chose the co mplex was that while the rent might be more affordable somewhere else, background and credit ch ecks might also be 29 This apartment is a two-bedroom, one bath apartment.
81 stricter (as was the case with my landlord). I discuss credit and bac kground screening issues later in the chapter. Many individuals and families who visited Harbor Pointe for information learned about the complex through word of mouth. Those who were first exposed to the complex from mainstream advertising seemed less likely to be seriously interested once they actually visited the complex. A very large percentage of those who expressed in terest in visiting the complex never did. Although this is probabl y common even with mo re upscale apartment complexes, another leasing agen t who lived in the complex befo re working there speculated that many did arrive at the property but afte r seeing its exterior a nd the location, did not bother coming inside. Several individuals or families who visited the complex made explicitly disparaging remark s as I showed them around the complex. For instance, on one occasion, I began showing a white male and fema le around the property; they quickly made a comment that it was the ghetto and that they would never live in a pl ace like this. On one or two occasions, white prospective residents explicitly asked me if there were any white people who lived in the complex. Not all of those who made negative comments were white. When I showed apartments to prospective tenant s, the lack of updating they could expect was a concern for many. Because there were no model apartments, I had to show apartments in a range of conditions. Prospective residents w ould ask if the carpet was going to be replaced or the linoleum or even the light fixtures, and I would have to tell them that it was up to the manager and maintenance crew to determine what changes needed to be made to particular units.
82 Managing Low-Income Apartments For private landlords who own and manage low-income apartment complexes, the two primary goals are to generate profits and to protect their investment. It is usually a lesser goal to provide quality housing to residents, a lthough in some way this remains a stated goal of many landlords who own low-income apar tment complexeseven if it is often accomplished in order to attract more renters and therefore generate more profits. The stereotype of the slumlord, who profits by re nting substandard housing to poor families, is a somewhat accurate portrayal of many landlor ds of low-income apartment complexes. Certainly Tampa has a record of such landlords. Steven Greene is an infamous example of a Tampa slumlord. He was once listed among New York Citys ten worst landlords and holds the record for the highest fines ever issued by Hillsborough County, Florida code enfo rcement (Dennis 2006). As described in a 2002 newspaper article, Green is known for buying: an aging apartment complex in need of wo rk, getting a bargain price and a venture capital mortgage loan that k eeps his down payment near zero. He hires painters, landscapers and other workers to do renovations as a prelude to raising rents. He often keeps his contractor s waiting for their m oney. As his cash flow improves, Green uses his new apartment complex as collateral for a new, larger mortgage loan from a big bank or other conventional lender (Wexler and Testerman 2002). Green has owned at least one Greenwood apartment complexGrace Manor Estates, which advertises luxury ap artments and provides housing primarily to low-income families. In 2002, code enforcement officials ci ted Green for more than 500 code violations
83 at several of his apartment complexes (Wexler 2002). Grace Manor Estates was one of these. Since that time, he has sold most of his properties.30 Although the various owners of Harbor Poin te Apartments were not all so easily defined as slumlords, the complex has proved qui te profitable for several of its owners, in large part through disinvestment. As describe d in a previous chapte r, the first owner I encountered was Felix Rodriguez, who invested ve ry little in the property. Pete and Sam put a great deal into the property (approximately a million dollars), but they then profited from the sale of the property just over a year later more than two million dollars above their total investment. Profits notwithstanding, they did try to improve the property for the tenants and appeared to regard low-income housing as an hon est enterprise. In c ontrast, Robert Jackson, the current owner, appears to be primarily conc erned with profits. During the course of my fieldwork, the property turned over three times, and it is important to reiterate that none of these Harbor Pointe Apartments owners lived locally. Robert Jacksons company bought a number of properties in various states with the idea that providing housing for low-income clie ntele is a market niche. In a casual conversation in the leasing o ffice during one of his visits, he explained his investment approach to me. He said that renters in higher end apartment complexes would likely soon become homeownerssince the rate of rent is nearly the amount of a mortgage.31 In contrast, low-income renters will likely never become homeowners and will always need an 30 He is now in a coma, from being hit by a car in front of a New York nightclub; his condition has allowed him to evade high dollar civil proceed ings in a Tampa courtroom. 31 In fact, in some markets, the m onthly rent for an apartment is more than the average monthly mortgage payment.
84 apartment to rent. He indicated that he a nd his business partners bought properties wherever the market dictated, which included Miami and a couple of cities in California. Looking at the housing situations of these cities (includi ng Tampa), it seems that Roberts company may have been interested in buying properties in cities where homeownership was becoming unattainable for a large per centage of the population. Unlike with public housing, profits are always at the forefront of low-income housing management in the private housing market. Howe ver, in order to turn a profit, a complex cost-benefit equation must cons tantly be negotiatedand these management decisions have significant effects on the lives of those who call the complex home. Section 8 Program in Practice The Section 8 program is an attractive option for profit for low-income apartment complexes. In many ways, the Section 8 progr am can help make a complex that is not competitive with newer complexes more profitable, because revenue is guaranteed. Only a limited number of landlords accept vouchers, so demand remains high. Participation in the Section 8 program may also enable a landlord to charge higher rent for apartments than their realistic market values; the Fair Market Ra tes calculated by HUD are often relatively high. However, a landlord cannot charge more for an apartment rented by a Housing Choice Voucher holder. Comparable units must be rented at an equivalent rate. In order to understand how this policy opera tes in the private rental market, it is necessary to comprehend how the Section 8 program works in practice. I will briefly describe the process of receivi ng and using a voucher in the pr ivate rental market, based on my experiences working in the leasing office of Harbor Pointe Apartment Homes. First, a prospective participant in th e program picks up his/her Section 8 voucher and Request for
85 Tenancy paperwork at the Section 8 office. The voucher is the top sheet of a carbon copy document containing basic information about the size and price of the rental unit for which the voucher holder qualifies. In contrast, the Request for Tenancy paperwork is a thick packet of forms that the landlord fills out; th is is the paperwork ( not the voucher) that actually secures the rental unit. Among the info rmation required for these forms is a list of three comparable rental units in the same ar ea and the prices for which they rented. The paperwork requires signatures from both the landlord and the voucher holder on numerous pages. Sometimes, the voucher holder is given the voucher and not the Request for Tenancy paperwork; in this case, the voucher holder can show the landlo rd that he/she does indeed have a voucher and will be ab le to bring the Request for Tenancy paperwork soon. I observed that a number of times this caused pr oblems for applicants who obviously had their vouchers but for some reason could not get thei r Request for Tenancy paperwork from their counselors. This meant that the entire pro cess was held up because an inspection and movein cannot occur without the Request for Tenancy paperworkand a good amount of time must be allowed between the time an applic ant submits the paperwork (filled out by the landlord) to his/her counselor and the date the applicant actually moves in to his/her apartment. Many Section 8 Program participants find the street-level bureaucracy32 involved at this stage very time-consuming a nd often frustrating, with long waits at the Section 8 office and frequent miscommunication. Having secured the initial pa perwork, the voucher holder must find an apartment or house to rent. In the search for suitable housing, in addition to difficulties with 32 Michael Lipsky defines street-level bureaucrats as public service workers who interact directly with citizens in the course of their jobs, and who have substantial discretion in the execution of their work (1980:3).
86 transportation33 that many face, it can be hard to find landlords that accept vouchers; this has been noted as a possible barrier to voucher use in the literature on MTO programs (Goering et al. 2003). I have also w itnessed this problem first-hand, as many apartment complexes near Harbor Pointe stopped accepting vouchers decreasing the pool of housing from which voucher holders can choose.34 Landlords and leasing agents at apartment complexes can provide significant challenges, as well as assistance, in the process. Sometimes leasing agents are not explicit about screening policie s or timely with application processing, which can lead to wasted application fees and time. Especially in todays risk society (Beck 1992), most landlords require some form of credit and background check. Even though voucher holders have a significant percentage of their rent paid by the Housing Authority (or Hillsborough County), guaranteeing a landlord that at least a good portion of the rent will be paid, poor credit may still be held against an applicant. Although a voucher holder has at least 60 days to find a suitable unitand the voucher can be renewed for an additional 30 daysthese time constraints still prove to be ve ry stressful for many. For instance, even if a voucher holders expiration date is not pending, if she has given a current landlord notice, she might have to move out of the current housi ng unit before a new home is secured. This often became a problem when landlords caused delays. Once approved by the landlord, the future tenant pays a deposit, which is the tenants responsibility, unless it is a fo rced relocation like HOPE VI,35 and the landlord signs the Request for Tenancy paperwork; the future te nant then takes the paperwork back to the 33 Relying on public transportation in Tampa can be problematic, and low-income families are less likely to own a vehicle. Although only 8% of households in Hillsbor ough County, do not own vehicles, in census tracts with a high rate of poverty, the percentage is much higher; for instance, in the census tract in which the public housing complex Central Park Village is located (Censu s Tract 40) 62% of households do not own vehicles (Census 2000). 70% of the HOPE VI households we interviewed in Greenwood did not have cars. 34 In fact, Harbor Pointe currently does not accept Section 8. 35 In this case, the Housing Authority pays the deposit.
87 Section 8 office. At this point, the landlor d prepares the apartment for the Section 8 inspection. Meanwhile, the future tenants Se ction 8 counselor processes the Request for Tenancy paperwork. The paperwork must go th rough the counselors supervisor and then on to the agency responsible for inspecting the unit, which could be an internal department or an external one (in Tampa this depends on whethe r or not it is the city or county voucher program). The voucher holders counselor ex amines the paperwork, making sure the unit meets certain criteriaincluding not being overpri ced for the area. Then an inspection agent makes an appointment with the landlord to in spect the unit. If the unit passes the inspection, the tenant can move in immediat ely. If the unit does not pass inspection, a new inspection will have to be set upoften weeks later. A uni t will not be inspected more than three times. If an apartment fails three times the voucher holder will have to find another rental unit. Based on my experience, it usually takes at least two weeks to complete the entire bureaucratic process. However, I have seen re sidents wait several weeks and even more than a month just for an inspection date to be set. Often the paperwork woul d get held up with the voucher holders counselor. A woman who form erly worked as the Assistant Manager at Harbor Pointe had the personal cell phone number for one of the Section 8 counselors notorious for holding up paperwork, and some times would call him directly when there seemed to be a delay in setting the inspection date, to make sure the paperwork had left the counselors desk. Delays can al so occur at the apartment comple x. For instance, this occurs when an existing tenant does not move out of an apartment pre-leased to a voucher holder, or if the complex is poorly managed, and the main tenance crew does not prepare the apartment correctly. In most cases voucher holders cannot move in until the apartment passes inspection, because a voucher holder will be he ld fully responsible for the rent until the
88 apartment passes. Before Harbor Pointe had a policy against a reside nt moving in prior to the units having passed inspection, a woman move d in early and it took another two months for her apartment to pass. She ended up ow ing the complex over a thousand dollars, even though her monthly income was so low that onc e the apartment had passed inspection, the Section 8 program paid her rent in full each month. After almost two years, she was still paying off this debt to the apartment complex. The experience of an elderly resident of Plantation Homes is illustrative of the stressful events that can occur when a vouc her holder attempts to move into a new apartment/house. The woman was attempting to relocate to the new HOPE VI development, Belmont Heights Estates. Because she has a number of serious medical conditions, she cannot live alone. She recalls that the Secti on 8 program approved her request to have her 25-year old grandson live with her based on the medical documentation she provided. However, Belmont Heights Estates required additional documentation. The woman recalled that the leasing agent just kept putting me off, putting me off. I mean this lady had me to the point, I had got stone sick nervous. The st ress of the situation was overwhelming: What we couldnt make her understand was this. My lease was going to be up But you couldnt make her understand that. So I got Miss Mary Dooley, and shes a sweet person. She deals with S ection 8. I talked to her and I explained things to her. She told me, its like she sa id, Miss Lily if your pape rworks done everythings in order. You shouldnt have to go through this. She said, DONT sign nothing on your lease until- She said, If you sign that lease now that youre moving out, youre going to have to move out on that time. Then if they say that theyre not ready for you to move, then guess what? Youre not going to have a place to stay. She was afraid to put in her notice at Planta tion Homes because if her apartment at Belmont Heights Estates did not come through, she would be left without a place to live. For these reasons, the woman now has give n up her plans to leave Plantation Homes. This womans
89 experience trying to move into the HOPE VI de velopment, Belmont Heights Estates, also illustrates how inaccessible HOPE VI actually is for many low-income renters. In fact, nationwide, only five percent of households relo cated through HOPE VI ha ve returned to the new developments (Comey 2007). Benefits to Landlords There are a number of important ways that the Section 8 program benefits landlords. As mentioned previously participating in the Section 8 pr ogram enables landlords to rent lesser quality housing at the market price. In addition, landlords who accept Section 8 are assured that the rent for an apartm ent will be paid in full each month,36 while non-voucher holders might stop paying their rent at any time. Landlords may also find that they can rent an apartment for a higher price because the Section 8 program will pay it, while a lowincome family without a voucher cannot afford the price and a middle-in come family can pay a higher price for a better quality apartment. Pete and Sam raised the rent for the three bedroom apartments when they learned the ma ximum rent that the Tampa Housing Authority would approve for a three bedroom apartment. In addition, a manage r at Harbor Pointe believed the Section 8 program was beneficial to landlords because it increased the amount of control a landlord had over a tenant. For in stance, she knew she could threaten to call a tenants Section 8 counselor if cer tain issues were not addressed; this might put the tenant in jeopardy of losing his/her apartment. At the same time, a tenant can threaten to call the Section 8 program on the landlord; though I only knew of this happening once, I did occasionally hear residents suggest that they might take this action. The woman who did call the Section 8 program reported that Harbor Pointe had not addressed some significant 36 In my experience, the Tampa Housing Authority often did not pay the rent for an apartment during the month that it was due. However, they ev entually did pay rent in full.
90 maintenance issues in her apartment. The S ection 8 counselor called the property manager to discuss the problem, and the repair work in th e womans apartment was promptly completed. More often, however, voucher holders seemed concerned about the Section 8 program knowing about the disrepair of their apartments. If their apartments did not pass the yearly inspection conducted by the Secti on 8 program to re-establish th at the apartment was at an acceptable standard, they would withhold paymen t and the resident would have to move. The Section 8 inspector could also fail th e apartment during the inspection because of housekeeping issues for which the voucher holder was faulted. Costs Although there are many benefits for landlord s participating in th e Section 8 program, there are also some challenges. This is especi ally true when a large number of tenants in a complex receive vouchers, requiring an immense amount of tedious paperwork and bureaucracy navigation. For instance, as I mentioned above, a landlord (and voucher holder) might have to wait long periods of time for th e processing of paperwork and scheduling of inspections. In addition, unlike non-voucher holders, le ase renewals need to be addressed several months ahead of time so that paperwor k and inspections can be taken care of. For instance, if the rent had increased since the prev ious year (which it usually had), the Section 8 counselor would have to appr ove the amount and determine what the tenants new payment would be. Also, depending on the changing circ umstances of a tenant (new child, marriage, changes in income from various sources), the portion of rent that a tenant should be paying could change at any time. This was a source of constant frustrati on for Harbor Pointes managers as well as voucher holders. If se veral months passed before this amount was correctly figured, a tenant could end up owing a large amount of money.
91 In addition to these costs associated with the Section 8 program, in order to make a profit, a landlord must very carefully evalua te every expenditure. As mentioned in the previous chapter, Felix simply accomplished this by making as few expenditures as possible. He even quit paying his bills, so it was impo ssible to file an eviction through a lawyer, buy supplies, and sometimes pay employees on time Because Pete and Sam were explicitly trying to provide quality housing, they did make many significant expenditures, although they were also very cautious about spendi ng money to replace carpets, linoleum, and appliances. Robert Jackson seemed to be only concerned with his bottom line. He would tell the managers that they had to spend le ss on supplieswithout reviewing what was purchased, and even though the basic materials purchased could be easily justified. He had the assistant property manager research termite treatment options (for the buildings Pete and Sam had not yet treated) but never followed up on this because of the expense. He also changed private security companies, to a less effective company, because of cost. How the various owners approached the co mplex was, in many ways, reflected in their treatment of the workersa key monthly expenditure. Pete and Sam initially offered benefits to the employees, although they e nded up not following through with several employees. They instituted a number of pay ra ises and leasing bonuses, and employees were offered discounted rent if they moved into an apartment in the complex. Employees were even addressed in the companys mission st atement, which indicated support of open communication and personal growth for all empl oyees through its management approach. I felt very valued by Pete and Sam and the managers they hired. They understood my research and school obligations and honored every request I ma de to miss work to attend academic conferencesand even to take persona l trips. I asked if I could attend an
92 important community forum organized by members of my research team on a Saturday when I was scheduled to work (I was the only employee at the time that worked on Saturday). When no one else could work in my place, they decided to just close the office for the day. Pete and Sam also appreciated my input on various issuesalthough they were sometimes resistant to my requests to increase apartmen t improvements for new residents moving in. They even allowed me to conduct several inte rviews while I was working (off the clock, of course). Other employees received similar accommodations. Pete and Sam lent money to a maintenance worker so that he could buy a car, for instance. However, sometimes I felt uncomfortable that Pete and Sam perhaps valued me too much for an educational and class background that my co-workers did not share. For instance, I was instructed to (and did) record the complexs voicemail message myself rather than have one of my co-workers voices represented. Pete and Sam also someti mes referred to me having helped bring in a new clientele, which I assumed was a reference to my class position. After Robert Jackson bought the proper ty, all employees became independent contractors. This meant that the owner did no t have to pay taxes and those who worked at the complex had to pay for their own social security. He also put an end to employee discounts and never provided benefitsalthough he did retain the leasing bonuses and some raises. He gradually scaled back the empl oyees to a mere skeleton crew even though the amount of work required with a mu ch larger staff was overwhelming. I especially appreciated the positive trea tment afforded me by Pete and Sam when Robert Jackson bought the property. Perhaps because of my educational background and second job teaching, even though I had worked in the complex the longest, I was one of the employees he eventually decided to lay off. I also found, in my capacity as a leasing agent,
93 that my providing input on complex issues wa s no longer welcomed. It also became more difficult to ask for time off for my res earch and personal responsibilities. Risk Management Managers of low-income apartment complexes want to make sure that their applicant screening guidelines are strict enough to protect their inve stment (through risk management), but not so strict as to select out most low-income renters, most of whom are likely have some credit or background issues. The idea is to house the deserving poorwho will pay the rent, take care of the apartments, and not cau se problems with neighbors. However, these characteristics are obviously not necessarily revealed by a credit and/or background check. For instance, a person who had a number of dr ug arrests and convictions might never cause any problems, whereas a person with no previous criminal background at all might end up in a violent altercation with a neighbor. Also, a resident who consistently pays his/her rent could suddenly end up in an accident or losing a job for another reason. This happened to a number of residents. An el derly woman who lived in the co mplex for more than ten years consistently paying her rent in a timely manner was in an accident and applied for social security because she was unable to work. In the meantime, she fell a couple of months behind in her rent payments. Similarly, anot her longtime elderly resident with health problems struggled to pay her rent and fina lly moved in with her new husband (who also lived in the complex) so that they could share expenses. Howe ver, soon after this move, her husband was laid off from his trucking job and they were unable to pay their rent in full. It was interesting that many of those who were hired to conduct the background checks either would not pass these guidelines themselves, or had persons living in their households that would prevent them from passi ng. The leasing agent with whom I first
94 worked, for example, who also lived in the co mplex, told me that she had more than one eviction on her credit report and wa s open about her live-in boyfri end being addicted to crack cocaine.37 One of the Property Managers had a husb and with a significant criminal record. She mentioned that he had spent an amount of time in jail and it was rumored that the charges were quite serious related to an accident that occurred while he was driving under the influence. The Assistant Manger at that ti me, who later became the Property Manager, was married to a man with a couple of felony ch argesone having to do with incorrectly carrying a registered gun in his car and the ot her related to possession of marijuana. In addition, Miss Dianes son had spent much of hi s life in prison for murder charges; he seemed to stay in her apartment at least some of the time. At Harbor Pointe the application fee was a non-refundable $40. Voucher holders attempting to rent in increasingly tight housi ng markets may find that many landlords enforce strict screening criteria, thus the likelihood of rejection and loss of the fee is higher. And application fees quickly add up, es pecially for prospective tenant s with low incomes. When I first began working at Harbor Pointe Apartments, the screening guidelines were that an applicant could have no evictions or felonies at any point in his/her life; collection accounts would be overlooked unless it was a landlord or u tility company, and uti lity charges could be paid off before the person moved in. Several m onths later the owners loosened the policy. A single balance owed to a landlord (other than an eviction) became allowable if it was more than a year old and half of the am ount was paid off. Felonies ha d to be at least five years old, but were acceptable as long as the charges were not extensive. However, about six months later a new manager drastically tightened the po licy againno evictions or balances owed to 37 This leasing agent was finally pressured by the property manager and owners to move to her own apartment.
95 landlords; no feloniesor even having been arrested on a felony drug or violent charge; and no one on probation or with open warrantseven for very minor crimes. While at one time I was able to advocate for a woman with a Se ction 8 voucher who had an excellent rental history but ten years ago was charged with cocaine possessionand the way her charges were listed on her report made it look like separa te arrests instead of multiple charges for one arrestif she applied to the complex today he r application would be denied. Also, while allowing partial payment of certain bills may seem flexible, it was usually not affordable for applicants; as collection accounts, these charges often included considerable interest and/or fees. Regarding past evictions, many low-in come renters have evictions. Although the Section 8 program aims to assist such low-in come renters who have struggled with paying their rent, past credit history can impede an a pplicant from being able to use a voucher. In other words, many voucher holders do not quali fy for subsidized housing in apartment complexes.38 Non-voucher holders were also screened according to their incomes and employment history. While initially when I began working at Harbor Pointe, an applicant with no credit (positive or negative) and havi ng held a job for only a very short period of time would have been approved; many of these re sidents later ended up being evic ted for not paying their rent. The policy was then revised so that non-voucher hol der applicants had to have held their jobs for a minimum of several months. For non-voucher holder applicants, there we re also income requirements; before taxes, an applicants income needed to be three times the cost of rent each monthalthough 38 Individual landlordsrather than large apartment complexesmay be less equipped to conduct credit and background checks and more accessible fo r the hard-to-house. On the other hand, many voucher holders have complained to me that many individual landlords neglect maintenance issueseven very serious ones more than apartment complexes with staff and frequent inspections.
96 at least 2.5 times was considered acceptable. This meant that t hose receiving social security or disability as their only income did not qualify for even the smallest one-bedroom apartment at Harbor Pointe. On the two occas ions that I was able to convince the owners (Pete and Sam) to make an exception, thes e residents ended up being meticulous about paying their rent. All of the leasing agents attempted to have exceptions made for certain applicants. Although there was a policy in place (even thoug h it seemed to change frequently), we considered each applicants s ituation individually. I advocat ed for many applicants who did not meet the guidelines exactlyp articularly those who had crimin al charges that were quite a few years old. I was especially frustrated when a property manager began considering arrests as equivalent to convict ions and I really tried to make a case for applicants who had been arrested but not convicted of charges (or for whom the charges had been reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor). I also reasoned that those who had an evic tion in the past but currently had Section 8 should be approved, especially if it could be determined that their past eviction was for non-payment of rent (becau se it was likely that with the help of the voucher, they would be able to afford their porti on of the rent). While all of us interpreted the guidelines and our roles in processing an ap plication slightly differently, I was surprised to discover that Miss Diane made more execu tive decisions on her own than I did. If I encountered someone who seemed qualified bu t did not officially meet the guidelines, I would bring the situation to the property ma nager (who would sometimes end up asking the owner) and most of the time was able to succ essfully have the person approved. I noticed several times that Miss Diane excused past ev ictions that appeared on applicants credit reports or similar issues when the applicant e xplained to her that he/s he had never lived at
97 such a complex (without written documentation from the apartment complex or consulting Harbor Pointes property manage r). This may have something to do with Miss Diane having been a victim of identity theft in the past herself and understanding how these injustices occur. It is also likely that Miss Dianes approach to processing applications was related to her more personal connection to potential tenant s through informal social networks. It was clear to me, for instance, that Miss Dianes so cial networks contribu ted to her success in leasing apartments. Her flexibility in a pplying managements policies might then be understood as similar to the si tuation of the tenant manage rs in a Boston public housing complex described by Hyatt (2001:217), who we re caught between two conflicting sets of expectationsthose of the complex manageme nt and those of community members: As far as the housing authorities were concerned, the women who rose to positions of tenant leadership were expected to act as bureaucrats with human faces, exercising authority. Yet, in order for them to retain their authority as in siders, which was the very asset that made them ef fective as housing managers in the first place, they were also required to accommodate the expectati ons of their friends and family members, who continued to make up their most critical social worlds. Even though I attempted to bend the rules fo r many applicants, at the same time, I took the task of processing applic ations very seriously. An app licant dropped off a letters of reference from a past landlord who he said could not be reached by phone and also one supposedly from his employers; they were typed in the same font and formatting and with no signatures, which caused me to take a closer look at his employment. Because he said he had just relocated from Maryland and had not yet rece ived a paycheck at his new job in Tampa, I had to verify his employment by phone. The company he listed as his employer was not listed in the phone book and the address listed for the business matc hed another business when I conducted an Internet search. When I called the work phone number the applicant
98 had provided, a woman answered the phone with the name of the business he had provided and confirmed his employment. However, I did a reverse lookup of the phone number and found it belonged to an individual who lived across the street at Ashton He ights. I called his place of work again and asked for some detail s about the locationwhere it was located in reference to other businesses and she could not answer these questions. Needless to say, I politely informed the applicant that he was not approved for an apartment. Community rules and regulations were another way that risk was managed On the day a new resident moved into his/her apartmen t, there were many papers beyond the lease to sign including lists of community rules, poo l rules, and playground rules. These rules were not enforced consistently, but they each revealed the same issues related to risk management. In effect, each resident signed pa perwork agreeing to not break these rules, or engage in criminal behavior, use drugs, etc. These documents facilitated evictions for cause if the need ever arose. Private security companies are another impor tant means of risk management. As will be discussed in Chapter Six, many of the complexes employed these companies. While Ashton Heights was required to have the property patrolled by a private security company through the nuisance abatement or der initiated by area homeowner s, Harbor Pointe initially hired PSS because of pressure by homeowners using Ashton Heights nuisance abatement order as leverage. Although many residents pe rceive these companie s as being hired to protect residents, their main prio rity is to protect the property it self. One of the main tasks of PSS officers, the company that I observed at le ngth, was to report on the physical conditions of the complex. Another task was to keep re sidents from hanging out in parking lotsor in their doorwaysin the evening; they enforced a curfew and told residents that sitting
99 outside their apartments or standing in their doorways was a fire haza rd. PSS officers also distributed a dispatch phone number if they were in distress. The secu rity officers hired by Robert Jackson spent much of their time enforc ing the legality of the cars parked in the complexs parking lot, and ticketing cars with expired license plates. I discuss these activities at length in Chapter Six. Harbor Pointe Apartments as Home Most residents seemed to vi ew their apartments as their homes and took great pride in their upkeep. Many of the apartments that I vi sited were very elaborately decorated. I noticed that many residents leas ed brand new furniture after they moved in from the various local establishments like Rent-A-Center. The stores would contact the office to verify the residents information as part of their application process. Of course, these stores are known for their predatory lending practices (Williams 2004), and I witnessed several instances of furniture repossession. However, re sidents use of these stores to acquire furniture illustrates residents commitment to their apartments as homes. One woman, Miss Lottie was so proud of her apartment that she was very upset when she was notified that her apartment was going to be inspected, along with all the others, for reasons relating to the financing of the comple x. One of her primary concerns was that she would have to prepare her apartment to be viewed, even though she was assured that the inspectors would not be concerned with her dcor. Miss Lottie ended up having a very serious continuing conflict with one of the property managers over her decorating ideas. She was concerned about some photographs th e property manager took to show her why maintenance workers had gone into her apartm ent without her permissionthe water had been turned off for some reason and when it cam e back on, Miss Lotties faucets were turned
100 on with full pressure and her sinks began overf lowing and leaking into the apartment below hers. Miss Lottie worried that through thes e photographs the manager could steal her decorating ideas. She believed that the special touches she had added to her apartment might be generalized for all apartments in the comple xfor instance, the roun ded light fixture with which she had replaced the fixture provided, the way she accented her apartment by spray painting the air conditioning grates gold, and th e alternating color scheme she had applied to her walls. Similarly, one woman was devastated when th e wallpaper border that her mother had helped her to pick out and which she had gone to great pains to apply was destroyed through the work of construction workers residing the buildings. The manager (and later the owner when she addressed the issue with him) pointed out that in the fine print in her lease, it stated that wallpaper borders are not allowed; for this reason she was not compensated. Having an attractive apartment was so important to a couple of residents that they offered to do the work themselves if the apartment complex provided the supplies. A couple of residents painted their kitchen cabinets themselves, and one ha d a friend install the vinyl in her small entryway, kitchen and bathroom when she fina lly convinced the complex to provide it. Several residents who lived in ground level apartments (one of whom had lived in the complex over ten years) planted large gardens outside their apartments. Much like the homeowners in the neighborhood, Harbor Poin te residents are also concerned with issues like aesthetics, crime, sa fety, and rising housing costs. Families raised their children and held birthday parties, baby showers, and holiday dinners in their apartments. They were, in every respect, their homes.
101 Maintenance problems were a serious con cern for most living in Harbor Pointe Apartments. Termites are a major problem for structures in Florida, and Harbor Pointe Apartments had serious termite problems. When Pete and Sam bought the property, they ended up tenting approximately half of th e apartment buildings for termitesa very expensive endeavor that involved paying for residents to stay in a hotel overnight. However, when residents in the other ha lf of the buildings reported pr oblems with termites, the issue was not addressed. As a worker in the office, I was told by the manager that the pest control company needed a sample of the termites to see if they could treat them with insect spray. So I would tell residents this. However, wh en they brought me the samples in plastic sandwich bags nothing was ever done to address the problem. Several of the parking lots flooded severe ly when it rained. Although Pete and Sam repaved the parking lots, additional work was n eeded in order to reso lve this problem. In addition, seemingly small details se riously affected residents qua lity of life. Most of the apartments have private balconies or patios. However, with the renovations initiated by Pete and Sam, residents of the bottom-level apartments had the rotten wood of their patio dividers torn out but not replaced, so that these apartm ents lost their private outdoor area. Many residents complained about this change, however management tr ied to pitch the decision as positivedoesnt it seem nicer now that it s opened up? Similarly, while all of the apartments likely had screens in the windows at one time, during my research period many did not. The property owners decided not to re place residents screens, which meant that they could not open their windows to cool off their apartments without bugs coming inand constant air conditioning can be very expensive in warm, humid Tampa.
102 Although most residents did not seem to fear for their physical safety, many residents were concerned about break-ins. Most of the crimes committed on the property were car break-ins, although there were several cases of ap artment break-ins over th e years as well. In fact, the leasing office and the maintenance office were both broken into (on separate occasions). It was found that a former empl oyee who lived on site was responsible for breaking into the maintenance office; the perpet rator of the leasing office break-in was never found, although it too was suspected to have li kely involved someone who worked in the complex. In terms of violent crime, there was actually one drive-by shooting that occurred while I was working at the complex. Police beli eve that it was not meant to physically harm anyone but to send a message to a male teen who lived in the targeted apartment. One bullet made its way into the apartment next door, into the wall of an elderly womans living roomvery near her computer, although she was in bed at the time. Additionally, before I began working there, a woman was shot in 2003 in her apar tment by a shooter outside the apartment (it was determined to be a random shooting); sh e was injured but survived (Greenwood 2003). I also heard from a ne ighboring homeowner that, after I stopped working there, a woman who lived in the complex was murdered by her former boyfriend, although I was not able to find any official information about such an incident. Managements response to several of these in cidents made some residents feel unsafe. For instance, after the driveby shooting I mentioned above, the manager of Harbor Pointe insisted that the targeted s on and his mother leave the comp lex, as her neighbors were also endangered by their proximity. Police had suggeste d that this was a gang related situation. The elderly next door neighbor was particularly invested in having this family relocated. She
103 spoke to me about how if the shooting had ha ppened on a different evening, she might have been shot as she often stays up late sending emails from her computer; she also felt emotionally traumatized every time she looke d at the bullet in he r wall. Despite her concerns, and managements appa rent interest in calming resi dent fears, the maintenance crew never got around to removing the bullet from her wall. Moreover, they failed to follow through with removing the presumed threat. Th e mother of the teen age son who was asked to move out of the complex had poor credit and therefore was having much difficulty finding alternative housing; th e manager felt badly for her and gave her more time, and they ended up not moving. This was certainly caused much concern for several neighbors. Similarly, a woman moved her family into a two-bedroom apartmen t near the leasing office, and while she was moving someone broke in her apartment and stole a number of items. It was determined that she must have left her back sliding glass door unlocked, and someone took notice and advantage while the fa mily was away for several days. Later a detective discovered that the thief was a teenaged girl who also lived near the leasing office with her very ill grandmother and siblings. Th e items were returned, but the thief and her family were allowed to continue living in th e complex and the victimized family was not allowed to move to another apartment. Such practices, however, were inconsistent. In another situation, several reside nts reported that two residents had gotten in an argument and one of the womans two adult daughters had co me at the other woman with machetes. This family was forced to move. There were many informal reports of illegal drug use in the complexparticularly in certain buildingshowever, I never heard of a drug arrest occurring on the property. Pete
104 and Sam claimed to have cleaned up the co mplex, although I heard from many residents that there was still a serious problemwith crack cocaine as well as other drugs. Although the complex hired a private security company much of the time to patrol the complex, the presence of such a patrol did not necessarily correspond with a reduction in crime. When the private security compa ny PSS was patrolling the complex, officers passed out cards with a phone number to call if they need ed to report an incident. However, the new company that Robert Jackson hire d told residents that they need ed to call the police for these incidents. The sheriffs department was calle d many times each month to deal with resident issuesusually by residents. A couple of tim es, someone in the leasing office called the sheriffs department. I called once when a fight between several residents in the parking lot outside of the leasing offi ce began to escalate. At a monthly complex managers meeting fo r the neighborhood held at the Sheriffs Department substation, a sheriffs deputy passed out lists of calls made to the sheriffs department from residents of each apartment co mplex, with particular codes for the type of problem for which the resident had called. Al though deputies had been sent out to address these issues when the calls were made, the idea was that if managers were more aware of the kinds of events that were occurring in the co mplexes in which they worked, they could work on some of the residents concerns so that th ey would make fewer calls, causing less strain on the Sheriffs department. One way of accomp lishing this was to work closely with a private security company like PSS to address some of the problems. Rising rents were also a significant concern for residents. When Felix was the property owner, rents remained very cheap, as the market would not have allowed for higher prices. At the same time, the occupancy rate was very low. However, when Pete and Sam
105 bought and renovated the property, rent s rose considerably. This meant that when residents leases were up for renewal, their rents might increase $100 or more a month. However, Pete and Sam ran a move-in special for nearly a full year that, in addition to discounting the first months rent considerably, lowered the rent from what they had calculated to be the market rate. Existing tenants were also charged thes e below market rates when it was time for them to renew their leases. Robert Jackson raised the rents to what he had calculated to be the market prices. Often before residents came in to meet with the assistant manager about renewing their leases, they did not know about the considerable rent increases. Because they had not planned for such an increase, this le d to some very emotional exchangesand to several residents unexpectedly moving. Although several residents had lived in the complex for five to ten years and even longer, as with most rental properties. tur nover was very common. Long-term renters were given very few incentives to renew their leases, which is actually counterintuitive to market logic. Occasionally, a resident would nego tiate with the manage r a small upgrade (for instance, having the carpet cleaned ). It would seem to be mu ch less expensive to retain a current resident rather than to re novate the apartment for a new tenant. A number of residents ran small businesses from their apartments in order to make ends meet. Living in a good-sized apartment comp lex provides a substantial client base for home based businessesalthough most were not truly legal businesses (and some were definitely illegal). One man sold a range of items (many were likely hot) but was best known for the bootlegged movie DVDs he sold. He circ ulated a list of his current films throughout the complex. He also sold duplicated CDs. Oc casionally he would call the office to find out
106 if we knew anyone who was looking to purchas e a particular itema photocopy machine or an expensive toy car. Several women sold food items out of their homes; they were known in the complex as the candy ladies. In fact, during Pete and Sams renovations, a couple of very enterprising young women sold lunc hes to construction workers th at they prepared in their apartments. One woman even had a menu posted to the outside of her door with pictures cut out of magazines. Periodically I would rece ive a phone call in the office from one of the candy ladies asking me to call over the walki e-talkies to tell one of the construction workers that his meal was ready. At one point Pete and Sam decided to put a stop to the candy ladies since it was not a legal business. One candy lady who was taking care of several grandchildren without Se ction 8, soon after could no longe r pay her rent and left the complex. There was no real opportunity for residents to organize around these issues. Unlike in College Hill and Ponce de Leon, there was no Resident Council,39 for instance. Pete and Sam had intended to have the property ma nager organize a neighborhood watch for interested residentsan d about ten signed upbut after an initial meeting, the idea was dropped. There was not even a central space wh ere residents could organize themselves as the former clubhouse had become a constructio n storage facility. Several residents did, however, come to the office together to prot est their treatment by PSS, which ultimately was effective. As I will discuss in Chapter Seven, 39 Very few relocatees reported having attended Resident Council Meetings, but it is significant that such an organization existedalthough these types of organizations were not, of course, entirely autonomous from management.
107 Pete and Sam asked PSS to accommodate residents indignant request that they be allowed to sit outside their apartments in the eveningsrathe r than being ordered insi de (or to their back patio areas) by the Community Officers. While HOPE VI relocatees did find some be nefits to living in private apartment complexes, there were also many difficult aspe cts. In many ways, HOPE VI relocatees had experienced better treatment and more fr eedom while living in public housing. This chapter has focused on the simultaneous and competing goals of apartment complex residents and investors in a privat ely owned multi-family developmentwhich can be seen as an important site for examining mixed income housing policy. In the next chapter, I explore the relationship between Harbor Po inte Apartments and the larger neighborhood and analyze the effect of ne oliberal trends in governance operating in the neighborhood.
108 Chapter Six Social Order, Broken Windows, and The War Against the Poor This chapter addresses how Greenwood ho meowners are responding to neoliberal policy changes. I am concerned here with how homeowners define, enforce, and contest social order in the neighborhood (C hapter Six addresses the perspe ctives of those relocated to the neighborhood through HOPE VI). Neoliberalism and Social Order Spatial governmentality, considered by Sally Engle Merry (2001) to be the dominant form of governance accompanying the onset of neo liberalism, can be seen to operate in the Greenwood neighborhood as a way to enforce a part icular version of social order promoted by homeowners and local law enforcement. In her article, Spatial Governmentality and the New Urban Social Order, Merry (2001) draws on the work of Michel Foucault (1975) to identify a general shift from disciplinary mechan isms of social controlsuch as arrest and rehabilitationto the regulation of space. Increasingly it is spaces that are governed, rather than people. For instance, rath er than attempting to reform offenders, they are simply excluded from certain spaces. Merry refers to these new mechanisms of social ordering as spatial governmentality.40 While Foucault (1975) has theo rized the regulation of space through architectural design and security device s as a complement to disciplinary governance (for instance, in prisons) Merry indicates th at mechanisms of spatial governmentality are fundamentally different from disciplinary ones in their logic a nd technologies in two 40 She credits Richard Perry and Lisa Sanchez (1998) with this label.
109 important ways. First of all, disciplinary mechanisms work to normalize the deviant behavior of individuals while these new mechanisms attempt to govern populations as a whole. Secondly, rather than punishing o ffenders after an incident, spatialized governmentality is future-oriented and focuses on prevention and risk minimization (Merry 2001:16). Merry looks at this trend in US domestic violence policyfor in stance, the increasing popularity of restraining orders, which protect the space around a victim of domestic violence rather than emphasizing punishment and rehabil itation for the offender. However, she writes that spatial governmentality is typically used by the wealthy to exclude the poor, while those who fail to respect thes e islands of safety are inca rcerated (2001:17). As an increasingly important aspect of contemporary cities: The new [spatialized] systems promote safe ty for the privileged few by excluding those who are dangerous rather than promo ting safety for the collectivity by seeking to reform those who offend. Constructing sa fe, policed spaces requires resources that are not available to everyone. These strate gies are limited to those who can mobilize themtypically people located in more pr ivileged positions in class, racial, and gender hierarchies (Merry 2001:17). Spatial forms of governance focus on concealing or displacing offensive activities from particular spaces. Merry mentions, as an ex ample, the removal of homeless persons from certain areas and new community-policing strategies that move potentially criminal youths to different neighborhoods (to remove them from ne gative influences) rather than prosecuting them (2001:16). In this way, middle-class homeowners in Tampas Greenwood community draw on mechanisms of spatial governmentality to combat what they perceive as neighborhood decline. Descriptions of the decline tend to focus on falling property values, increasing
110 crime rates, and less well kept propertiesa ll of which are associated with a perceived increase in low-income renters in Greenwood. Homeowners attempt to gain control over certain spaces in the community in order to defend their more middle-class spaces from the threats they believe are posed by low-in come housing. Community policing, code enforcement, nuisance abatement, and gating and fencing can all be seen as part of this governance trend. In terms of to what extent homeowners are actually experiencing economic losses as a result of an influx of low-income renters, it is likely that many are. Certainly real estate valuation does take into cons ideration the factors with whic h homeowners are concerned. The surrounding neighborhood strongly aff ects the economic value of a houseand homogeneity rather than heterogeneity has histori cally been valued higher in the real estate market. At the same time, it often seemed th at rather than homeow ners fearing actually losing money on their homes, they were more fr ustrated that the values of their homes had not increased as much as they had hopedand that property values in Greenwood were not comparable to homes in different neighborhoods. The Greenwood Community Counc il and Community Policing Community policing can be seen as a form of spatial governmental ity because of the particular version of social order it promotesincluding a focus on quality of life issues, which involve the physical upkeep of neighbor hood spaces and removing particular residents from neighborhood spaces, as well as the focu s on prevention and risk management. Community policing efforts often draw on the broken windows theory of crime prevention, which focuses on eliminating visible signs of neighborhood disorder (Chesluk 2004)such as broken windows and the presence of disor derly people (panhandler s, drunks, addicts,
111 rowdy teenagers, prostitutes, loiterers, the ment ally disturbed) in public placesin an effort to prevent crime and promote feelings of safety among neighbors (Wilson and Kelling 1982). This strategy for preventing neighborhood declinenow taken fo r granted by many as common sensewas introduced by an articl e published in the Atlantic Monthly by criminologists James Q. Wilson and George Kelling, Broken Windows: The Police and Neighborhood Safety (1982). The idea is that if one window is broken and not fixed (or a comparable quality of life issue is neglecte d), this will suggest to residents and passersby that no one cares about the neighborhoodand th is will lead to more broken windows and escalate into more serious criminal activity. Wilson and Kelling warn: A stable neighborhood of families who care for their homes, mind each others children, and confidently frow n on unwanted intruders can change, in a few years or even a few months, to an inhospitable and frightening jungle. A piece of property is abandoned, weeds grow up, a window is sm ashed. Adults stop scolding rowdy children the children, embol dened, become more rowdy. Families move out, unattached adults move in. Teenagers gath er in front of the corner store. The merchant asks them to move; they refuse. Fights occur. Litter accumulates. People start drinking in front of the grocery; in tim e, an inebriate slumps to the sidewalk and is allowed to sleep it off. Pedestrian s are approached by pa nhandlers (1982:31-32). Wilson and Kelling then suggest that the ne ighborhood becomes vulnerable to criminal invasion because of a lack of the informal controls that exist in orderly neighborhoods. The community policing approach, popul arized in the early 1990s and now established as the dominant pol icing strategy, emphasizes colla boration with communities in order to solve neighborhood problems. Contact between residents and police officers is promoted through community meetings and m ini-stations located in neighborhoods. In addition to law enforcement, community polic ing encompasses additional activities that contribute to the orderline ss and well-being of a neighborhood (Bureau of Justice Assistance 1994:14), such as helping re solve domestic and neighborhood conflicts and
112 working with residents and local busine sses to improve neighborhood conditions. Community policing embraces the broken wi ndows theory, and residents and police officers often collaborative on projects to address such issues. The broken windows approach has been embraced in high-profile ways in New York City and Boston, among other major cities. The broken windows approach, though widely accepted, does have its critics. Certainly the actions of former New York City Mayor Rudolf Guiliani, a poster boy for broken windows, demonstrate what an author itarian approach it is. For instance, his crackdown on even the lowest level offenses in cluded the criminalization of squeegee men and panhandlers. Of the numerous critiques of the b roken windows theory, I find two most applicable for understanding how commun ity policing operates in the Greenwood neighborhood. Benjamin Chesluk (2004) s uggests that the broken windows discourse: has become a powerful commonsense trop ea symbol that condenses an entire, morally charged narrative framework. Sp ecifically, the broken window serves as a figure for a struggle between order and disord er fought in the arena of everyday life and the taken-for-granted. It effectively gives an apocalyptic resonance to an openended critique of the everydayevery moment of discomfort can be read as a potential broken window and therefore the fi rst step on the road to chaos (2004:255). As a result, Chesluk notes: According to this perspective, the police mu st help law-abiding citizens to create orderly communities by inciting people to understand and talk about their everyday experiences of the city in te rms of signs of disorder. Th is discourse sorts people and behaviors into categories of order and disorder: natural and unnatural, social and antisocial, good and bad. It reduces the wo rk of understanding human life simply to a task of decoding signs in a binary code (2004:256).
113 Robert Sampson and Stephen Raudenbus h (2004) provide another important perspective on broken windows. Through a multi-f aceted study, they show that when people identify disorder, they are primarily associa ting disorder with the presence of African Americans. The broken windows discourses in Greenwood seem to have emerged at the same time that the neighborhood has become increasingly African American. While the existence of a racial tipping point in ne ighborhoods the percentage of non-whites that can make up the total population of a neighborho od before white flight and significant racial transition will inevitably occuris not s upported by social science evidence (Goering 1978),41 this idea seems to persist in popular ur ban lore and be present in the anxious discourses of neighborhood change pr oduced by Greenwood homeowners. Gating, fencing, videotaping, and other m easures taken by Greenwood homeowners must be understood in the context of broke n windows. Homeowner activists become involved in sorting individuals a nd behaviors into the binary code of order and disorder that Chesluk discusses. This sorting must also be understood as having ra cial implications. The GCC, a significant aspect of comm unity policing efforts in the Greenwood neighborhood, works in this way. As mentioned in a previous chapter, the GCC was formed, with the help of the Hillsborough County Sher iffs Deparment, through a federal community oriented policing grant from the US Department of Justices Of fice of Community Oriented Policing and has been active in the neighbor hood since 1994. Homeowners gather once a month, in collaboration with the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Department, to address neighborhood problems. This consists primarily of residents reporting si gns of disorder and, 41 What is perceived as a tipping point has been sh own to be enacted by the real estate, mortgage, and insurance industries for profit (Hirsch 1983, Sugrue 1996).
114 with the help of representatives from the Sh eriffs Department and other local government agencies, strategizing how to rees tablish order in the neighborhood. Although quality of life issues dominate the GCC meetings, cr iminal activity is also a focus. One of the first items on the age nda is a report by sheri ffs deputies concerning criminal activity in the neighborhood and also police activity. Resi dents are given phone numbers for local law enforcement officers at every meeting and encouraged to report any suspicious activity. They are also advised on how to stay safe. Homeowners typically ask questions about drugs and pros titution during this portion of the meeting. The GCC also organized a drug march in the neighborhood in the summer of 2005. While these reports by sheriffs deputies focus specifically on criminal activity, the meetings as a whole focus more on quality of life issues promoted by the broken windows theory of crime prevention. For example, th e concerns about the low-income apartment complexes in the neighborhood were central to many meetings. The physically dilapidated apartment complexes are believed to signal dec line. When representatives from the apartment complexes gave their reports, they often focu sed on aesthetic issuesr ebuilding staircases, planting flowers, adding fences and gates. A code enforcement officer who attended th e meetings was also called on to respond to residents aesthetic concerns. Alt hough Hillsborough County Code Enforcement deals with issues of health and safety as well nei ghborhood aesthetics, in GCC meetings, they were almost always consulted about aes thetic issues such as overgrown grass, junk left in yards, inoperable cars parked on lawns or in the st reet, commercial vehicles parked outside homes for long periods, the presence of roosters in a neighbors yard, and signs that advertise
115 Plants for Sale, among others. Code enforcement can be seen as a mechanism of spatial governmentality that homeowners util ize to control neighborhood spaces. Community clean-ups, anothe r important activity of th e GCC, also reflect the organizations focus on visible order in the ne ighborhood. They occur quarterly and involve representatives from the Sheriffs Departme nt as well as community volunteers. Other Community Policing Efforts in the Neighborhood The same substation for the Hillsborough Count y Sheriffs Department that helps to organize the GCC meetings al so coordinates the managers of the neighborhood apartment complexes for a meeting once a week. I had th e opportunity to attend on e of these meetings with Harbor Pointes assistant manager. The complex managers were provided with information about the kinds of calls that were received by the Sheri ffs department from residents of the complexes they manage duri ng the previous month. It seemed that the managers were being encouraged to somehow reduce the number of calls made by residents by proactively addressing some of these i ssues in-house (for in stance, through private security companies). Managers were also appris ed of issues that affected them collectively. Homeowner Definitions of Disorder Even beyond GCC meetings, the broken window s ideology seems to be pervasive through the neighborhood. Based on intervie ws with Greenwood homeowners, most perceive their neighborhood to be in a st ate of decline and disorder. Greenwood homeowners seem to be applying the broken wi ndows approach very sp ecifically, identifying unkempt yards, people hanging out, unatte nded children, and low-income housing as visible signs (Chesluk 20 04) of neighborhood decline. In fact, all of thes e visible signs of neighborhood decline are associated with lowincome renters, and implicitly with the
116 significant racial shift in Greenwood. Additi onal raced, classed, and gendered stereotypes that are encoded in these discussions will be discussed in-depth in Chapter Seven. Yards The upkeep of yards is a key concern of most middle-class Greenwood homeowners. This is understandable considering the growing popularity of deed restricted communities in which particular aesthetic standards (such as the type of grass or fencing) have been previously established and are enforceable. Becaus e such restrictions do not formally exist in Greenwood, they are informally constructed by some homeowners who attempt to enforce these standards in their nei ghborhood. Well maintained yards then come to signal social order and unkempt lawns indicate disorder. For instance, one white, female homeowner who lives in The Orchard called code enforcement on her neighbors because of the aesthet ic disorder of their property. She related the following when asked about why she w ould prefer to live in another neighborhood: Well, this area, as you probably already know, is deteriorating. Slowly deteriorating. I just dont like some of th e things, the changes, and so me of the things that are happening here. And I think what is happening, you know, people are being brought into this area, and I feel that, um, they shoul d beWhen they bring them intoBefore you bring, uh, families into an area that I feel thats been well-kept that they should be put in some type of cla ss or, to know what to expect That you just dont move into the area and put the old cars in the yard, you know, refrigerators on the carport, this kind of thing. Because Im one of these people, I call housing code in a heartbeat. Because I feel that I have worked so hard all these years, and I just dont want anybody to come in and just, you know just make my property value go down. In fact I called housingNot housing but uh code enforcement. Because, um, there was um, before they [the neighbors] closed th at carport, and they had all of this junk. You know, there was a refrigerator, there was an old sofa. You know, just sitting out there. When I would drive up in my driveway this is the first thing that I would see. And I thought, you know, this is not the way its supposed to be. So Im one of those people that I try to keep things going. I called housing code on them. And I will do that. Ive already called housing code on a lo t of people. And especially this house right back here. I dont unde rstand how people could live ri ght across the street from them. The yard is all grown up.
117 I quote this interviewees response at length here because she clearly c onnects aesthetics with neighborhood decline, low-income renters, and property values. For instance, she connects the physical disorder of properties to people being moved into the neighborhood (presumably through the Section 8 progr am) without any sp ecial instructions about neighborhood expectations; in th is way, the homeowner links disorderly aesthetics with lowincome housing and associated behaviors. Th e connection between low-income renters and neighborhood decline becomes clear in her descri ption of the aesthetic disorder threatening the real estate valuation of properties belonging to middle-class people who have worked so hard all these years. Her recourse is to em ploy code enforcement to restore order to these neighborhood spaces (and maintain the value of her home). Yards were also a constant theme in GCC meetings, often directed to code enforcement as well, although residents were disappointed with the limits of what code enforcement could accomplish. John considered Hillsborough County code to be weaker or in his words, to have less teeththan City of Tampa code. For instance, in the Greenwood area, which falls under Hillsborough C ounty jurisdiction, as long as a car has air in all four tires, it is not br eaking the municipal code. In c ontrast, the City of Tampa code defines an inoperative vehicle (which it is i llegal to have visibly on ones property) as a vehicle which is in a state of disrepair and in capable of being moved under its own power, or a vehicle which fails to meet the minimum re quirements necessary for lawful operation of a motor vehicle on the streets and highways of the state, including a valid license plate properly placed on the vehicle (Sec. 19-3). Also, unless grass is higher than eighteen
118 inches, a property owner cannot be cited by code enforcement. According to the City of Tampas code, grass and weeds can be no higher than one foot (Sec.22.01). Hanging Out in Public Spaces Middle-class homeowners also often view people sitting, standing, or socializing outside as engaging in in appropriate and disorderly behavior This pattern of behavior is associated with public housing and other low cost dwellings that may lack air conditioning or adequate indoor spaceas well as with households that cannot afford to run air conditioning. The opposition by middle-class homeowners is inte resting because one of the design features of New Urbanist developments is to promote social interaction by in cluding front porches close to sidewalks so that those on porche s will get to know pa ssersby (Duany, PlaterZyberk, and Speck 2001). It seems to be particular uses of space by particular individuals, rather than the mere presence of people outside their homes, that is viewed as disorderly. Following the broken windows theory closely, the homeowner quot ed above also took i ssue with neighbors drinking beers and socializing outside. She described this disorderly behavior in the following way: Sometimes, especially on the weekend, you re coming into this area and you got people sitting all under the trees. I really have a problem with that, you know. Hot as it is, why would you want to sit under a tr ee and drink beer? Wouldnt it be more comfortable to be inside with the AC a nd, you know, with your friends, if thats what you want to do? Why do you have to sit, and you know, every Tom, Dick and Harry that comes byexcuse my expressionthey want to stop and chit-chat, you know. Sometimes the traffic is even held up there. Yeah, that is a problem. It seems that the public consumption of alc ohol (the authors of the broken windows theory propose that alcohol bottles should be conceale d in paper bags in order to promote order)42 is 42 Some HOPE VI developments do not allow alcohol cons umption in public spaces (B rophy and Smith 1997).
119 only a small part of this homeow ners perception of disorderly be havior. It is also the chitchat with every Tom, Dick and Harry that co mes by that seems to violate her middle-class sensibilities. An African American male homeowner c onsidered changes in the neighborhoodfor better and worseby whether or not there were groups of people hanging out. In describing Ashton Heights, he stated that at first they s eemed like they were nic e and clean but after a while that little crowd st art hanging around there. Similarly, with Tracy Dix, he remembered the complex as not being that bad but that the little crowd was over there, too. About the Apartments at Plantation Homes, he had noted recent improvements, although it used to have a lot of problems. He elaborated that before the recent improvements, You know when you just go around the street, I mean youd see all the little homeboys out there. And you know theyre doing something. By using the racialized term homeboys, this homeowner is clearly portraying young African American males as a source of neighborhood problems. A couple of female homeowners similarly de scribed their discomfort with people or young men loitering outside of neighborhood st ores. One related the following: Well, so theres been a population explosi on around here and it just makes me a little uneasy to go into a place where there are people loitering around outside. Cause Im usually by myself. So I dont want to go in to places where I f eel uncomfortable. Another specifically described the loiterers as young males: I dont like when we got to the store, th eres always a bunch of young guys. I dont like that but it dont bother me or anything. I just dont like that idea of, I dont care if you go there at 12:00 in the afternoon or 12:00 at night, 30 or 40 people just crowded up there. I wouldnt have them th ere if I owned that store, just standing around there not that Im really afraid but you dont know what may happen. I dont know, the concept of them ju st standing there. I cant see a concept in their just standing around, a bunch of pe ople just standing around.
120 Again, the presence of teenagers gathering in front of the corner store is specifically described in Wilson and Kellys (1982) description of a de clining neighborhood. However, in this particular case, both interviewees we re white women, and ther e could be a raced and gendered dimension to their perceptions about this use of public space. It seems that there is a clear, although unstated, fear of young black males in these narratives. Unattended/Unruly Children As suggested by the broken windows theor y, rowdy teenagers can signal disorder to residents. For instance, in response to a question about problems in the neighborhood, one interviewees daughter responded: Kid s running around. Nobodys watching them. Theyre like twelve years old, theyre up at 2:00 in the morning walking around in groups. Theyre KIDS and Im wondering w hy theyre walking around. Similarly, a female homeowner who lives on 20th Street, when asked about what she would like to see changed in the neighborhood, named crime and the kids hanging in the store and the park all day long. (this statement also relates to hanging out as a sign of social disorder). Aside from the statement about kids wa lking around at 2:00 in the morning, the presence of young people in public places withou t their parents would not necessarily seem to indicate disorder. For instance, New Ur banist designers and architects envision neighborhoods where children ride their bikes to the town squa re and can walk to and from school (Duany, Plater-Zyberk, and Speck 2001). Ho wever, unattended kids are also blamed for much of the criminal activity.
121 James, who initiated the nui sance abatement order in ad dition to other neighborhood activist activities, made numerous negative references to Greenwood teenagers in his interview. In relating what motivated him to begin working toward having Ashton Heights declared a public nuisance, James described an incident where several teenage boys from Harbor Pointe and Ashton Heights busted through the front door of a neighbors home while, as James tells it, the man and his son and niece were watching a Disney video. He then convinced one of the residential boards at Bradford Park to purchase a night vision video camera and, as mentioned in Chapter 4, se cretly video taped the late-night activity occurring at Ashton Heights. James sees teenagers as responsible for most of the troublesome activities occurring in the neighborhood, including those he caught on tape. While this them came up repeatedly during his interview but is best summed up in the following statement, made by James in res ponse to a question about why he thought the neighborhood had declined since the Tracy Dix complex was condemned: The fewer kids, the fewer teenagers youve got the less problems youve got. And if you look at the video tapes Ive got, most of the crime is committed by the kids, by the teenagers, nothing to do and theyre just hanging out, doing drugs, selling drugs, buying drugs, using drugs, drinking, fighting. Unattended kids and their association with criminal activity were also a constant theme in GCC meetings. Homeowners and repres entatives of the Sheriffs Deparment talked about the increase in crime when school was not in session. Those arrested for auto and resident burglaries were often re ported in GCC meetings to be juveniles. There was also a constant issue with kids (suspected of living in Harbor Pointe or As hton Heights) throwing rocks and other projectiles at cars entering Bradford Parkor over the fence dividing the apartment complexes from Bradford Park. A nother kid related concer n was that kids had
122 begun hanging out at the bus stop after school. HCSD officers were addressing this issue by making sure kids go home after being dropped o ff. One homeowner made a telling comment related to this issue, that it would be nice to see some parents waiting at the bus stop for their children. Family Fun Day is an annual event held each summer, sponsored by the HCSD, as a community policing strategy for targeting kids in the neighbo rhood. This all day event is held at the recreation center and includes food, games, activities, a nd prizes. The idea is that families will develop positive relationships with participating neighborhood institutions and services. The event is usually a ttended by more than 400 people. Homeowners concern with unattended child ren as disorderly is connected to stereotypes about low-income parentsas well as the realities of their lives. There are more children who live in the apartm ent complexes than in other areas of the neighborhoodand the apartment complexes are known to house low-income families. Low-income families usually cannot afford organized after school activities, and there are few recreational resources for youth in the neighborhood. Additi onally, many parents (often single mothers) are at work when their childre n get home from school and ma y consider their children at twelve years old to be old enough to take care of themselves until they get home from work. I observed this occurring with some of the resi dents at Harbor Pointe In one case a single mother called the leasing office to ask me to meet a phone technician at her apartment because of the companys policy that someone at least eighteen years old be present during the service call. Apparently when technician arrived at her apartment and found several children at homenone over the age of twelvehe called the mother while she was at work.
123 Since her apartment was close to the leasing office, I was able to meet the phone technician at her apartment. Low-Income Housing Although homeowners concerns with yards, people hanging out in public places, and unattended/unruly childre n are all connected to homeowners concerns with low-income renters, homeowners also specifically discu ssed low-income housing itself as a sign of decline and disorder. Wilson and Kelling (1982) do not name low-income housing in their description of a disorderly ne ighborhood, but it might be implie d. It likely has more to do with a concern over property values, howev er. Middle-class opposition to low-income housing is well documented, and there is some evidence that in transitional neighborhoods, close proximity to Section 8 rentalsespecially when there is a clustering of Section 8 rentalscan have a detrimental effect on prope rty values (Galster, Tatian, and Smith 1999). However, this is likely because many Secti on 8 rentals are not in good physical condition (not simply because they are inhabi ted by subsidized voucher holders). James, a homeowner in his 50s mentioned pr eviously in terms of his role in the nuisance abatement order, lives in the gate d Bradford Park Condominiums and views the low-income apartment complexes outside the gates as a threat to the value of his property. He bought his condominium over twenty years ago and provided a descrip tive account of the neighborhoods decline: At that time  it was $80,000 and it was a good buy. We love it. We like the architecture and weve got a fireplace. A nd we liked it and looked at other places along the river, if you go down Fowler wher e River Hills Drive is, the red roofed places there, they were selling for the same prices that these were. Well theyre now worth $260,000, $300,000 plus, and Ill be lucky right now if I can sell this place for $95,000. Ive had realtors in here and if this place was sitting acr oss the river Id get $260,000 for it. Its all relate d to the outside neighborhood.
124 James believes that the reason his investment has not paid off, unlike those bought on the other side of the river, has much to do with the condition of the nearby apartment complexes. When James moved to the neighborhood, these co mplexes were just over ten years old and housed primarily college students. He remember ed having gone to fraternity parties at the clubhouse at Harbor Pointe when he was in collegea few years prior to buying his condo. In the letters that James wrote to the two comp lexes owners, warning them of his plans to have them declared a nuisance (which I will disc uss in greater depth later in this chapter), James emphasized the monetary loss to neighbo rhood homeowners as a result of the neglect of the properties and the introdu ction of Section 8 renters: I said this is what Im going to do. Firs t, Im going to have you declared a nuisance and then Im going to file civil suit agains t you for the damage to our property values which I calculate to be about $30 million. Th ats a very conservative estimate and it would not be a hard case to prove because weve had several people who own their units or rent their units and the realtors would come in he re to show their units and theyd see that neighborhood a nd theyd turn around and leave before they ever came through the door. There was a time before I st arted being active we would have been lucky to get $60,000 for this unit. When asked about his knowledge and opinion of the Section 8 program, James stated that, Basically the way I see Section 8 is my tax dol lars are being used to destroy my property value. Right now Uncle Sam owes me about $200,000. A homeowner who also lives in Bradford Park Condominiums and works as a high school guidance counselor discussed what an eyesore one of the apartment complexes adjacent to Bradford Park on the river is:
125 If you canoe, you know so much of Bradford Park looks beautiful, and private homes and then you get crappy looking Ashton Height s. Literally there is like garbage, its really awful. When I drove in there, bot h apartments, to give my card, and then I took a stack of enrollment forms, you know so they can enroll kids, I wanted out of Ashton Heights as fast as I could get out of there. Similarly, John refers to this ar ea as a cancer in the neighborhood. Just the physical presence of apartment complexesor rentersthemselves seems to signal disorder to homeowners. For instan ce, GCC meetings in 2003, several homeowners complained about a house that seemed to be a rooming house because a number of adults lived there. The code enforcement officer sa id that he had looked into the situation and because they claimed to live as a family it wa s allowable. Similarl y, a developer recently bought property in the neighborhood and homeowners feared that more apartments would be introduced to the neighb orhood; the neighborhood plan drafted by GCC members specifically states that they will not support any new apartment complexes. The low-income apartment complexes are seen as the source of crime as well. In an interview with a homeowner on 20th Street di scussed above, regarding unattended kids hanging out in public places, th e womans daughter suggested that the apartment complexes house the criminal offendersunattended children: Thats usually where the kids live at and they just walk up and down the street, back and forth from the store. Unattended. Later in the interview, the woman herself also made this connection: t he people that commit the crime is the same kids that live in Harbor Pointe or Ashton Heights. Spatial Strategies for Enforcing Social Order Greenwood homeowners can be seen to follow the binary of social order and disorder described by Chesluk (2004) as they disc uss their neighborhood and its problems. Along with broken windows, low-income housing and it s renters get sorted into the disorder
126 category, while middle-class homeowners are assume d to represent order. Pierre Bourdieu (1984) examines how ones taste (for instance, aesthetic sensibilities) has much to do with ones socioeconomic class backgroundand judgment s of taste have to do with maintaining class distinctions. This seems to be wh at is occurring in th e Greenwood neighborhood. Middle-class homeowners perceptio ns of social disorder are associated with low-income renters. Concerns about signs of disorder are also concerns about changes in the socioeconomic demographics of the neighborhood. Greenwood homeowners attempt to re-insta te their middle-class version of social order by governing neighborhood spa ces. Homeowners attempt to monitor, control, contain, excise, and prevent low-income housing and it s residents through techniques of spatial governmentality. In this section of the chap ter, I specifically examine how this occurs through gating and fencing, nuisance abatement, monitoring by private security companies, attempts to weed out low-income renters and screen so that only th e deserving poor are permitted to reside in the neighborhood, a nd controlling new development in the neighborhood. Gating and Fencing It is clear from my research in the neighborhood that many Greenwood homeowners felt invaded by low-income renterswhich was of ten depicted as a spa tial invasion. This is especially evident in Jamess account of neighborhood decline and why he decided to become active in these issues. Jamess interv iew was filled with tropes of fortification against invasion. He described his struggle against the low-income renters outside the complexs gates who try to bust in, clim b over, and otherwise transgress the physical (and social) boundaries he worked so hard to pu t in place. He emphasized the importance of
127 the perimeter being controlled so that th e condominium complex can delineate itself from the two apartment complexes. In anot her part of the interview, James discussed controlling the crap that comes in here (mean ing coming into the condominium complex). James and others pinpoint the 1994 closing of the Tracy Dix public housing complex in the neighborhood as a turning point for th e worse in the neighborhood. Public housing residents were relocated with Section 8 vouchersmany to Harbor Pointe and Ashton Heights, which had just begun accepting vouchers. Although many of these same residents had previously lived in the neighborhood, Tracy Dix was located on the outskirts, whereas Harbor Pointe and Ashton Heights are locate d in a central area of the neighborhood, near many middle-class homes. James described what it was like to live in Bradford Park after these relocations; at this time, the complex was surrounded by a concrete block wall and had a guard shack monitored by a security guard: After the Tracy Dix closed down you would co me home at 10:00 at night and thered be 200 people in the street, just partyi ng in the street, milling around We had kids coming in there, 40, 50 at time, invading the swimming pools, breaking into cars, the guards were afraid to come out of the guard shack. James further described th e disorder as follows: You would sit here and, on a sunny afte rnoon, and you would see a mob of about forty people. Some adults, ki ds, just come out here, and they would line, they would line the entire shoreline Fishing. And th ey would throw their garbage down and it was just disgusting and so we just got to where Id see them, Id call the police and wed (lowers voice) haul their ass out of here. AS: So how did they get in? James: Over the walls They would climb over the walls. I mean you cant stop them. Theyre going to get in. All you can do is when you do catch them is have them, you know, trespassed and if they come back you can have them arrested. James is referring to having the Sheriffs De partment issue a trespass notice to these apartment complex residents, which would m ean that they are legally banned from the
128 property. Once a trespass notice has been issu ed, if they are caught on the property again, they can be arrested. According to James, this spatial invasion lead to a significant demographic shift in the neighborhood; white flight also occurred in the neighborhood at this time. As noted in Chapter Four, census statistics confirm such a demographic shift in terms of the racial composition of the neighborhood, which has be come increasingly African American. However, the poverty rate barely changed between 1990 and 2000. About nine years ago, James became pres ident of the board of the condominium complexs main residential association.43 He claims that he had a plan to improve the complex, which included persuading the condomini um complex to add a security gate at its entrance and exit where before it had only the guard shack. The swimming pools were also secured at this time. Under Jamess leadersh ip, several years ago an additional fence was added near the complexs exit to prevent outside rs from sneaking in when cars exited. The existing walls separating the condominium complex from the apartment complexes were made higher through the addition of a trellis and bougainville a (since the county would not allow the complex to actually build the wall higher). While there already was a wall separating Bradford Park from Harbor Poin te, it wasnt high enough to prevent someone from climbing over it, so Bradford Park resident s planned to build the wall higher. When the county did not approve the action, Bradford Pa rk erected a trellis and planted bougainvillea (which is very dense and thorny) to grow be tween their community a nd Harbor Pointe and Ashton Heights. 43 James no longer has this position. There was eventua lly some organized opposition among his neighbors to his approachlargely because of the major expenditures (for instance, for the gate) made while he was president.
129 James explained the importance of these changes in the following way: If youre going to control your neighborhood the first thing you ve got to do is control the perimeter. You have to control the people coming onto your property because theyll come in and create problems so you have to stop that. He repeated his strategy several ti mes in the interview, often using the same wording. James also believes that the gate s (which cost $100,000) added around $3 million to the value of the Bradford Park Condominiums. Gating and fencing are very clear forms of spatial governmentality in this context. Gated communities have been theorized as ne w forms of urban segregation, effectively separating the middleto upper-class from those with few economic resourcesoften citizens of color (Blakely and Snyder 1997; Caldeira 1999, 2000; Davis 1990; Lang and Danielson 1997; Low 2001, 2003). In this way, ho meowners attempt to gain control over what they perceive as a detrimental influx of low-income renters by imposing a middle-class version of social order on neighborhood spaces Through the imposition of gates and fences, homeowners create physical ba rriers where social ones alread y exist. In these ways, homeowners work to order neighborhood spaces rather than attempting to analyze and address larger political economic issues such as middle-class downward mobility (see for instance, Ehrenreich 2005). Nuisance Abatement Once James had completed his project of gating Bradford Park, he turned his attention to improving the neighbor hood outside of the gates. James captured what appeared to be drug deals and some rowdy behavior on video tape, and when two relevant felony arrests occurred on the property, he and a num ber of other neighbors took the case to the Nuisance Abatement Board where he showed s how an edited compilation of the footage he
130 had collected. The board decided in favor of James and declared Ashton Heights a nuisance in August of 2002. According to John, this was only the second or third case the board had ever heard. This action was accomplishe d in collaboration with the GCC. The whole concept of nuisance abatem ent is another example of spatial governmentality, which blames and targets a space rather than individuals for criminal activities. In addition to fining the property ow ner, changes had to be made to the physical space that was thought to make the apartment co mplex saferand which also make it closer to the middle-class version of social order. These changes are in keeping with Oscar Newmans concept of defensible space (1972 ) popularized in the 1970s as a model of crime prevention through architecture and de sign. Among his design recommendations are territorially defining space in such a way as to imply restriction and promoting surveillance through architecture. These crim e-prevention strategies have obviously influenced the gated communities trend. Included in the nuisance abatement order was limiting access to the complex through fences and gates, tightening the applicant sc reening process, hiri ng a private security company to maintain order, and according to two neighborhood activis ts, evicting a number of residents with criminal reco rds. As noted in Chapter 4, the GCC also pressured Harbor Pointe to add a fence to its property as well. These new fences actually served to keep residents out of the street in front of Bradford Park as well. I heard several Bradford Park residents express satisfaction with the improvement that the fence at Ashton Heights has made, making driving down Beckin Drive to Bradford Park much easier. However, these fences were also about aesthetics.
131 Private Security Private Security Services (PSS) A key mechanism of spatial governmental ity in Greenwood, associated with the Nuisance Abatement Order, is the private securi ty company Private Security Services (PSS), which was hired on at Ashton Heights as part of the requirements for compliance with the nuisance abatement order. Harbor Pointe also employed PSS for extended periods of time. Founded in 1992, PSS is a Florida-based privat e security company. While one employee related to me that she remembers PSSs early beginnings in the CEOs kitchen, according to its representatives the business has grown consider ably in recent yearsas private security in general has grown as an industry. PSS offers numerous services, among them: protection of people and property in escalated risk environments; long-term reclamation and rehabilitation of high-crime communities; and protection of hi gh-risk facilities with sensitive process operations (companys website). PSSs work occurs both at the operations a nd dispatch center in Clearwater and in the field on residential and commercial proper ties. The dispatch center takes calls from residents and alerts PSS officers of problems they need to address. In the field, PSS officers are either foot officersthose without patrol vehiclesor patrol officersthose with patrol vehicles. Patrol offi cers, with whom I was able to conduct some participant observation, are not only equipped with a black law enforcement style of uniform, they are also issued a gun, a radio, and a cell phone that foot officers have. They also have fully outfitted cars with laptop computers enabli ng them to access the Internet and various databases. To become a patrol officer, one mu st first serve time as an officer on foot, and both work together on properties. Based on my observations, officers in the field conduct a range of activitiesfrom reporting an overflo wing dumpster to dealing with a domestic
132 dispute. PSS officers are required to submit incident reports each time they workthese can be community contacts (any interacti onpositive or negative with a person on the property), prevention activities ( like noting that a light is out), and quali ty of life issues (reporting that a fuse box is broken, for example), among others. PSS distinguishes its approach to security fr om others through its central philosophy, the Community and Character Based Protection Initiative (CCBPI), which is characterized largely by taking preventive measuresalthough it ad dresses crisis situations as well (i.e., an apartment complex overrun with gang activity). As stated in a PSS brochure, CCBPI is based on the philosophy that by build ing relationships with residents, we can establish trust, confidence, and organi zation in the community. As history has proven, criminals rely upon di sorganization and fear in order to victimize the community. By restoring order and unity, we deny criminals of the conditions [sic] they need to operate successfully (nd). This is very much a community policing approach, although PSS offi cers do not have the authority of police officers. For instance, there is a focus on crime prevention and risk management through the imposition of spatial order. I will discuss several ways that CCBPI is implemented in the description that followsnamely through controlling the physical space of a property, instituti ng community rules that closely follow the broken windows philosophy, the implementation of STOP Operati ons, constant surveillance, and building relationships with residents. In a brochure for their company, PSS lists se veral standard community rules that they ask residents to follow: no loitering in co mmon areas; no open alcoho lic containers; no loud music; no gang paraphernalia. These rules s eem to be influenced by the broken windows theory as they clearly focus on visible signs of disorder. Resi dents who engage in disorderly
133 behavior are provided with a written report, a copy of wh ich is given to the property manager. Residents are then told that after several write-ups they can /will be evicted. Of course, this requires the c ooperation of the property ma nagement, which PSS officers sometimes find to be slow to act. PSSs Symmetry Target Oriented Patrolling (STOP) Operations approach is one of the strategies utilized through PSSs CCBPI appro ach. STOP Operations explicitly draws on the Chicago School of Human Ecology, which according to the PSS brochure, acknowledges that the key to making long-term reductions in crime is rehabili tation and stabilization of the afflicted community (STOP Operations brochure nd). STOP operations attempts to bring symmetry (organization) back to the community by systematically targeting visible criminal activity, nuisance problems, and quality of life issues. STOP operations reclaim the community from predatory elements and la y the foundation for longterm growth (STOP Operations brochure, nd). These goals ar e accomplished by both proactive intervention and preventative interaction. Included in proactiv e intervention are t actics to pressure criminals to abandon their activiti es or leave the environment (STOP Operations brochure, nd)for instance, stopping and interviewing pe ople entering the community and working with law enforcement agencies to remove criminals from the property. Preventive interaction involves the follo wing objectives: to improve th e communitys perspective of public safety, re-establish a sense of personal security, and raise the communitys level of self-esteem (STOP Operations brochure, nd). PSS officers accomplish most of their goals through constant su rveillance of the properties that they patrol. In order to be able to submit th ese reportsand in keeping with PSSs philosophy of crime preventionpatrol officer s must constantly be on the lookout for
134 suspicious44 looking persons and situations. They basically provide surveillance for property management and also law enforcem ent. PSS patrol officers issue noise violationswhich PSS can do without persona lly confronting a residentand trespass noticeswhen they stop a person and he/she doe s not live in the complex and cannot prove that he/she is a guest of a re sident; while three noise violatio ns can result in an eviction by management, trespassing after receiving a trespass notice can result in an arrest. However, this requires the presence of a law enforcemen t officer to issue the trespass notice; a PSS officer will call for back-up from the Sheriffs Department, but this is not always effective.45 PSS also encourages residents to report on each other by calli ng a confidential line at PSS. Forming relationships with residents are also central to the work of a PSS officer. According to the CCBPI philosophy, PSSs primar y approach to crime prevention is to cultivate relationships first w ith residentsusually first cont acts are with childrenand then facilitate relationships among residents. Base d on this philosophy, at each property there are a requisite number of community contacts, which officers report by entering these contacts into a database they access on their laptops. These can be positive contactssaying hello to a resident walking a dogor they can be related to violations (of the law, of the lease, etc.). I was surprised and impressed at how many residents the officers recognized often by name and able to provide some biogr aphical information. PSS officers also build relationships in the larger communityf or instance, by working with neighborhood organizations like the GCC. 44 A PSS officer used this term. 45 CIS officers told me that they thought the Sheriffs department was often too overburdened to respond to these calls.
135 PSSs approach is primarily to alter and control the physical space that they are hired to patrol. By working toward spatial order (fre e of disorderly graffiti, public drinking, etc.), it is assumed that social order will be achie ved. For instance, in the STOP Operations brochure quoted above, it is stated that through PSS activities, it is hoped that criminals will stop their activities or leave the environment. A different private security company was hired at Harbor Pointe, after R obert Jackson had become the property owner. Their services were cheaper than those provided by PSS, and they did not seem to have as strong a pres ence in the complex. They seemed to focus primarily on citing residents who did not have current license plates on their cars; after a short period of time they would have the cars towed. This again reflects a focus on physical disorder rather than crime. Certainly the petty crime incidents committed by employees and former employees of Harbor Pointe would not be addressed through these tactics. Weeding Out James recipe for how to control ones property advocates that after controlling the perimeter (through gates, for instance) you w eed out from within. Although this is Jamess personal perspective, it is an eff ective metaphor for a strategy enacted by GCC members to restore social order to th e Greenwood neighborhoodby having disorderly people and places entirely removed from the neighborhood. Evictions are one way to remove disorderly people from the neighborhood space. Harbor Pointe and Ashton Heights regularly repo rted on recent evictions at GCC meetings, to prove that these spaces were, indeed, changi ng. Much of the discourse generated around these issues concerned removing or weeding ou t the bad boys, bad apples or bad
136 seeds46 from the properties thr ough evictions. When I first began attending these community meetings, I was a bit stunned (and confused) when a representative from each complex stood up and bragged about how low th e complexs occupancy rate was. For instance, in October of 2003, Ashton Heights claimed a 57% occupancy rate, and Harbor Pointes manager reported the complex to be 70% occupied in November of 2003. Under new ownership, Harbor Pointe filed over 20 ev ictions in a month, and the manager was proud to report this to the areas hom eowners. It should be noted th at evictees at Harbor Pointe were very rarely Section 8 voucher holderswh o would have also lost their vouchers, in addition to their apartments, through this process. Nuisance abatement and PSS were thought to help with the eviction process. Another aspect of the eviction process is making sure that individuals and families evicted from one complex are not approved to move into another complex in the same neighborhood. Although most apartment complexe s conduct extensive credit checks, when an eviction is pending it will not likely show up on a credit report and a savvy applicant will figure out a way to cover up his/he r current address so that the re ntal history at a particular complex is not looked into. To address this issue, a community resource officer at the Sheriffs Department sub-sta tion in Greenwood requests that all pending evictions be reported to her so that she can circulate an ema il with the names of these potential applicants to all of the area apartment co mplexes. When complexes do provide this information, it seems to be effective. However, most comp lexes are incredibly bus y dealing with other issues and do not regularly send out lists of their pending evictions. 46 These are terms used by homeowners and complex managers during GCC meetings.
137 Another way that weeding out is accomp lished is through the issuing of trespass notices. If a person is deemed to be engaged in disorderly behavior and does not formally live on the property, a trespass wa rning can be issued by a law enforcement officer; if the person is found to be on the property again an o fficer can arrest the person for trespassing. The activism involving having the Tracy Dix complex demolished can also be seen as weeding out. Removing the physical struct ure from the neighborhood was a strategy for removing problems like drug activity and prost itutionwith which, as discussed in Chapter 4, the empty structure was associatedfrom the neighborhood. Several homeowners also expressed an inte rest in having the Harbor Pointe and Ashton Heights apartment complexes bulldozed. For instance, James related that at a GCC meeting in 2003, the owner of Harbor Pointe at the time, Felix, expressed an interest in bulldozing Harbor Pointe and bui lding a three story luxury apartm ent, which was kind of my plan anyway because what I was in the pro cess of doing is having both places declared a nuisance and at that point appr oaching them about The dirts more valuable than what youve got on there. Recently, a number of Greenwood apartmen t complexesseveral of which received HOPE VI relocatees in 2000, in cluding Harbor Pointe and Ashton Heightshave stopped accepting Section 8. I heard from my former Harbor Pointe co-w orkers that it was because too much effort was required to ensure that the apartments passed the required physical inspections. However, not knowing if this was th e case for all of the areas complexes, this could be another example of Section 8 renter s being moved out of a number of community spaces as a response to the methods used by the GCC to control neighborhood space.
138 These examples of activist homeowners atte mpting to weed out low-income renters is very similar to the activist approach observed by Maskovsky ( 2001) in Philadelphias Kensington neighborhood. With the goal of promoting economic growth through the sanitization of the landscape of its bad qualities (Maskovsky 2001:225), an activist group organized to eliminate a city -funded needle exchange drop-in center from the neighborhood. Maskovsky writes that the activis t group forged a politics in wh ich the removal of injection drug users is equivalent to the removal of abandoned cars, dilapidated housing and other symptoms of blight (2001:224). Screening Following Jamess militaristic strategy for social control, after weeding out, a property has to screen the tenants they subsequen tly let in. In a larger sense, this spatial strategy for social order ope rates in numerous ways in the Greenwood neighborhoodfor instance, controlling who is appr oved to rent apartments and also what new developments are permitted in the neighborhood. In GCC meetings, representatives from ap artment complexes regularly reported on their screening processes and, in general, on the types of resi dents they were moving into their complexes. Right after Pete and Sam bought the complex, they began trying to figure out a way to market to senior citizens. In a GCC meeting, the propert y manager even stated that although they technically couldnt show preference to one group of people over another, they were hoping to target older renters th rough marketing. Pete and Sam even offered a senior discount for a while, before they realized this might be consider ed discriminatory. As I discussed in Chapter Five, Pete and Sam also did make the screeni ng process more rigorous for renters in terms of credit and criminal background requirements.
139 After owning the property for a number of months Pete and Sam claimed that there was a new demographic represented in th e complex. In the Ma rch 2005 GCC meeting, John said that in addition to physical change s on the property there seemed to be a much better group at the bus stop in front of Harbor Pointmore human, friendlier. Pete added that they have jobs. I believe Pete and Sam were referring more to an increase in respectable residents and ther ein to a certain extent a higher socioeconomic class. Controlling New Development As president of the GCC, Johns central st rategy for enforcing social order in the neighborhood has been attempting to contro l new developments. Vacant lots, which residents seem to recognize as liminal spaces, the development of which could significantly alter the character of the neighborhood, are a major concern for Greenwood homeowners. John and others perceive the particular developm ent of these spaces as determining the future of their neighborhood. Terrace Estates is a development of modest single-family homes originally proposed around four years ago. Area hom eowners protested the propos ed density of the planned single-family homes and managed successfully to reduce the number of houses built from 54 to 32. However, there remained problems with drainage and the type of fence that was constructed. A representative from the develo pment presented and fielded questions at a GCC meeting. A resident and GCC regular who lived near th e development followed up and made sure that the development took down its wooden fence and repl aced it with a PVC fence as per code requirements.
140 Another very small development was propos ed nearby soon after Terrace Estates was approved (though by a different developer). The GCC was able to get the number of houses reduced from six to four, which John describe d in a GCC meeting as more liveable. The vacant lot on which Tracy Dix was form erly located is a significant area of concern for homeowners as it remains ow ned by the Tampa Housing Authority (THA), which means some form of low-income hous ing may be developed therealthough funding for this type of housing development has been cu t drastically. The lot has been vacant since the complex was torn down in 1999, and th ere have been no plans announced for the property. The GCC had the Director of the THA speak at a GCC meeting. He told the concerned homeowners that there were no curre nt plans for the propert y but emphasized that the land would be used to house low-income famili es. However, he maintained that there is a difference between affordable housing and l ow-income housing. I gathered that he was referring to the mixed income model for housing low-income families, although he did not elaborate on this point. There is another vacant area near Bay Village for which there seems to be no plans, where an apartment complex was reportedly demolished around the same time that Tracy Dix was torn down. John conducted research in to the situation and found that the property had substantial tax liens agains t it by the County for much more than the property is worth and unless the property was sold soon, the Count y would take ownership. Homeowners fear that this lot might then be deve loped for low-income housing. Recently there has been a pressing issue regarding about ten acres of undeveloped land behind Plantation Homes. A developer was attempting to get the property rezoned for multi-family housingeither condominiums or apartmentsand Greenwood homeowners
141 see a huge difference between the two. Even though condominium owners can rent their units, condominiums are primarily associated with ownership. Apartment complexes, on the other hand, are perceived as low-income hous ing, even though many apartment complexes cater to a middle-class clientel e. The GCC organized to fight the development, which could potentially bring in more low-income housing. John kept neighbors informed about how to navigate the bureaucratic proce ss involved in zoning hearings. At the zoning hearing on July 18, 2006, the developer presented hi s case, which relied heavily upon his observations that a multi-fam ily housing development was consistent with existing development in the area. However, a major issue was that the development would have to be accessed by a 30-foot wide lane o ff of 20th Street (which already has a lot of traffic), and code requires such a road to be 50-feet wide, so the developer was (separate from the zoning hearing) seeking an excepti on. One resident spoke in favor of the development because his family had sold the developer the property with the understanding that the 30-foot access road would be sufficien t. Then five residents spoke against the proposal. Although they made separate argumen ts, all five brought up the impending threat of additional low-income housing in th e neighborhoodand the connection between lowincome apartments, crime, and the inability of county agencies to handle already existing problems. John and another GCC regular rais ed the issue of the neighborhood plan the GCC had developed, which emphasizes a focus on single-family developments rather than multifamily ones. John stated that several apartmen t complexes in the immediate area had already led to an elevated density of the neighborhood due to the lack of managerial oversight. Another important point he ma de was that the rezoning reque st was motivated strictly by profit. John claimed the developer had been cl ear that his purpose was the development of
142 the dirt and once it was rezoned he would se ll the property (which is why he couldnt commit to either condominiums or apartments). Johns wife raised the issue that even though such a development may appear compatible, the majority of the neighborhood is made up of single-family homes. The rezoning petition went before the County Commission a second time on April 24, 2007, and was rejected because of the potential strain on the commun ity if the developer chose to introduce additional rent al units into the community. Zoning is clearly a mechanism of spatia l governmentality. Constance Perin has examined the development of zoning to replace the common law of nuisance47so that zoning can be seen to function as a system of nuisance prevention (1977:154). Rather than eliminating poverty (and the need for low-in come housing), for instance, zoning in many ways protects particular spaces from the presence of low-income renters.48 Homeowner Social Networks Merry (1993) has observed that many middl e-class homeowners value privacy over getting to know their neighbors. Because of the lack of social networks that exist among middle-class homeowners, social control then occurs through indirect, formal means rather than through direct confrontation and/or inform al enforcement of soci al expectations (like gossiping). Greenwood homeowners largely follow this trendreporting that although they are friendly to neighbors (i.e., wavi ng and saying hello), they do not know many very well. 47 The common law of nuisance had been the main avenue of redress for mediating property owners disputes over the harm one might cause another (smoke, soot, noise, deprivations of light, or air, for example). Each complaint had to be heard case by case (Perin 1977:149). 48 Although not the case in Greenwood, historic designation often operates in the same way, preventing lowincome housing in a particular area (Zukin 1987).
143 Out of twenty homeowners inte rviewed, six know more than ten of their neighbors; nine are acquainted with five to ten of their neighbors; and five homeowners are on familiar terms with less than five of their ne ighbors. The socializing that does occur seems to be primarily with other middle-class homeowners, and onl y five homeowners reported knowing a HOPE VI relocatee. As Merry (1993) observes, these socializati on patterns influence norms for addressing social order. Greenwood homeowners, as describe d previously in the ch apter, tend to utilize indirect and formal methods of social contro l such as nuisance abatement orders and code enforcement. As was the case in the tran sitioning mixed income neighborhood observed by Merry, there is a considerable amount of social conflict in Greenwoodunlike in neighborhoods where there is more cla ss homogeneity and shared standards for neighborhood life (like in private neighborhoods).49 Despite the small government ideology associated with neo liberalism, middle-class homeo wners actually have come increasingly to rely on the government to intervene in these neighborhood conflictsfor instance through code enforcement, nuisance abatement, and an increased police presence. Political Economic Context Understanding the activism of Greenwood homeowners requires more than a common sense understanding of the situati onfor instance, simply criticizing the homeowners actions as misguided; in his ar ticle, The Other War At Home, Maskovsky (2001) makes this important poi nt in his analysis of nei ghborhood activism in Philadelphias Kensington neighborhood. Inst ead, the Greenwood homeowner activism described above must be understood as a response to neo liberal restructuri ng. Although Greenwood 49 Of course, this is not always the case.
144 homeowners are attempting to re turn to an idyllic version of their neighborhood that never actually existed, their own expe riences of economic decline in the current economy are very real concerns. Neoliberal soci al policies are also pa rt of this context. As public housing, among other social programs, has been effec tively privatized, private neighborhoods are in many ways bearing the burden. As menti oned previously, the Greenwood neighborhood received a very large number of Section 8 voucher holders through the implementation of HOPE VI. Many landlords benef it from the Section 8 program while neglecting their rental propertiesmeanwhile, homeowners see the neglect of these pr operties as the fault of the Section 8 voucher holders. However, rather than question these stru ctures and policies, Greenwood homeowners embrace neoliberal id eology and organize those they blame for their economic and social losses. Implications for Mixed Income Housing Policy Homeowners attempts to enforce social or der in Greenwood run counter to the goals of mixed income housing programs. Greenwood homeowners organize against the presence of low-income housing in their neighborhood. Hete rogeneity seems to be a signfificant part of homeowners percepti ons of disorder. What is of particular intere st to me is that these home owners can be seen to use neoliberal strategies of gove rnance to resist state-imposed neoliberal policyalthough very few homeowners connect the la rger federal policy of promo ting mixed-income housing with what is occurring in their neighborhood. In addition, even though the state is typically vilified in neoliberal discourses, middle-class homeowners rely increasingly on state interventions.
145 My research suggests that while federa l policies may push for mixing, race and class boundaries continue to be enforced through forms of spatial governmentality enacted by self-governing middle-class homeowners. Unlik e the examples of state-imposed spatial governmentality explored by Merry (2001) and Robins in his ar ticle, At the Limits of Spatial Governmentality: A Message From the Ti p of Africa (2002), in this context spatial governmentality is taken up by citizens resi sting state policiesand, in some ways, by manipulating the local state appara tus to serve th eir own ends. Amidst these neoliberal policies and ideas, homeowners make sense of their neighborhood as a middle-class space that reflec ts their own middle-class identities. And they view themselves as having gained their middle-class status and trappings by virtue of their individual efforts. The spatial threat to this status coincides with the very real economic threat of reductions in property values. On the one hand, homeowners support neoliberal ideology and on the other hand, they contest th e neoliberal model of mixed income housing enacted in their neighborhood. Interestingly, these broader political econom ic changes have perhaps resulted in a reorganization of political iden tities in that middle-class hom eowners in Greenwood are very much organizing across race (and gender) line sand that such organizing has proved effective in mobilizing action (though in this case, at the expense of those with similar economic concerns and not targeted at those in power). However, treating homeowners as unified by class in this neighborhood can be problematic. Although both white and African American homeowners are invested in the middle-class identity of the neighborhood, the majority of the low-income renters are Af rican American. And two of the leading neighborhood activists, those discussed in this paper, are white men. White homeowner
146 discourses on neighborhood problems and neighbor hood spaces also seem to be subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) racially coded and this issue begs analysis. Especially because the concern over low-income renters invading th e neighborhood occurred at a time when the percentage of African Americans increas ed but the economic constitution of the neighborhood remained relatively stable. Greenwood homeowners versions of social or der, which rely primarily on the broken windows approach, tend to exclude low-income renters. Homeowne r efforts to achieve social order therefore focus primarily on removing low-income renter fromor containing them withinneighborhood spaces. These activis t activities run counter to the goals of mixed income housing. While this chapter has focused on homeowners perspectives on social order in Greenwood, the following chapte r explores HOPE VI relocatees points of view.
147 Chapter Seven The Social and Spatial Practices of HOPE VI Relocatees The description of homeowner concerns about Greenwood in Chapter Six raises the question of how low-income renters perceive the neighborhood in comparison to the homeowners. I now turn to discussing the experiences and perspectives of those who actually live in the low-income apartment complexes believed by the homeowners to represent social disorder to Greenwood homeowners. Social Construction of Space Although the organization of space by societie s past and present has long been a subject of anthropological concern (Pellow 1996), there is a growing recognition of the importance of spatialized (Low 1999) appro aches to culture and society (Low and Lawrence-Zuniga 2003) and to theorizing the ur ban experience in particular (Low 1996). Setha Low writes about theorizing space and human experience, By spatialize I mean to locate, both physically and conceptually, social relations and social pr actice in social space (1999:111). Henri Lefebvres unders tanding of social space is useful here. He views all space as being socially constitutedthrough how a person understands, lives, and experiences a particular space (Lefebvres 2000) Setha Low, however, importantly distinguishes between the so cial production and social construction of space in the following way: The social production of space includes all those factorssocial, economic, ideological, and technologicalwhose intende d goal is the physical creation of the material setting The term social construction may then be conveniently reserved for
148 the phenomenological and symbolic experi ence of space as mediated by social processes such as exchange, conflict, and control (1999:112). I draw on Lows definition of the social construction of space in discussing HOPE VI relocatee perspectives on Greenwood. I also utilize Low and Denise Lawrence-Zunigas conception of contested spaces as geographic locations where confli cts in the form of opposition, confrontation, subversion, and/or resist ance engage actors whose social positions are defined by differential control of re sources and access to power (2003:18). Brett Williams Upscaling Downtown (1988), based on research in Elm Valley, a gentrifying Washington, D.C. ne ighborhood that is very diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, and class, illustrates the importance of space to understanding a contested neighborhood. For instance, white homeowners increasingly pu sh to have the neighborhood designated as historic and welcome new stores to the neighborhood, while the re ntersmany of whom are African Americansee these changes as the demise of their community. Perhaps most telling is how long-time renters perceive the spaces of their apartments as homes, although their house-owning neighbors consider renters to be transient tena nts who are not invested in their dwellings or neighborhoods. Similarly, while Elm Valley homeowners perceive black men loitering in the street as potentially dangerous, the men see themselves as making the neighborhood safer by keeping an eye on the st reet. Part of the different cultural constructions of space in Elm Valley may have to do with how renters and owners use neighborhood spaces differently. While renters walk the neighborhood, owners drive. Owners also seek entertainment and activities ou tside the community, rather than within the community like renters.
149 The Greenwood situation is very similar to Elm Valleys. Although homeowners and renters share the physical space of the Greenwood neighborhood, each group understands, lives, and experiences the neighborhood space in very different ways. Like homeowners, relocatees were certainly concer ned with what might be consider ed quality of life issues. However, relocateesand other rentersdefine these concerns in very different ways. While many homeowners focused on the very presence of low-income housing in their neighborhood as well as on other si gns of social disorder, the re locatees we interviewed were more concerned with their very immediate e nvironmentcrime and safety, respectfulness of the neighbors with whom they share space, th e convenience of the location, the quality of the housing unit, and closeness to family. HOPE VI relocatees also use and socially construct neighborhood spaces in very different ways. Defining the Neighborhood One primary way that HOPE VI relocatees construct space differently than Greenwood homeowners is that relocatees and other renters seem to define the neighborhood in which they live in immediate termsfor instance, as consisting primarily of the apartment complex in which they live, rather than in terms of the larger residential area. Unlike homeowners, when asked about their neighborho od, relocatees spoke primarily about their particular apartment complexes. In additi on, relocatees do not seem to recognize that middle-class homeowners perceive them as part of an invasion of low-income renters that they are battling. In fact, none of the re locatees interviewed was familiar with the Greenwood Community Council. As with Merrys Elm Valley example, the majorand somewhat obviouscritical difference between owners and renters diffe rent use of neighborhood space is that most
150 (75% of our sample) of the relocatees in Gr eenwood do not have cars. While they often catch rides with family and friends, most also utilize public transportation and walk to local stores. Similarly, while all homeowners inte rviewed had at least one car, a number of homeowners do walk in the neighborhood fo r exerciseone couple using it as an opportunity to pick up trash from the ground on a daily basis. Renters are then more likely to utilize the immediate neighborhood area to access goods and servic esthe local convenience stores, restaurants, beauty sa lons, park, or even the local schoolsand homeowners often drive instead to more distant locations. Related to HOPE VI relocatees social construction of the neighborhood, relocatees were primarily acquainted with others who lived in the same complex. This is likely due to the site plans of large complexes and is sim ilar to public housing in this way. In addition, however, only 14% of interviewed HOPE VI re locatees in Greenwood we re acquainted with neighbors who were not HOPE VI relocatees. While Greenwood homeowners viewed the neighorhood as a threatened middle-class community, HOPE VI relocatees viewed Greenwood in very different ways. In fact, many drew parallels between Greenw ood and public housing. Many relo catees indicated ways that public housing was actually a more desirable place to live. When asked to reflect on their experiences in the Greenwood neighborhood and to compare living in Greenwood to living in College Hill and Ponce de Leon, relocatees usually answered decisively that their new homes were better. But when they elaborat ed on these responses, relocatees experiences before and after relocation did not fit so nea tly into these categories of evaluation. For instance, when an elderly woman who lived in Plantation Homes was asked if her current housing situation was better than her housing situation in publ ic housing, she answered, Oh,
151 I like it better here I like it better here But th ings is getting kind of bad. I want to move out. By things getting kind of bad, the woman was referring to her apartment having been broken into on several different occasions. A nother elderly woman who lived at Plantation Homes responded that her experience in public housing (College H ill) was better, although the interior of her apartment in Plantation Ho mes was much nicer: But other than that I would take College Hill over this . Similarly, another woman in her late 20s who lived in Plantation Homes responded that her experience in the complex was better because it wasnt public housing but it wasnt be tter as far as, you know, I got better maintenance service through public housing than I did there, because th e whole while that I liv ed there (Plantation Homes) I didnt have heat. A nother relocatee, this one in Ha rbor Pointe, clearly rated her post-relocation living situation as worse than in public housing. She felt that overall because of the disruption caused by noi sy neighbors, her living conditions were much worse although she considered the maintenance to be about the same as in Ponce de Leon. However, this same relocatee later remarked th at HOPE VI had bettered her life because she no longer lived in public housing. Crime and Safety Like homeowners, HOPE VI relocatees were also concerned with crime and safety issues in Greenwood. Less th an a third (6 out of 1950) considered the Greenwood neighborhood to be safer than College Hill/P once. Nine rated the Greenwood neighborhood as about the same as public housing in terms of safety. Four relocatees felt it was actually worse. While drugs and violent crime seem to be improved in Greenwood, theft was mentioned by several interviewe es in relation to Greenwood. 50 Only 19 out of 20 interviewe es responded to this question.
152 In contrast to College Hill and Ponce de Leon, about which all of the relocatees expressed a concern over the c onstant presence of drugs and drug dealers, overall Greenwood was a significant improvement. However, two interv iewees stated that drugs were just as bad at Plantation Homes (another knew of drugs in other parts of Plantation Homes but not the area in which she lived), and two women at Harbor Pointe menti oned that there were drugs in the complex as well. Fighting and shooting were also negative activities associated with public housing that were rarely mentioned in association w ith Greenwood. In addition, several relocatees described feeling unsafe in College Hill and P once because the police would chase criminal offenders through residents apartments. A couple of relocatees mentioned relief from this stress as a benefit of living in Greenwood. Ho wever, another reported that there had been a shooting and killing in Plantation Homes. Theft was mentioned in association w ith Greenwood complexes several timesand three times in relation to College Hill/Ponce de Leon. One woman had her apartment broken into three times at Plantation Homes and anothe r mentioned break-ins at Plantation Homes. Another woman reported that her car had been br oken into at Plantation Homes. More than for homeowners, it is probable that the vict ims of crimes in the neighborhood are primarily the low-income residents. Neighbors Neighbors after relocation were more likel y to be described negatively than the neighbors in College Hill and P once de Leonas a detraction to re locatees quality of life in Greenwood. However, many relocatees did have good experiences with their neighbors in Greenwood.
153 Seven interviewees related very positive me mories of their neighbors in College Hill and Ponce de Leon. One woman, when asked what life was like for her during the ten years she lived in College Hill emphasized the quality of her neighbors in her response: I liked it I had some real nice neighbors, everybody helped each other. And I liked where I lived a lot. In the section where I lived it was mostly older people. Similarly, when asked to elaborate on why she loved College Hill so much and did not want to move, a former 30-year resident of the complex who moved to Planta tion Homes responded that it was the people that made College Hill a good experience. One elderly woman who had moved from Ponce to Harbor Pointe recalled that when she lived in Ponce, her neighbors would always check in on herwhich was important to her because she ha d very serious health problems. While at Harbor Pointe, she had one neighbor who check ed on her very consistently, but when she lived in Ponce there was a larger network of concerned neighbors. Another elderly woman who now lives in Plantation Homes recalled: Now in Ponce everybody looked after me, everybody! A couple of relocatees discussed th e respect they received from their neighbors in public housing, even from drug dealers who would not sell drugs in front of them. No interviewee had strong positive feelings about their neighbors in general in Greenwood. Two, however, when asked if they trusted their neighbors in Plantation Homes more, less, or about the same as in College Hi ll, responded that they trusted their Plantation Homes neighbors more. Another woman, when asked about her neighbors in Plantation Homes, responded: Its not much of a differe nce. Because a lot of, you know, a lot of the people are coming from P once and Riverview Terrace51 and College Hill and, you know and stated that they were the primary reas on that she was not satis fied with her living 51 Another Tampa public housing complex redeveloped through a HOPE VI grant.
154 situation. However, another woman in the same complex implied that the behavior of her neighbors was a significant improvement: I don t have to put up with the loud music. Location In the literature on programs aimed at impr oving social mobility through relocation, it is assumed that lower poverty neighborhoods are better neighborhoods for relocatees. However, issues like conveni ence are relativeand neigh borhoods with high poverty rates often have important services that cater to their low-income residents. For HOPE VI relocatees in Greenwood, convenience is larg ely defined by the number and quality of services within walking distance, including acces s to public transportation. Overall, HOPE VI relocatees interviewed in the Greenw ood neighborhood were satisfied with their new location. Eight reported that th e location was better than Co llege Hill/Ponce de Leon, and five considered it about the same. One relocate elaborated: Because everything is not too far. The groc ery stores, clothing stores, shoe store all of thats maybe like ten, fifteen minutes aw ay. Probably not even that long. But if youre on a good bus routeBus Six is like the main bus, itll take you downtown all the way back over to University Mall. Y eah I would say yeah Im in a good area. I like the area Im staying in. However, seven considered the location of Green wood to be worse than their former location in public housing. For elderly residents liv ing in Plantation Homes, the location was somewhat less convenient. When asked how convenient shopping was in Greenwood, one elderly relocatee responded: Its bad. If you aint got no car how you going to walk fourteen blocks and you old and cant get around. Its four teen blocks. You walk seven up and seven back. Thats four teen blocks. Aint got no store nowhere. Thats why the children come here and buy little cooki es and candies from me because those children cant get to the store. As one relocatee recalled, when living at P once, shopping was much more convenient if you
155 did not have a car: Cause like when we like Ponce, st ore was right up the street. If you lookout the door you see the store. Two stores, the first store and the second store. Then another store was on 22nd. So we had like three stores around there. It was kind of more convenien t there but you know if you have transportation they about the same. Problems with transportation increased for many relocatees when they left College Hill/Ponce de Leon. Nine out of nineteen repor ted that their access to transportation had decreased since relocating. A woman who moved to Plantation Homes related the following: I didnt want to move. It was the packing and then when I moved to Plantation Homes it was terrible for me. I didnt have no transportation and the bus ran every hour and the nearest store was seven blocks. Seven relocatees found transportation about th e same in their new ne ighborhood as it was in public housing; and three did find transpor tation to be better in Greenwood. Apartments While homeowners perceived all low-income housing as contri buting to social disorder, relocatees distinguished among complexe s. Of the twenty relocatees interviewed, seven lived in Harbor Pointe52, one in Ashton Heights, one in the town home complex Riverview Estates, and eleven in Plantation Homes.53 Most of those interviewed at Plantation Homes were elderly, while only two in Harbor Pointe would be considered elderly. The relocatee who lived in Rivervie w Estates was an elderly woman, and the one Ashton Heights relocatee interviewed was in her early twenties and had only lived in this complex for a month when she was interviewed. 52 An additional interviewee who lived in another Greenwo od apartment complex later moved to Harbor Pointe. 53 Two of these relocatees (the one in Riverview Estates and one in Plantation Homes) had actually moved to Belmont Heights Estates by the time they were interviewed; another had moved to the other neighborhood of interest and then later moved to Harbor Pointe.
156 Unlike homeowners concerns with exterior aesthetics such as well-kept yards, relocatees were more concerned with the interiors of the apartments in which they lived. For instance, when asked about how she made her housing decisions, one relocatee responded: Ive got to see how the apartmen t looks first and all of that. Sometimes it really just dont matter but I want to know how it looks on the inside. Not the outside, the inside. Relocatees also seemed concerned more with the apartment itself than with living in a particular area. While homeowners viewed the neighborhoods apartment complexes in negative terms, overall, Greenwood HOPE VI relocatees were quite satisfied with the quality of their housing. In Greenwood, the housing quality after re location was considered better by sixteen out of nineteen54 interviewees and the same by three; none considered the quality of their housing worse after their relocation to th e Greenwood neighborhood. Although this finding might seem obviousthat housing in the private re ntal market would be better than public housingin the other neighborhood of study, Rive rbend, 52% of interviewed relocatees stated that their housi ng after relocation was act ually of worse quality than the public housing units they had lived in be fore HOPE VI relocations. At Harbor Pointe, all seven residents were pleased with their ap artments and several emphasized the improvement over public housin gnamely, that their new apartments had central heat and air, wall-to-wa ll carpet (although one resident commented that she preferred the tile in public housing), and no stairs to climb to get to the bedroom/swhich was a real problem for one of the older resi dents in public housing. The size of the apartments was also a major draw. One resident had considered m oving from Harbor Pointe to Belmont Heights 54 One interviewee did not provide a response to this question.
157 Estates but found the apartments much too sm all when compared to her Harbor Pointe apartment. Those who relocated to Plantation Homes, which is located a considerable distance south of Harbor Pointe, did not seem quite as satisfied with the quality of their housing. They too named spaciousness as the main attrac tion of the apartments. One woman said she would rather live in the physical apartment pr ovided at Plantation Homes but located in the former public housing location. However, many described the complex as declining, which I will discuss in greater depth later in this chapter. The woman who relocated from public housing to Riverview Estates, located next to Plantation Homes, said that she loved her town home there, although the landlord was somewhat remiss in addressing a mildew issue. However, she was glad to later move to the HOPE VI development, Belmont Heights Estates, largely beca use of transportation problems she experienced while living in Riverview Esta tes. The one relocatee we interviewed at Ashton Heights Apartments was very pleased with her apartment even though she had initially not wanted to move to the complex. She, too, like d its roominess, had brand new carpeting, and although she percei ved the general atmosphere as a bit wild, she had confidence in the PSS officers w ho patrolled the property. Overall, however, unaddressed maintenance problems seem to have been more prevalent in the Greenwood complexes than in College Hill/Ponce. One woman recalled that often when there was a maintenance problem in College Hill, a maintenance worker would come right away. This not the case where sh e lives at Harbor Pointe; although a maintenance worker will come, it sometime s takes a little while.
158 Family Living in Greenwood is also a way for HOP E VI relocatees to live near family members. For the most part, this was not an experience shared by homeowners. Living close to family members was something th at seems to have been an important quality of life issue for relocatees. Most relocatees ha d relatives living in College Hill or Ponce de Leon before relocationand sustaining these cl ose relationships was a high priority. Many were able to reestablish this close proxim ity to family members after relocation to Greenwood. This was in significant contrast to middle-class homeowners who rarely had friends or family living in the Greenwood neighborhoodand often had few relatives in the local area. Miss Diane, the HOPE VI relocate with whom I worked, originally moved in with her mother in a house owned by Miss Dianes uncle in Riverbend,55 but ended up getting her own apartment at Harbor Pointe after beginning to work there. Her daughter Sheila already lived at Harbor Pointe with her husband and tw o sons, and she also worked at the complex. Miss Dianes daughter Jennifer al so lived at Harbor Pointe and sometimes worked there cleaning apartments, and her son Trevor also spor adically lived and worked at the complex. All seven of the relocatees interviewed in Harbor Pointe lived close to family members in public housing and now live close to family in Harbor Pointe apartments. Several mentioned this as a factor in their hous ing selection. An excerpt from an interview I conducted with a woman in her twenties exemplifies this: AS: And did any of your re latives live in Ponce too? Relocatee: Yes, my sister. She stayed right down the sidewalk whereNot right down the sidewalk but like five minutes aw ay from us. And my older sister she 55 The other neighborhood of interest to our research team.
159 stayed on College Hill side. But she stay ed like five, ten minutes away from us too. So. But driving it was like maybe a few minutes. So walk ing it was like five, ten minutes. (laughs) But all of us stayed right together there. And all of us, everybody was always at my moms house ever yday Right now all of us still stay kind of close to each other. Living at Harbor Pointe, one of her brothers and his fianc we re across the street in Ashton Heights. Her mother and sister both moved into Belmont Heights Estates, the HOPE VI community, but visit frequently; her mother still takes care of her children on the weekends and also helps out with transportation. Miss Patricia Clark, an elderly woman wh om we interviewed, had a middle-aged daughter, Joyce Clark, who was also relocate d through HOPE VI, living in the complex. Joyces brother (Miss Patricias son) then also moved to the complex. Joyces daughter Lisa, who previously lived in another complex in the neighborhood, moved to Ashton Heights across the street with her two daughters. Tamm y mentioned that Miss Patricias health had been a major factor in the family living so close to each other. Miss Sandra Miller, an elderly woman with poor health, moved to Harbor Pointe, where her daughter, Erin Reese, was also living. Erin shared in an interview that she had originally moved to College Hill from Sanfor d, Florida (about 100 miles away from Tampa) to be near her mother whose health was fa iling. Not long after she was interviewed, Erin ended up moving from Harbor Pointe. However, her son lived with Miss Millerand Miss Patricia Clark became her fictive Grandma. Miss Miller eventually moved from Harbor Pointe as well. There were also examples of family memb ers moving near each other in Plantation Homes. A mother and daughter who were in terviewed together had moved to Plantation
160 Homes from Ponce de Leon together. Similarly, Latasha Wa lker moved to Plantation Homes because she had a cousin who already lived there. The opportunity for families to move very close to each other was likely not as available in neighborhoods with fewer apar tment complexes, although there were some examples in Riverbend as well. Neighborhood Spaces HOPE VI relocatees use and perceive nei ghborhood spaces in very different ways than Greenwood homeowners. While homeowners tend to perceive the park, corner stores, and apartment complexes as negative or even dangerous spaces, relocatees perspectives are often different. The Greenwood Park and Recreation Center is actually the only public space in Greenwood. While many HOPE VI relocatees do not utilize this space, homeowners almost never use the parkalthough many me ntioned that they used to, years ago. However, since GCC meetings were moved to th is location a couple of years ago, homeowners do utilize this space for GCC meetingsand also public meetings for instance regarding the installation of speed humps in a high traffic area. In th is case, HOPE VI relocatees and homeowners actually do at times utilize the same space (a nd perhaps even at the same time) but for separate reasons. Although some HOPE VI relocat ees share the homeowners negative feelings about the areas corner stores, many do utilize these st ores. The primary reason that relocatees view the stores negatively is that the merc handise is overpriced (rather than feeling uncomfortable because of the crowd that ofte n gathers outside the stores). Only one relocatee mentioned it as a high crime area and another said she did not feel safe walking
161 to the store. In terms of the apartment co mplexes, relocatees a nd other renters often distinguish the apartment in wh ich they live from others in the neighborhood. Their negative depictions of other neighborhood complexes mi ght sound a lot like homeowners perceptions of all of the neighborhoods apartment complexes. Social Order Like homeowners, HOPE VI relocatees were also concerned with social disorder in Greenwood. However, relocatees definitions of so cial order and disorder and their strategies for achieving social order differed from that of the homeowners in important ways. Rejection of Broken Windows HOPE VI relocatees and other renters in Greenwood can be seen to challenge the broken windows approach to social order. Unlike homeowners, they do not emphasize visible signs of disorder that are interpreted by homeow ners as signaling neighborhood decline. Instead, relocatees are concerned with immediate impositions on their quality of life. The relocatees we interviewed did not seem particularly concerned with exterior aesthetics. At the time that several relocatees who lived in Harbor Pointe were interviewed, the exterior of the apartment complex had b een in very poor shape and renovations were beginning. Relocatees did not co mment on these issuesother than one resident who was inconvenienced by these changes. While she wa s at work, a landscaping crew hired by the new owner began laying sod. When her car wa s determined to be in the way, the property manager allowed a maintenance worker to jimmy her car door open and ro ll it out of the way. The woman was so upset she called the police, bu t they determined that it was a civil matter between her and the complex management:
162 Ooh that made me mad! And then my daughters dad came over because he know how upset I was. And he asked them just yesterday, why didnt they move the car back if they knew they were gonna move it? Oh but Janice told us we didnt have to move it back. Janice is the lady in the rental office. I said, OK, Im not fittin to let the devil work me upIm already tired. Im not even fittin to. I just said, Just go! And I thought the police should have said something more than, Talk to management. I mean, isnt that illegal for them to do that? Similarly, as mentioned in a prev ious chapter, another Harbor Pointe resident (who was not a HOPE VI relocatee), was very upset when the construction work on the exterior of the apartment ended up damaging a wallpaper border she had laboriously se lected and installed with the help of her mother. As described in Chapter Five, relocatees are very concerned with th e interiors of their apartments. Rather than see improvements to th e exterior of the complex, it would seem that residents would prefer u pgrades to the interiors of their apartments. While the insides of their apartments were the most important to residents, exterior aesthetic improvements were cer tainly noted by a number of re sidents. One of the candy ladies asked me to type up a sign for her to pu t in her front window th at if she saw a person walk on the grass, she would not serve him/her. Miss Lottie, a woman I described in Chapter Five because of her pride in apartment and he r own decorating ideas, actually paid close attention to external ae sthetics. She once called the leasing office to report that her neighbor was repairing his junky car, wh ich was causing fluids from the car to soil the newly paved parking lot (she herself did not own a car). She also reported to me that the landscaping service was not mowing as meticulously as it previously hadthat she had noticed certain patches that were not mowed as closely as others. She let me know that these were the kinds of details that she believed were importa nt for a property manager to address.
163 Perhaps the clearest rejec tion of the broken windows a pproach is the response of residents to PSS, the private secu rity company that patrolled Har bor Pointe. As discussed in Chapter Six, PSS enacted its neoliberal, homeown er sanctioned vision of social order in both Harbor Pointe and Ashton Height s. Overall, residents apprecia ted the presence of a security company on the property but disagreed with th e approach to social order taken by PSS and other security companies. In particular, residents pr otested the PSS-enforced curf ew. PSS officers consider clearing residents and others from public spaces in the evening to be a central part of enforcing social order in the complex. To resi dents, the area outside of their front doors is a porch. To PSS officers, the patio/balcony areas behind the apartm ents are porches, and occupying the area outside the front door is loit ering or a fire hazard. One relocatee at Harbor Point, Miss Joyce, had the following to say: I often wonder, well I guess they got the people [PSS] to help you out. But when th ey first come they were doing people so wrong. She explained: I was sitting out there on the stairs and they told me I couldnt sit on the stairs. What they say, a fire. Aint no fire. You think Im going to be sitting out if there was a fire? Id be a fool to sit out there if there a fire. Im getting out of the door just like everybody else. Another relocatee to Har bor Point discussed this issue at length: Well the only thing I didnt like about that is that, OK Im grown, Im paying rent, I pay my bills or whatever and for my unit wher e I stay at. I dont think that its fair that they can tell me what time that I can be in my house or what time that I can get out on my porch This was like when the PSS was here before they like tried to enforce a time limit that you could be outside or a time limit that your kids could be outside playing. If its the weekend and my kids want to get out there in their backyard and run around and play Im going to let them go outside and play, whether its daylight or dark. I don t feel like, OK, you should be able to come and tell me, OK its 9:00 its timeIts curfew. Youre supposed to be in the house. Dont give
164 me no curfew, Im not a child. I paid my rent, you know what Im saying, I paid my rent. Im not at home and you are not my daddy or my mother. Dont give me no curfew. Would you like a curf ew if your husband or your wife tell you you have to be in the house at 9:00? What if I just want to sit outsi de on my porch and relax? I cant do that because Ive got to be in th e house at 9:00. So that was one of the bigger problems that they had back then, like curfew wise. I could understand for the smaller kids or the little 13, 14, 15 year ol ds that was always out running around and this and that. OK. Thats good for them but Im a grown woman, dont give me no curfew. So thats, I felt like they got a little out of hand with that, with the curfew thing. One elderly woman told me that she felt like a prisoner and was outraged. To residents, sitting outside ones apartment did not signa l social disorder, and they challenged the curfew. When Pete and Sam re-introduced PSS to the property,56 there were constant complaints from residents echoing those quoted above. Pete and Sam finally addressed these complaints by requesting that PSS not enforce this rule. He said that he did not want them bothering little ol d ladies sitting outside their apartments (that was the least of his worries). However, this was not the only issue that residents had with PSS. For instance, as discussed in Chap ter Five, residents viewed PSS as a service to protect them while PSS considered itself a service to prot ect the property. Residents were then understandably upset when th eir cars were broken into, for instance, while PSS was patrolling the property. Similarly, while homeowners viewed the installation of fences around the lowincome apartment complexes as part of an effort to establish social order in the neighborhood, residents did not perceive fences a nd gates in this way. HOPE VI relocatees had previous experiences with fences in College Hill and Ponce de Leon when, reportedly in the early 1990s, fen ces were installed around both complexes. 56 They had provided services to the property when Felix was the owner, but after he acquired an exorbitant unpaid bill, PSS terminated their services.
165 While residents understood that th e purpose of the fences was to keep out drug dealersor to aid police in being able to capture them when they ran awaynone of the relocatees interviewed felt that the fences actually assisted with these efforts. People still managed to climb over them, dig holes underneath, or damage the fences in order to bypass them. The fences were actually very inconvenient for some of the residents of College Hill and Ponce de Leon, requiring them to walk a much longer distance to stores and bus stops because they now had to go through the entrance/exit rather th an simply across the street. A couple of relocatees remember feeling extremely confined, as if they were in prison. One woman said that she did not sleep well for months because sh e felt like she was locked in. However, one woman liked the fact that the fence made the ar ea outside of her apartment seem more private (in that it was demarcated from the sidewalk and street). Similarly, in Greenwood, numerous relocat ees living in the fenced and sometimes guarded Plantation Homes reported major in conveniences caused by the fencesalthough someone had torn a hole in the fence to facilita te mobility. Overall, th e relocatees did not see fences as promoting safety and order. On e woman did believe that the fence at Ashton Heights prevented children from running into th e street. A Harbor Pointe resident whose brother lived in Ashton Heights told me that the gates were always screwed up. She and most other Harbor Pointe residents found th e white PVC fence aesth etically appealing, although one relocatee said that she would rather be able to see th e road while sitting outside. The aesthetics of Harbor Pointes fen ce were a constant problem for complex management. The fences slats were consis tently getting kicked out by area youth. Once when the property manager saw a young boy rumore d to live in Bradford Park kicking out a slat, she sent her husband (who worked on the property managing its renovations) to chase
166 after him so that he could be charged with the damage. I do not know whether or not complex residents perceived the appearance of th e fence as a sign of social disorder. I do know that I did not receive any complaints from residents about this issue while I worked there. However, some apartment complex reside nts are aware of how the fences can represent order or disorder (i f vandalized) to others in th e neighborhood. An elderly woman I have kept in touch with is now quite bothe red by how the vandalized fence is perceived by others in the neighborhood. She was told by someone in another apartment complex that the perception is that Harbor Pointe residents do not bother to stop the kids from kicking out the slats. Similarly, one relocatee related her unders tanding of the most recent fence installed at Bradford Park: to keep kids from the apartm ent complexes from sneaking in the back gate of Bradford Park so that they could use the swimming pool. Crime and Safety As discussed in Chapter Six, although home owners were primarily concerned with quality of life issues, crime was also a con cern and focus of GCC m eetings. Homeowners often characterized the neighborhood as ha ving some problems with drugs and also prostitutionand several homeown ers interviewed described seri ous theft incidents and even a murder. While GCC meeting attendees listened intently when the Sheriffs office reported statistics about crime in Greenwood, no one was interested in forming a neighborhood watch. John asked for interested participants again and again and I did not encounter anyone who wanted to commit to participa ting. While there were numerous instances of burglaries in the neighborhood, this lack of interest in the neighborhood watchand consistent concern with victimless crimeswould seem to suggest that overall, homeowners do not fear becoming
167 victims of crime. It is also possible th at the time commitment required for neighborhood watch played a role in homeowners reluctance to participate. On the other hand, when Pete and Sam bought Harbor Pointe Apartments, they initially hoped to start a community watch program. Around ten residents signed up to participate, but after a poorly organized first meeting, the idea was dropped. Like homeowners, HOPE VI relocatees are very c oncerned with crime in Greenwood. However, it seems that their concern with drugs likely ha s a more immediate impact on the families that live in the low-income apartments. To a certain extent, relocatees s poke of drugs as having been largely left behind in College Hill and Ponce de Leon. Relocatees also expressed concern with violent crimes (though not in Gr eenwood)which were not expressed as much of a concern for homeowners. In addition, relocatees were not concerned with such victimless crimes as prostitution. Relocatees seemed to see the solution to the disorder as increased private security and police protection. This overlap s with homeowners plans for neighborhood improvement to a certain extent. However, as discussed pr eviously, relocatees do not share homeowners spatial goalsand do not see the ro le of private security and the Sheriffs department as an instrument for organizing space in a manne r consistent with the notion of spatial governmentality. Apartment Complex Ownership and Management While homeowners largely viewed the disord er of apartment complexes as caused by the owner, management, and those inhabiting the buildingsand evidenced by poor exterior aestheticsrelocatees and othe r renters experienced disorder imposed by property owners and management in a very different way. Relo catees experience in thei r daily lives the actual
168 disorder created by the cycles of investment a nd disinvestment in the properties. From the perspective of renters, low-income housing in and of itself was not causing the disorder instead it was the landlords disinvestment behavior s that create many problems in their lives. These issues include a reduction of services, the constant tur nover of staff and also owners, and, in some cases, corruption. At the time of the relocatee interviews, Plantation Homes was in a period of rapid disinvestment. Shortly after th e first relocatees moved in, mana gement reportedly closed the pool and community room. Relocatees reported that there had been a lot of turnover with management and certain vital services had been terminated. In particular, there was no electricity in the laundry roomsand when th ere was electricity many of the machines did not work. Also, residents had h eard that the security company that guarded the gate had not been paid and therefore had quit working. One resident reported a reduction in waste removal services; she now had to walk a c onsiderable distance to the complexs only dumpster. Numerous relocatees interviewed also spoke of su spected corruption. According to these residents, one of the managers had be en stealing much of the money they paid for water and cable; she was eventually fired. Seri ous maintenance issues were also not attended to because at times the complex had only one maintenance person on staff. In an interview, when an elderly relocatee was asked whethe r or not she had talked to the complex management about some of her maintenance issues, she responded: Relocatee: Yes. Thats just like talki ng to that fan. Because, since you mention that. Water bill. You know how much my water bill is? $1,382 and I can show you the bill. Interviewer: Is there a leak?
169 Relocatee: Yes and it wasnt my fault. Its a major water leak in that first bathroom. The lady they fired, which wa s Maria at the time, she knew it. You could hear water running down the wall, in side of the wall. And next thing you know you see a big puddle of water on the fl oor. Like if someone upstairs is taking a bath, you go in there like youre going to use the commode Y ou could hear the water running on the walls. And then one day I went in there and looked up. You could see where the water was seeping in. I guess it got soaking wet and that water circle was in there. I called her, I talked to her. Then the tile started puckering. They took all that out and did that twice. But you still could h ear the water running. Interviewer: So they didnt fix the leak? Relocatee: The guy that was here during the time, the maintenance guy his name was Chris. He heard the thing himself. He even cut a hole right up in here to find out, to see if it would come up that a way. It never came out. But you heard running But when he found out what was really going on, the wa ter that was in there holding up the thing it was totally rotten She wouldnt allow him to go and buy plywood and stuff you know to fix that up. So theres two other guys, the painters, they got some for him He told her what was going on You know, he could only do so much because they w ouldnt allow him to buy anything to fix it Next thing I know Im getting sixty, sevent y, eighty-dollar water bills. Like I told her and I still tell th em, Can you all straighten th is out? I will not pay it. Because then later on I found out we werent even supposed to pay a water bill.57 As described in Chapter Six, Harbor Poin te also has experienced these cycles. Around the time I stopped working in the leasi ng office, the property underwent a further period of disinvestment. The women I had worked withMiss Diane and her daughter recently told me that because the owner had not paid most of the companies required to maintain the property, quality of life in the complex diminished considerably. No new appliances or carpeting could be installed in apartments. Perhaps worst of all, there was no waste removal because of unpaid bills. This meant that the dumpsters were so piled high with trash that residents left their trash on the gro und. While this happened once while I was working in the complex, apparently this time it was much worse. Reportedly, the entire 57 Several residents we interviewed at Plantation Homes mentioned this, in reference to the complexs corrupt activities.
170 complex smelled like garbage. When Miss Dian e and her daughter expressed their concerns to the property representative, he told them it wa s their responsibility to resolve the problem. They knew a relative with a truck, so they had him drive around to coll ect residents trash and discard it. A resident desc ribed to me how odd it seemed, that a man with a truck came to her door to ask if she had any garbage. It is likely that area hom eowners attributed the overflowing dumpsters to evidence of bad housekeeping by tenants.58 Apartment complex ownership and manageme nt in Greenwood are clearly examples of neoliberalism. The privatization of pub lic housing expects the marketin this case the private housing marketto provide for the n eeds of the poor better than the government could. However, the cycles of investment and disinvestment I have described occur over and over again. When owners cannot make a profit, th ey cut services back until they finally sell to another owner and the cycl e of investment and then disinvestment begins again. Respectability Like homeowners, relocatees see their quality of life as being affected by those with whom they share space. While overall homeo wners are concerned w ith aesthetics and lowincome renters, low-income renters are concer ned with disreputable people such as those who do not attend to their children or maintain their apartments. In many ways relocatees encouraged a distinction betw een respectable and not respectable low-income residents, which was in some ways similar to homeow ners strict divisions between orderly and disorderly. Some residents made distinctions between people who lived in their complex and outsiders who visited the complex (and caused pr oblems). A Harbor Poin te resident that I 58 Because this happened after my research in the neighbo rhood ended, I did not actually hear what homeowners had to say about this occurrence.
171 have kept in touch with has re cently described the complex as getting bad. She related her frustration with hearing people outside of Ha rbor Pointe remarking that Harbor Pointe residents dont prevent the kids from knocking out the slats of the white PVC fence. She insists that it is not the kids in the comple xor something that anyone living in the complex can preventit is people walking or riding thei r bikes by at night. Similarly, one relocatee made a distinction between those who actually lived in College Hill and those who were outsiders to distinguish between social order and disorder: Relocatee: See, the things that was goi ng on in College Hill that was BAD, it wasnt the people that lived there. It wa s the outsiders they allowed to come in. Interviewer: And they used th at space because it was, easy? Relocatee: Yeah, drug infeste d. It was, it was drug infe sted real bad. But then like I said, they KNEW what was going on, but they [management] never tried per se to really stop it. The social construction of respectab ility tends to have genderand also racial/ethnicimplications. It is a common theme in the African Diasporic literature (Greenbaum 2002a:180). In Greenwood, thes e ideas centered around African American women being good mothers and housekeepers who set themselves apart by being very selective in their associ ations with others. Like homeowners, several relocatees descri bed wild or unattended youth as part of the social disorder sometimes present in College Hill/Ponce a nd also Greenwood and associated with unrespectable people. A woman s care of her children is consistently used as an indicator of whether or not she is respect able. This issue came up frequently while I worked in the leasing office. For instance, the property manager commented on how she was surprised when a resident was arrested for welfare fraud because she was always seen
172 interacting with her kids in such a positive way. The same manager also commented about another mothers parenting when she challenged her on some issue, saying something to the effect of her kids were always hanging off the stairs by their apartment. The issue of maintaining a clean and orde rly home was also a way that residents distinguished the respectable from the unrespe ctable. Again, working in the leasing office provided me an opportunity to hear certain c onversations of this nature. The property manager especially commented on the housekeepi ng of various residents whose apartments she visited. One woman continuously calle d the office complaining about a roach infestation. The property manager met her at he r apartment and reportedl y pointed out to her that she had cookies and ground up chicken bon es in her carpet, which was likely the source of the problem (rather than the neglect of the complex). Similarly, this manager told me once that she had heard that one of the cleaning womens apartments was nasty. Although these specific examples are from a particular property manager, these issues were raised consistently by residents in various wa ys. Often residents spoke about how neat and clean they kept their apartments. Sometimes this was in relation to a maintenance request. For instance, one resident insisted that she ca nnot tolerate her apartment in less than ideal condition. Another way that relocatees clearly disti nguish themselves as respectable is by describing themselves as a person who keeps to herself. These statements took several different forms but were expressed by many re locatees I interviewed. For instance, when I asked a relocatee in her twentie s whether or not she knows a lo t of people at Ashton Heights (the complex she had moved to) she responde d: I really don t know nobody over there I aint trying to get to know nobody either. Yea h. Uh-huh. I speak and keep going. How
173 you doing. Because they seem like theyre wild around here. Similarly, I asked another relocatee, a Harbor Pointe resi dent in her forties, to tell me more about the friends she had mentioned she had in Ponce and she replied: Relocatee: I dont know. I don t hardly go out the door. Ashley: Did you have close friends there? Relocatee: I speak to them and I go back in the house. I aint no outgoing person. Most time, I mostly like to be by myself. I dont like a lot of company. If I have a lot of company, its my kinfolk, my friends. To maintain, Im going to stay to myself. Ill speak and go back in the house. Maybe a little conve rsation every blue moon. I dont be wanting no trouble. As another example, a woman in her early th irties was asked about here neighbors and she related: But I mean my neighbor here is OK. Like some Spanish people was living next door but they really didnt you know too much say nothing because I, like I said I come in, speak, and just, you know, thats how I do my thing. I really don t sit on the porch, I dont even buy those little chairs to sit on the porch, because I rather be in the house. Susan Clampett-Lundquist (2004) noticed similar statements in her ethnographic research on HOPE VI in Philadelphia. She interp reted these types of statements as having to do with social controlresidents attempting to protect themselves from problems with neighbors. However, I think these statemen ts may suggest residents expressions of respectabilityas a way of distinguishing them selves from others who spend their time socializing rather than attendi ng to more serious matters. Spatial Practices In contrast to Foucault, who examines how space can be manipulated to control people, Michel de Certeau (1984) aims to s how how individuals ac tually use spaceoften
174 reappropriating it and resisting the discipline enacted upon them.59 He examines the practices of everyday life and discusses tactics used by in dividuals and groups already caught up in the disciplinary mechanisms Foucault describes. According to de Certeau, everyday practiceslike reading and walkingcan be considered forms of resistance when they elude discipline without being outside the field in whic h it is exercised (1984:96). According to de Certeau, every story about a space plays a decisive role. It describes, to be sure. But every description is more than a fixation, it is a culturally creative act (de Certeau 1984:123). In this way, those that tell stories about particular spaces gain control over these spaces by participat ing in their definition. Despite the imposition of neoliberal social policies and ve rsions of social order, Greenwoods low-income renters continue to enact meaningful lives within the neighborhoods boundaries. In this way, they ar e subtly challenging homeowners definition of their neighborhood as a threat ened middle-class space. HOPE VI relocatees and other renters instead create their own understandings of the neighborhood that include alternative uses and meanings associated with particular spa ces as well as a contrasting version of social order. Although spatial (and social) segregation is largely achieved, it is not simply the result of homeowners desire to differentiate themselves from certain aspects of the neighborhood. Rather it is much like the si tuation described by Me rry in her classic ethnography Urban Danger: Life in a Neighborhood of Strangers (1981) In Dover Square, her neighborhood of study, differe nt ethnic groupsBlacks, White s, and Chineseperceive 59 There is a extensive anthropological literature that examines the agency possessed by those oppressed by multiple systems of domination (cf. Goldstein 2003). Despite their poverty and other social inequalities, lowincome renters in Greenwood must be understood as having agency.
175 all ethnic groups other than the one to which th ey belong as dangerous and this translates directly to space. Although they live in very close proximity to each other, residents of different ethnic groups avoid certain spaces and at particular times based on which spaces are used by particular groups. In this way, Greenwood residentsboth homeowners and rentersengage the neighborhood space in very different ways, resulting in segregation. This chapter explored the experiences and understandings of Greenwood relocatees and other renters. Greenwood rent ers can be seen to construct and utilize space in ways that challenge the spatial practices of homeowner s. While this chapter treated space as analytically important, the following ch apter examines languagein terms of how homeowners and relocatees create discourse s that both echo and challenge dominant neoliberal discourses on poverty and housing.
176 Chapter Eight Discourses of Consent and Contestation Most academic analyses of neoliberalism, including anthropological ones, make use of the concept of discour se. However, the term is rarely theorized or even qualified.60 Its usage takes much for granted. In this chapter, I draw on the theory and methodology of ethnographic discourse analysis (cf. Messing 2007) in order to attend to micro le vel discourses on poverty and neoliberal policies. I cons ider the discourses produced by Greenwood residents (both homeowners and HOPE VI relocatees) in order to examine how homeowners and relocatees support and contest hegemonic neoliberal discourses on poverty and lowincome housingas well as creating their ow n discourses on these issues. Exploring these micro discourses enables a better understanding of how neoliberalism is experienced locally. Why Discourse? As mentioned in Chapter Two, examining linguistic practices provides a unique vantage point for understanding political economic situations. Paul Kroskrity emphasizes, for instance, that language is a pr imary site of political process and of the discursive mediation of those very activi ties and events we recognize as political (2000:1). Linguistic practices can then be s een to reflect, shape, and confront social inequalities. 60 Foucault (1980) is an exception; he clearly explains what he means by discourse.
177 While discourse analysis is increasingly recognized as important to the study of social policy and change, not al l fields approach discourse in the same way. Discourse is a difficult term to define, and few scholar s who use the term include a definition. I use the term here to refer to bot h the earlier linguistic use of discourse or speech acts (Dell Hymes 1988 ), which I refer to as micro level discourses, and broader societal and institutional di scourses (Foucault 1980), which I refer to as macro level discourses. Scholars of social policy and urban studi es have embraced Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA)an approach that recognize s a clear connection be tween discourse and political and economic processes (cf. Faircl ough and Graham 2002). For instance, in the Introduction to a special issue of Urban Studies that focuses on discourse and urban change, Annette Hastings ( 1999) writes that discourse: is examined to help to identify what kind of knowledge about policy problems and solutions is produced in the policy pr ocess and to highlight the contingency of this knowledge; to identify gaps between th e rhetoric and practice of policy and to explore how linguistic practice and, cr ucially, linguistic change are key components of policy change (1999:11). Marieke de Goedes (1996) analysis of discourses on US welfare reform, based on articles published in Newsweek magazine, utilizes CDA for similar purposes. She is interested in determining, within the debate over welfare and povert y in the US, which images and arguments have become accepted as common sense (even by relatively liberal publications) and the role of the media in promoting these discourses. Although CDA rigorously theorizes the connections between socioeconomic situations and discourse and has provided important contributions to understanding policy discoursesthis
178 approach does not acknowledge the importa nce of ethnographic context to understanding discourse. Anthropologists who study neoliberal soci al policies and urban situations tend to recognize the significance of discourse to their research, although they do not theorize the concept or typically pr actice discourse analysis as a methodology (Lyon-Callo 2001, 2004, Goldstein 2001, Goode 2001, Morgen 2003, Chesluk 2004). They often characterize macro discourses to provide a co ntext for their ethnographic research (see for instance, Morgen 2003). Others describe local level discourses but do not attempt linguistic analysis (see Goode 2001 and Goldstein 2001). There are, however, a couple of exceptions to these anthropological treatments of policy discourses. In The Anthropology of Policy (1997), Cris Shore and Susan Wright see a Foucauldian concern with macro disc ourses as central to an anthropology of policy, although they do not acknowledge cont ributions made in the field of linguistic anthropology. Catherine Kingfisher (1996), on the other hand, importantly connects the micro discourses of welfare recipients a nd welfare caseworkers to macro discourses related to poverty and welfare reform. A lthough she does not specif ically use the term discourse or discourse analysis, Ki ngfishers work draws on both cultural and linguistic anthropological approach es to examine policy issues. Within the field of linguistic anthropol ogy, discourse analysis has emerged as an important theory and methodology for unders tanding power, social inequality, and ideology (cf. Hill 1995, Mendoza-Dent on 1996, Philips 1998, Messing 2002, 2007). Although the subject of urban so cial policy has not thus far been a central concern in
179 linguistic anthropology, the pr oductive application of the theory and methodology of ethnographic discourse analysis to this topic seems appropriate. In this chapter, I examine the mi cro neighborhood discourses produced by homeowners and HOPE VI relocatees and consid er how they relate to macro discourses on poverty and low-income housing issues. I a ttempt to bridge these various literatures by drawing on the theory and method of ethnogr aphic discourse analysis to explore the local, micro level discourses related to neo liberal poverty policies and their macro level discourses. In terms of what specifically is involved in analyzing discourse in the tradition of ethnographic discourse analysis, micro analys is of speech can involve examining an unlimited number of linguistic occurrencesfor instance, pauses, pitch, laughter, word choice, and topic shifts. As it is impossible to transcribe all of these aspects of speech, choosing which to transcribe and analyze is a subjective and also theoretical choice (Ochs 1979). After reviewing the interview tapes repeatedly and carefully transcribing the selected excerpts, I have selected particular linguistic occurrences on which to focus in each excerptprimarily word choice, repeti tion, and intonation. Appendix A provides a key to the transcription conventions I utilize throughout th is chapter. (Macro) Neoliberal Discourses on Poverty and Low-Income Housing As discussed in Chapter Two, macro le vel neoliberal discourses produced by policymakers, the media, and imbedded in the policies, themselves, tend to frame the problem of poverty in such a way so as to locate the cause and solution of poverty in individual responsibility. Such discourses emphasize the pathological behavior of the poor and de-emphasize (and usually ignore) social structural reasons for social inequality.
180 These ideas support a distinc tion between the deserving and undeserving poor, position dependency rather than poverty as the social problem, and promote self-sufficiency, self-empowerment, and homeownership as a solution. As discussed in Chapter Two, these discourses are raced, classed, a nd gendereddrawing primarily on social stereotypes of poor African Am erican single mothers. De Goedes (1996) analysis of representations of poverty in Newsweek serves as an important point of departure for understand ing how these ideas manifest themselves in concrete public discourses. Based on a sample of eleven relevant ar ticles, de Geode finds the following depictions of the poor to be c onsistent: the poor as passive, the poor as other (meaning the poor are constructed as an out group), the poor as morally deviant, the poor as stereotypes, and the poor portr ayed negatively as s upported by statistical evidence and numbers juggling. De Goede conc ludes that such depictions of the poor were common among conservatives in the 1980 s but now dominate mainstream (even somewhat liberal) publications like Newsweek. I now turn to Greenwood residents repr esentations of thes e issuesand show how they intersect with the macro level discourses depicted above. Greenwood Homeowner Discourses The Greenwood neighborhood provides an example of discourse on-the-ground, where the idea of mixed income housing has ac tually been implemented. For the most part, Greenwood residents explicitly support the general idea of mixed income housing policy and related neoliberal ideology. Howeve r, most implicitly contest these ideas by opposing the presence of low-income renters in their own neighborhood.
181 In this section of the chapter, I examin e how homeowners create discourses that clearly reflect macro neoliberal discourse s on poverty and housingand also discourses that challenge these ideas. Although ther e is certainly diversity among homeowners responses in interviews, there are severa l common themes. I present and discuss selections of discourse from six out of th e twenty interviews conducted. I chose to include these particular examples because they reflect everyday instances of neoliberal discourse in the neighborhood and represent the diverse range of sources of these discourses (as well as their complexity). I will examine six themes in the interviews: neoliberal understandings of poverty; a pathologized depiction of the poor; personalized observations about poverty (or taking it personall y); the agency (or lack of agency) of the poor; the construction of distinctions based on race, class, and gender; and the presence of ideological contestation in discussions of neolib eral policies. Neoliberal Understandings of Poverty All of the homeowners interviewedregardless of their race/ethnicity, class, gender, or ageexpressed neoliberal understand ings of poverty in one way or another. These discourses reflect the reframing of the problem of poverty as instead a problem of government in the 1980s, beginning with the pub lication of two influential books written by social scientistsCharles Murrays Losing Ground (1984) and Lawrence Meads Beyond Entitlement (1986). As described by Hyatt: According to this line of argument, an ove rly interventionist state, now glossed as big government, had provided too much aid to the poor, ther eby stripping them of their capacities for self-reliance an d rendering them incapable of taking responsibility for their own actions. One remedy for this supposed plight has been the diminution of public support fo r those governmental programs, such as welfare, that had once provided direct assi stance in the form of cash benefits to the poor (2001:202).
182 Framing their understandings of poverty in a similar way, Greenwood homeowners discussed their views of the Greenwood neighborhood and poverty and low-income housing policies, poverty was primarily descri bed as a problem of dependency on social services. In doing so a strict division wa s made between the deserving and undeserving poorfor instance, the elderly who were no long er able to work would be considered to be deserving of assistance, while an able -bodied person with children would be deemed largely undeserving. Programs to aid with self-sufficiency were also mentioned. Ms. Bradley is a middle-aged African American homeowner and small business owner who lives with her adult niece in a townhouse on the river in the Orchard subdivision of the Greenwood neighborhood. She bought her home nineteen years ago, and describes the neighborhood as a tru e neighborhood: You know, people looking outalthough there are people moving in and out, people really look out for each other. When asked about her ideas on what the best solution would be for housing lowincome families, Ms. Bradley responded: You know, I just think that when we accept people into low-income housing they need to know that its temporary. And I think when we put them there, we dont explain to them that this is supposed to be temporary, because if they knew that it was temporary, then their minds would start to think on day one, you know, I have to be out of here, by day number whatever that day is. And I knowI remember a long time ago when people had more children they gave you more food stamps, more money, and all that. I ju st think from the day that that person moves into subsidized housi ng that they need to know that this is your rollback, and you know, were going to give you th e vocational skills the educational skills, whatever, youre on a five-year plan, whatever that plan is, and that at the end of that plan, you should be able to progress and move someplace else and not look at this as a permanent situation, but certainly a tem porary situation. And when people move into public assisted housing, they look at is as a permanent thing, so they dont have any dreams of moving on, because you havent told them that they need to move on. So IIf there is any type, you have to change the way people think. So if there was anything that I would think, I would think
183 that the day they sign the paper that there is a counselor saying, OK, this is your road map. And this is your track, and we re going to make sure that you stay on this track, and then at the e nd of five years we want to be able to say Ms. Bradley can now buy her own place. Here she clearly frames the problem of pove rty in terms of dependency on subsidized housing, by focusing on the idea that subsidized housing should not be permanent. In fact, she repeats the word temporary several times. Her idea of a solution is to promote self-sufficiency (although she does not use this word) through time limits, counseling, and homeownership. These strategies are all touched on in the above quote but are further discussed throughout the interview. Ms. Bradley also mentions training programs elsewhere in her interview. Ms. Bradley is making a very clear dis tinction here between the deserving and undeserving poor by emphasizing who does not deserve to receive public assistance someone with five adults living in her house, someone who has people living in her house who should not be there. In fact, Ms. Bradley repeats these ideas several times articulating them in only a slightly different wayin this short interview excerpt: 1) One of the biggest problems that I did have. I havent had it recently but I did have a big issue with itAre people who move here and lets s:ay (pauses) youre the person whos supposed to be on Section 8. But then you got all these other folks staying with you. And none of them are working and theyre just hanging. 2) I mean, if you got. If youre someone and you have sons who are ei ghteen, nineteen, and twenty, I dont think you would have qualified to live on public assist ed housing. 3) It wasnt that I didnt want the people here but if theyre notIf YOURE on public assistance, then you dont
184 need five adults living in your house because these people can WORK. Ms. Bradlleys repetition of these ideas seems to reflect thei r centrality to her understanding of poverty. Ms. Black, an African American senior citizen, has lived in her house in the Orchard for twenty-six years. Throughout the interview, she expressed concerns about neighborhood decline. Her discussion of Section 8 draws on neoliberal ideas about dependency. When asked her opinion of the Sec tion 8 program, Ms. Black responded: I think thats aI think thats a good program but I don t think its meant to be a way of life I think it should be there to ASSIST you. And to help you to move forward. Not to become totally DEPENDE NT on Section 8. You know. And there are families that theyve been on Secti on 8. You know. Then the childThe children grow up and they become Section 8. You know its like uh history repeating itself. And I dont feel thats thats the way it should be. I dont think thats what Section 8 was designed to be Like a stepping stone thats you know thats what it should be. Like public discourses on welfare reform, the problem of poverty becomes defined in terms of dependency rather than poverty. It is signi ficant to note that by stating welfare should not be a way of lif e, Ms. Bradley uses a phrase popularized by former President Bill Clinton while he was in office (Clinton 2006). Ms. Blacks discussion of history repeating itself is si milarly reminiscent of culture of poverty ideas (discussed in Chapter 2) still prevalent in public discourses on welfare reform and lowincome housing. This understanding of povert y views the solution in terms of individual responsibilityi.e., treating S ection 8 as a stepping st one presumably to selfsufficiency (although she does not use this term).
185 Pathological Depictions of the Poor All homeowners also depicted the poor as pathological in some way. However, while some homeowners were somewhat subtle others drew on extreme stereotypes. Ms. Perez, a middle-aged white/Hispani c woman, has lived alone in a modest house on Greenwoods busy 20th Street for more than twenty years. Employed as a car insurance agent while also acting as a notary public and holding numerous other certifications, she has worked hard to own her house and car outright. Unlike many of her neighbors, she is not very concerned w ith the appearance of yards in Greenwood as she is so busy that her lawn is of ten a little overdue for a mow. While we were discussing the vacant lot that used to hold the Tracy Dix apartments, Ms. Perez portrayed poo r people as clearly pathological: Ms. Perez: If they could build single-fam ily homes that are re ntals it would be a lot better. But of course you have to put some money in there. AS: I think the cityI guess the Housing Authority will probably [determine what is built there]. Ms. Perez: Yeah. But theyre going to put apartments up there and there goes the trash. AS: The trash? I: You know, you know I mean theyre Sec tion 8 people, whatever. They dont take care of it, you know. Maybe they ll build them a little better this time. She sees Section 8 voucher holders as tra sh who destroy proper tyalthough she then mentions the poor construction of the complex, which has been well-documented as the reason that the buildings were condemned. When asked if there were changes she would like to see take place in the neighborhood, Ms. Perez responded: Homeowners. As opposed to renters. Like the land in front of me, if they made like a little housing development it would be nice because it w ould be HOMEOWNERS, not crack heads.
186 You have to makeYou have to work to you know make your mortgage payment. Here she conflates renters with crack heads a nd venerates the single-family lifestyle. Mr. and Mrs. King also live on 20th Street, in a small house across the street from Harbor Pointe Apartments. An African Americ an couple in their 40s, they have lived in their house for two years with their three childre n. They shared in the interview that they are both recovering addicts. Mr. King related that he had lived on the streets, had lived in public housing projects, and had also do ne bad dealings in housing projects. In other words, he and his wife had certainly struggled financially (a nd in other ways) in their lives and could likely relate to the experiences of HOPE VI relocatees. It was interesting then to note thei r attitudes toward low-income renters in the neighborhood. When asked what he thought of mixe d income housing programs, Mr. King responded: If its a rational I guess I could saySay if its on e house Section 8 and twelve houses working people it will work. But if you put, if you even it out, then half the people sitting at home wh ile the other are going to work! (laughs) You know then those people sitting at home going to break into your house while you at work. (laughter from Mrs. King and interviewer) So you know you have toYou have toYou know what I mean. HeyHey if they sitting home, and probably got illegal cable, and probably got a car with some RI MS on it, right? Why would you go to work? Now it could wor k. Like I say. But its got to be like Teddy Pendergrass said, a 70/30.61 It got to be 70% working people and 30% other people that dont work because you know weve got to. And then youve got to space it. Because if you liveYou have got two houses that dont work and live off Section 8 right next to each ot her, then Im going to come to your house every day and we gonna drink beer and smoke weed. Because we gonna get a check and our rent is paid. Then you know when and then THEY going to see what YOU do so they going to do /raise/ the same way. Like Ms. Perez, Mr. King associated Sec tion 8 renters with pa thological behaviors illegal cable, drugs, petty theft, irresponsib le financial decisions, and choosing not to 61 Referring to lyrics from a Teddy Pendegrass song.
187 work. Mr. Kings statements about the particular proportion (70/30) necessary in order for mixed income housing to work is telling. Th is idea that the pat hological behavior of one Section 8 household will rub off on another reflects an understanding of poverty that aligns itself with Wilsons underclass ideas discussed in Chapter 2. Ms. Crane is a white woman in her 60s who has lived in her house on a street lined with good-sized homes and manicured ya rds for over forty years. Her interview pathologizes the poor as carele ss and even destructive. Wh en asked about her views on mixed income housing, Ms. Crane related: Well that was probably be better than ju st projects And it would be better for their self-esteem to have a you know ho me-like environment instead of you know projects Of course, people are not going to take care of them. They even tore down a wrought-iron fence. They dont ca re. I dont know how people can be so uh destructive But if it doesnt belong to them they dont care. Ms. Cranes focus on self-esteem and the de structive behavior of the poor clearly reflects neoliberal ideology. Taking It Personally Rather than the numbers jugglin g de Goede (1996) describes in Newsweek articles on welfare reform, quite a few home owners related persona l anecdotes about a poor person or family that they knew in orde r to support their views of poverty. I will consider three specific examples here. Throughout her interview Ms. Bradley, whom I discussed previously, had much to say about Section 8 renter s who live in her townhouse co mmunity; she initiated this topic on her own. Ms. Bradley estimates that about half of the thir ty-five townhouses in her community are rented by Section 8 vouc her holders and views this as a major problem in the neighborhood:
188 One of the biggest problems that I did ha veI havent had it recently but I did have a big issue with itAre people who move here and lets s:ay (pauses) youre the person whos supposed to be on Secti on 8. But then you got all these other folks staying with you. And none of them are working and theyre just hanging. And that used to be a BIG issue for me. And it was so much so that I you know wrote letters to the Tampa Housing Authority about it Saying that there are people living there who I di dnt think that, you know, we re supposed to be living there. I mean, if you got. If youre so meone and you have sons who are eighteen, nineteen, and twenty, I d ont think you would have qualified to live on public assisted housing They were selling drugs. And you know, you saw the kids running up and down the road here. We just didnt need that in the neighborhood. So you know I wrote a letter to the Tamp a Housing Authority saying how I knew this ladys sons were selling dr:ugs and you know I didnt understand how she could be on public assistance, and if they ever do check, whats their procedure for people who live on public assistance. Do they come out and check to make sure that the people who are supposed to be living in the house are the people who are actually living in the house It wasnt that I didnt want the people here but if theyre notIf YOURE on public assist ance, then you dont need five adults living in your house because these people can WORK. And if youre not paying rent thats no incentive for them to wo rk. And that was my whole, my whole issue was that, OK, you got all these adults living here, most of them are m:en. And when I leave in the morning, theyre si tting there, and when I come back in the evening, theyre sitting there. (raises voice signifi cantly) And Im going to work every day for you to sit there?! Because guess whos paying for THEIR public assistance? The people who ARE work ing. And I did not appreciate it. These statements about poverty further reflec t Ms. Bradleys neolib eral understanding of the causes of poverty. She seems to see the pr oblem as a rejection of work by the poor. Particularly telling is her use of the term incentive toward the end of the interview excerptsuggesting that if Section 8 voucher holders had to pay rent, they would have an incentive to work. This is a term asso ciated with welfare reform discourses. It is significant that Ms. Bradley begins to raise her voice toward the end of the interview excerpt, when discussing how pers onally she takes what she perceives as a rejection of work by Section 8 voucher holders. She feels that as a taxpayer, she has a right to ask that voucher holde rs be regulatedand to feel wronged that they are not working. It is Ms. Bradleys personal expe riences with Section 8 voucher holders that
189 hardened her understandings of voucher hol ders and the poorsomething that is a common theme in many of the homeowner interviews. To her, as with many homeowners, these experiences seem to prove neoliberal discourses on dependency (and related issues) correct. Ms. Perez also related persona l observations about poverty: Yeah, but if you dont have the educati on, you know. I feel sorry that these people are having kids, I sell auto insura nce and you get these young girls theyre not married and they have three or four kids and you go (gestures). Whos paying for them? M:e, Yo:u. Like Ms. Bradley, Ms. Perez views the de pendency of voucher holders as personally damaging to her as a taxpayer. Mr. King too bases much of his perspec tive on a personal experience he has had with a voucher holder: I got a sister and and I love her to DEATH. My oldest sister is (pauses) Im 44 shes probably 47. Shes been with a man THIRTY-FIVE years and shes been living that Section 8 thing for a period of time. When her lights go out and he move in with another girlfriend, right And she she came here one time and asked. I aint I cant help you. Now sh e done a few, my wife tried to tell her about a program that would assist her. Now Im a firm believer, my dad said you can do anything in this world you want to do, but if you let somebody continue to doLike I used to have a grudge against that guy. Today hes my best friend. Youre the one with the problem. Why you let him do that? You know my sisters been living o ff of, AND SHES ABLE TO DO WORK And her daughter done growed up and had tw o children and SHES living the same way. So you know I havent seen a whole bunc h of stuff in my life and I feel like I tell my wife, its not my problem. I got these here to raise and I want them to live and grow up to live a good life you know so. Mr. King cites his personal experience with his sister to support stereotypes about poverty promoted through neoliberal discours es. She abuses the system by allowing her boyfriend to live with her ev en though she receives public assistance. His comments
190 above reflect a neoliberal unde rstanding of dependency (liv ing off of) and undeserving poor (SHES ABLE TO DO WORK). Agency Examining agency in homeowners discus sions of poverty and affordable housing is an important way of understanding their views. Although dominant discourses may emphasize the passivity of the poor (de Go ede 1999), homeowner discourses provide a more complex understanding. For instance, Mr. King, in the interview excerpt quoted above, seems to imply that his sister has agencytha t she chooses to remain in th is situationand this is why he feels he can no longer help her. However, he presents his siste rs daughter as being the passive victim of he r mothers choices. Issues of agency emerged in the interv iew with Ms. Bradley, as she discussed issues related to Section 8 voucher holders in Greenwood a s econd time in the interview, when talking about changes in the neighborhood over the past five years: I would fight with you know the Housing Authority, the county, trying to find out how are you regulating these people, and what are you doing to make sure that they are looking for JOBS? And someone said there was a program where eventually you, its a program and eventu ally you get off it. So, you know, some of these people it should have expired by now. (laughs) They are certainly able to go to work everyday. But um the last five years have been probably the most difficult for me because when I fi rst moved in it was a WONDERFUL neighborhood and I loved the diversity. A nd now, its not that I DONT like it. Its not that I dislike th e diversity. I dislike what I see happening to the neighborhood. You know, I dislike theY ou really cant be mad at the children as more as being mad at the parents, because theyre only really doing what the parents allow them to do. You know, if the motherYou know, these parents know when their children are selling drugs. You know, they know theyre not going to school every day. You know, th eyThey know if theyre out there throwing paper around and all of those things So, I think Im just very disgusted probably with the parents situ ation more than the children.
191 Ms. Bradley seems to view voucher holders as possessing a considerable amount of agencywhile she represents herself as a victim of what is happening to the neighborhood. For instance, her neighbors choosing not to work even though they are able. In addition, Ms. Bradleys repetiti on of the phrase they know (or in one case these parents know) illustrates her per ception of voucher holders as having agency (choosing poverty and p oor parenting). However, previously in the interviewin an interview excerpt quoted above as an example of neoliberal unders tandings of povertyMs. Bradle y portrays the poor as very passive. For instance, she states: You know, I just think that when we accept people into low-income housing they need to know that its temporary. And I think when we put them there, we dont explain to them that this is supposed to be temporary, because if they knew that it was temporary, then their minds would start to think on day one, you know, I have to be out of here, by da y number whatever that day is. Here we (presumably homeowners or the general public) is the group represented as having agency or taking action: accept pe ople and put them. Even Ms. Bradleys description of the change in mentality th at she would expect from voucher holders depicts them passively. For instance, she states that their minds would start to thinkalmost as if the mind was separate from the person (who is not seen as changing or taking action). This repres entation is furthered later in the excerpt, when Ms. Bradley states: And when people move into public assisted housing, they look at is as a permanent thing, so they dont have any dream s of moving on, because you havent told them that they need to move on. So I if th ere is any type, you have to change the way people think. She believes that voucher holders have to be told to have dreams; she also gives us (in this case you ) the agency to change the way voucher holders think.
192 Ms. Cranes interview also expressed c onflicting perspectives on the issue of agency. When asked what she sees as the best solution for housing very low-income families, she responded: Well, the individual home s would be nice if they could be you know like government assisted. But it definitely shoul d be some classes in how to take care of property. And rules that they could not stay there if they did not take care of the property. There should be inspections I thi nk. And then theyll take care of it. When you look a little in the projects they had inspections. They had to keep them up. But I dont know if they do that now or not. This is yet another example of Ms. Cranes emphasis on regul ating the pathological poor. However, while in her previous discussion of the destructive behavi or of voucher holders she suggests that they dont care about propert y that they do not own, in this interview excerpt Ms. Crane suggests that in addition to regulation, voucher holders need to be taught how to take care of property (and in this way are actually not choosing to be destructive). Distinctions Throughout their interviews, Greenw ood homeowners made very clear distinctions between themselves (us) and low-income renters (them). These discourses of making distinctions often appear especially strong in cases where such a clear division might not be obviousfor inst ance, if the homeowne r is struggling to maintain his/her middle-class status, which th ese days is becoming increasingly difficult. These statements of distinction seem rela ted to homeowners a sserting and therein maintaining their social identities (Barth 1969). Ms. Perezs interview was full of statemen ts of distinction. For instance, when asked if she was acquainted w ith anyone who moved out of the College Hill or Ponce de
193 Leon public housing complexes, she responded: NO. No no no no. I work for a living. In this way, Ms. Perez suggests that former residents of public housing do not workand would therefore not fall within her social circle. Similarly, when asked what she thought about role modeling in mixed income neighborhoods, Ms. Perez stated: I think the more middle-class people are so busy doing their job that they dont have time to be a role model. You know, I get up early I go to work and sometimes Im not home until 8:00 so what kind of role model am I? Im never there. Im working, you know as opposed to hanging around watching Jerry Springer. At 4:00 in the afternoon. I m not making an example because Im not there. But Im working And some people got two jobs just to make their home payment or their car payment, whatever. Theyre working. Here she supports a firm binary of us versus themassociating homeowners with work and Section 8 voucher holders with hanging around watching Jerry Springer. Like Ms. Perez, Mr. and Mrs. King live in a very modest home on 20th Street. This couple openly admitted to having been addicts and having experienced economic instability in the pastwhich makes their statements of distin ction particularly interesting. When the couple was asked wh at they thought was the best solution for housing low-income people, Mrs. King responded: I dont know what to tellWell right now I say to continue to help them with the vouchers, with the vouchers so they can try to move in to sufficient housing to take care of their kids and stuff like that but whether what community to put them in I really cant say beca use you know it looks like the city is going to pretty much do what they want to do anyway. Re gardless. And were just going to put our opinion in on it. But I dont know, I r eally wouldnt know what to say or how to handle that besides just keep helpi ng them the people with the vouchers and placing them in places. I would be Im okay with them being able to move here, because I remember when I had to have that help. And so I would love to have been able to put my kids in a decent co mmunity. And I did, I got a chance to do that put them in a decent community, a nd uh use a voucher. And I was okay with that because I was one of those parents that was CONCERNED. But I mean, like I was saying you get parents now that don t care. They move somewhere and it doesnt matter, they still going to act the same way they acted when they was living over there they goi ng to act that way when they go somewhere else.
194 Through her discussion, Mrs. King clearly di stinguishes between the deserving and undeserving poor. She implies that when she was a voucher holder, she had been of the deserving variety, along with other mothe rs who care and thos e without background problems. Mrs. King went on to relate these issues to the presence of voucher holders in Greenwood: But as far as them coming in my nei ghborhood I am okay with it as long as they stay on their grounds and we stay on our grounds and we just c ontinue, andAnd the city helps us keep this as safe as possible by putting the lighting up. The police keep doing the area lik e, like they do. They go around and monitor the area, just continue to monitor the area s where you all put them. You know and as far as code enforcement, I dont think that s a lot necessary unless people call in and complain, that hey these people next door got like five or six cars just sitting in their yard and they ALL BROKE DOWN. Then at that point I think code enforcement does need to kick in and he lp out. But just going around and tapping on people for little things lik e they do I dont think its ne cessary. Over here. Its not that bad over here. And I dont see a lot of houses on this street. Do you? With cars parked in their yard? And the mailman believe me he complain about whatever he want to complain about. Because he right now hes upset cause our mailbox is right here on this wall and its not out there by that road. And if he was code enforcement hed probably give us a big ticket. (laughs) Yeah. But otherwise I dont think its theres no big need for the code enforcement. As far as for the people that theyre helpi ng I think the best th ing is to continue doing the vouchers like theyre doing, and tr y to help them to the best that they can. And just dont put them out an d not give them ANYWHERE to go And also mixing them with with people who are paying rent and not paying rent, I think they have to monitor, not monitor but screen. They need to do a more specific screening. Maybe on the peoples background where they was moving them from and moving them to, maybe ch eck their background and see how they kept their apartment or HOW they paid thei r rent. And that kind of thing. And if they want then those people they woul d maybe do a census inside the Section 8 office and say these people were always good with doing what they had for Section 8, well place them over here with these type of people. And then set those apartments up for only those type of people.
195 In this interview excerpt, Mrs. King conti nues to make very specific distinctions between low-income renters and homeown ers, between real neighborhood problems (like five or six cars just sitting in their ya rd and they ALL BROKE DOWN) and those that should be overlooked (the placement of a mailbox), and betw een the deserving and undeserving poor. It is interesting that she suggests that there is a spatial separation between homeowners and Section 8 renters ev en though she does not live in a fenced and gated area of the neighborhood. In additi on, the complex is immediately across the street, and Mrs. King even mentions elsewher e in the interview that sometimes her child plays with children who live in the complex. She seems to be describing a distinction that she recognizes but th at others may not. It is interesting that Mrs. King shifts from a discu ssion of the neighborhood being monitored to protect homeowners from lo w-income rentersto the topic of code enforcement, which she feels should be less active in the neighborhood. She is clear that there have been some complaints about her own home (in particul ar the mailbox), and she is making a distinction that she and he r husband should not fall into the category of people who are regulated. I find Mrs. Kings sh ift here very significan t, given the context that she and her husband woul d likely not fall into the ca tegory of middle-class homeowners and find it necessary to consisten tly make distinctions between themselves and others. Toward the end of the excerpt, Mrs. Ki ng discusses distinctions between the deserving and undeserving poor. She is in favor of mixed income housing if only the deserving (which she refers to as these/t hose type of people) would be moved into these neighborhoodsthose who pass backgroun d checks, pay their rent on time, and
196 take care of their apartments. Again, this relates back to Mrs. Kings own identification with the category of deserv ing poor in her past. Ms. Black was also a renter in recent memory. She relates her views on the distinctions between renters and owners in the following interview excerpt: OK it goes right back to what I wanted to say what I said befo re. If theyre going to do that, they just dont bring those people out of lo w-income housing just place them there without putting them through some kind of training and program and telling them, this is what this area is like and in order for you to stay here, these are the rules and regulations that you must you know abide by Because they ARE coming out of an environment wherein you know almost anything was acceptable and now youre going into a totally, totally different environment. So they need to be TAUGHT .They need to be educated. Thats it. Thats the word that I need to say. They really do. B ecause it it really bothers me. It does. It affects me. When I see this happenin g. They dont takePEOPLE DONT TAKE PRIDE in themselves. Or in the places that they live. Because I remember when I was renting. You know I rented an apartm ent. (tone becomes more emotional) I kept that apartment just like I keep my house. Because that was my APARTMENT. And I lived there. And I took pride in it. I thi nk it has a lot to do with your foundation your upbringing too. I think that has a lo t to do with it. When the when theIn the home when a foundation is laid, whatever that environment is in your home, you become a part of that. I truly believe that. Ms. Black too makes a clea r distinction between vouche r holders and homeowners, focusing on the deplorable behavior of th e poor, saying that in public housing almost anything was acceptable. Like a couple of pr evious homeowner interviewees discussed in this chapter, she sees the need for voucher holders to be trained in how to function in neighborhoods like Greenwood. She sees vouche r holders as being a product of their environments or upbringings rather than havi ng agency. It is interesting that for Ms. Black, the distinction between renter and owne r begins to break down as in her recent memory she has been both.
197 It is important to note how Ms. Black sees these issues as relating to her. She says that when she sees poor renters not a dhering to neighborhood expectations: It really bothers me. It does. It affects me. When I see this happening. They dont takePEOPLE DONT TAKE PRIDE in themselves. This is when the tone of the interview intensifies and when she discusses her own e xperiences as a renter, her tone is quite emotional. This is similar to several of the previous interviewees interviewed who take the dependency or behavior of others very personally. Ms. Bradleys use of we and them in a previously discussed interview excerpt is another example of these di stinctions. She says when we accept them into lowincome housing and when we put them there (my emphasis). Like many of the interviewees previously di scussed, Ms. Bradley lives in a modest homeand even discussed in the interview th e exceptionally low price for wh ich she was able to buy the townhouse. As a small business owner, it is likely that Ms. Bradley was not comfortably middle-class. Although it is not the case for every home owner interviewee, it seems that many of the strongest discourses of distinction came from African American and Hispanic homeowners. These discourses are likely preval ent in situations of insecurity in the social hierarchy. In the current economic context this includes most who consider themselves to be middle-classand, in the present climate, this means many whites. Although the above discussion of discourse s relating to distinctions focused primarily on class, racial and gendered dis tinctions are also pr esent in the Greenwood homeowner interviews. While most do not e xplicitly discuss race (but rather class instead), considering the context of the ch ange in neighborhood racial composition as
198 well as the neoliberal cult ural construction of personhood discussed in Chapter Two, discussions of poverty tend to implicitly re ference the stereotype of the poor, African American, single mother. There were seve ral times, however, when homeowners did mention gender explicitly. Ms. Bradleys depi ction of the poor and bad parenting focuses specifically on bad mothers as a cause of neighborhood problems. Ms. Perezs comments also reflect a very gendered stereotype about povertypoor single mothers having too many children. Although neoliberal discourse s tend to refer to poor African American women, Greenwood homeowners do often discu ss (presumably African American) men specifically. This was certainly the case with some of the di scourses on neighborhood social order in Chapter Six. In addition, Ms. Bradley specifically me ntions the ability of able-bodies adults (in pa rticular men) to work. Ideological Contestations Through an examination of homeowner di scourses it become s apparent that neoliberal ideology is both embraced a nd contested by Greenwood homeowners. In many cases, homeowners espouse neoliberal ideology except when it applies to their neighborhood. Neoliberal ideology may be he gemonic but, through the micro-discourses of Greenwood homeowners, cont estations can be observed. A strong example of both a subscription to and rejection of neo liberal ideology is that despite Ms. Bradleys previous nega tive discourses on low-income renters in Greenwood, when asked specifically about HOP E VI, she clearly espoused neoliberal rhetoric. Ms. Bradley related: Ms. Bradley: I think HOPE VI is a great (p auses) project. What happens is when you put these people out into, into the regular neighborhoods, I think thats a good
199 thing too. Although I dont like some of the things that I see here. I see how THESE people are LEARNING from being submerged, or integrated into these type of neighborhoods, you know, they understand that they cant Interviewer: You think that they get role models? Ms. Bradley: RIGHT. They see people going to work every day. They see families, you know, being together. They see two-parent families. They see you know single mothers who are really trying to make their lives better. You know, they, they see these things. You cant liv e in these types of neighborhoods and not see these things. So over a period of a time, and hopefully over a period of time, theyre saying to themselves, OK, I need to get a job. I need to do better for family. You know, mentally in their mi nd, hopefully theyre saying all of these things. So, um. I just, hopefully I think HOPE VI many years down the road will do exactly what they want it to do. Uh right now I think its just planting the seed. Despite her previous negative statements concerning the imposition of Section 8 renters in Greenwood, here Ms. Bradley suppor ts neoliberal ideology as she discusses HOPE VI. She views the solution to upward mo bility in terms of self-esteem or selfempowermentor in her words, hopefully over a period of time, theyre saying to themselves, OK, I need to get a job. I need to do better for my family. However, she clearly contradicts herself in this discussion of how these people are learning for being submerged, or integrated into neighbor hoods like Greenwood. This contrasts with her personal experiences with Section 8 voucher holders. Also, she advocates changing peoples minds through ro le modeling here rather than providing incentives through regulation (as in a previous excerpt). These disjunctures within Ms. Bradleys interview speak to the contested nature of these ideas. In addition to simply em bracing neoliberal ideology, she also draws on liberal ideas such as multiculturalism (di versity) (Goede 2001:374-375). Similarly, her emphasis on the role of the Housing Authority in regulating Section 8 voucher holders (in
200 an interview excerpt presented previously in the chapter) would not seem to be in line with neoliberal ideology, which instead promotes self -regulation. While Ms. Perez supports neoliberal id eology in many ways, unlike Ms. Bradley she is critical of mixed income housing programs like HOPE VI: Ms. Perez: The only thing you know its th e whole thing. The poor well have always. No matter where you put them, if theyre not going to try to better themselves then its going to mean th e same wretched situation no matter what you do. To put them in New Tampa into $200,000 homes. Ashley: Why wouldnt that work? Ms. Perez: Because. They wouldnt relate I think theyd just go back to doing their own thing or, you know, theyre renti ng so they dont care if the place gets whatever. But Im not God maybe theres a way to do that, you know. In addition, as mentioned previously, Ms. Pe rez rejected the idea of role modeling in mixed income communities because the hom eowners would be busy working while the Section 8 renters stayed at home (watching television). Similarly, Ms. Crane remarked that vouchers seemed like a good idea, but she didnt think that role modeling was realistic as people are so concerned with taking care of themselves. Ms. Smith is a white high school guidan ce counselor in her 40s who has lived alone in the gated Bradford Park Condominium s for more than twenty years. For much of that time, she worked at Robinson High School. Recently she has become involved in the board at her condominium complex, and has opposed some of the decisions that James, a previous board member and initia tor of the installati on of gates among other significant expenditureshas ma de. Ms. Smiths interview contained tensions between an embracing of liberal multicultura lism and neoliberal ideology. Regarding the neighborhoods changes, Ms. Smith reflected:
201 That change also would not have affected me as much because I work in schools. IveIve been twenty-five years in mu lticultural populations. I mean it isnt like all of the sudden one day ImIm you know with Black and Hispanic people Ive been a Hillsborough County public school teacher for twenty-five years. The schools have been integrated. I went to schools as an integrated student you know...So I mean to be you know mixed or you know its its justI mean to see multi-racial situations it is just a given for me. Thats just a very comfortable daily occurrence. Um. You know so. I guess the neighborhood changed. I didnt really have a full feel for that. Ms. Smith repeated her comfort with multiculturalism several times during the interview. She discussed how multiculturali sm works in the schools in which she has worked. She talked about kids that have problems but these problems are not racial: They do something and theyre a behavioral problem. You know they dont integrate easily or you knowThen you have kids like they say, I hate the kids at this school. Its not like a ki d ever says to me, I hate black people. I never hear that. Or I hate Hispanic people. I never hear anybody say that. Theyll just say I hate people. Its general behavior, its not racially directed. I hate what people are doing. I dont think they really see the color, beca use all the kids in Hillsborough County schools have gone to school multiculturally since day one. I mean you cant go up to any kid and sa y, Have you ever met a white person, ever seen a black person, a Spanish pe rson, and ask them Have you ever seen an Islamic person. The answer to that, is Yes, yes, and yes. Here Ms. Smith espouses the liberal idea of colorblindness and r acial harmony. While there have been no news reports of racia lly motivated violent acts at Robinson High School, one local newspaper ar ticle written by TeensLife co rrespondents reported that a number of students feel that certain t eachers at the school play into racial stereotypingfor instance, that there are hi gher expectations for achievement for certain groups than others (Chase and Hafeez 2000). Although the previous intervie w excerpt clearly reflecte d liberalism, when asked what she thought the best so lution to housing low-income families was, Ms. Smiths response clearly reflects neoliberal ideology:
202 I think some home care classes or a program um some kind of like even like a coop program or something where we dont ju st put people in a home that have never had a home. Um. It sounds very nice to give people a home. There are many programs that do that. And Habitat for Humanity and all that. But youre putting people in a scenario theyve neve r been in so unless theyre given some support and you learn uh you dont have a conc ept of what to take care of and what to maintain. A LOT of house care is maintenance. Regular routine maintenance to PREVENT major catastrophes or things wearing out or um how to be uh economical in your use of things so th at they LAST and things like that. So I think that its its not just putti ng people in a neighborhood or in a house if theyve never been in house but they need to have some kind of classes or training or support or lessons or (pauses) a BUDDY a mentor, somebody that either checks in with them or is kind of like a big brother Home Depo t person. (laughs) Like several other intervie wees, Ms. Smith is advocati ng not only homeownership but educationand even role modeling (a big br other Home Depot person) on how to take care of a home. Ms. Smith does, however, go on to address some of the economic reasons a poor person might have difficulty ma intaining his/her propertyin contrast to the neoliberal focus on behavior and individual responsibility: You can give them the house and allowance but do they also have the income and the cash flow for the day to day stuff that goes with that. You know. I mean its lovely to have a better place to live. But do you have the other financial means to buy garbage bags and proper garbage faciliti es or a garbage disposal or cleaning supplies you know. And do you know to do th at? And is that a lifestyle that you know your willing to do. If youve neve r mowed grass Im not a low-income example of that but you know going from a condo to a house that is a significant piece I have to think about. OR I need to have the financial means to hire a service to maintain property as that comm unity expects it to be maintained. That has not been my lifestyle EVER. Because Ive been a condominium liver and I went from my dads home where I wa s taken of Now BECAUSE I came from that environment and I have a good intelligence I know to ask or read books or turn on Bob Villa on the TV and do someth ing about it and not just sit there and watch my you know. And I have a community sense because I have skills elsewhere. But this is not necessarily th e lifestyle that a person has. They may not have other skills to transfer over. So I think that its not just a matter of putting people in a home. They need the training or the support on how to maintain it. And then what youre really doing is fo r the next generation. And the children also see that because where are they going to This is why its very hard to break these cycles. Because the next generation doesnt see anything different or
203 improved. They dont know anything diffe rent. If youve been a child and always lived in Section 8 where is your concept of saving for a mortgage? How would you know ever to do that. Where w ould you learn that? And those are the things Im saying I think happen more in th e in the home. Its fine to say OK I see my neighbors and they have this ho me. But what youre not seeing is how those neighbors saved their m oney how they got their job to get that home. That maybe they lived in an apartment with nothing. You know. This is my third home. This is the only home thats had furniture. You know. I owned a home with nothing. Well you know when youre twenty you can do that Its not a simple matter of Yeah just heres mo re money go live in a nice neighborhood. If you dont know how to func tion in that neighborhood (pauses) you will not rise up. You will succumb to what you know best. In this last part of the excerpt, Ms. Smith returns to neoliberal explanations of poverty in terms of the cycle of poverty (a different lifestyle, break these cycles and the tendency to succumb to what you know best). However, she is also critical of the idea of role modeling through livi ng in a mixed income neighborhood. Intersections (and Disjunctures) Among Discourses Greenwood homeowner interviews do echo macro level neoliberal discourses on poverty and low-income housing in many ways. In fact, all of the homeowner interviews included some instances of neoliberal discour ses. Examples include explanations of poverty as having to do with pathological be havior and dependency and solutions for poverty than involve education, homeownershi p, and building self-esteem. Homeowners often supported their claims about neolib eral understandings of poverty by citing personal experiences wi th poor individuals. Also in support of neoliber al ideology, out of the tw enty homeowner interviews, only a few mentioned structural issues. Fo r instance, while embracing the rhetoric of homeownership, Greenwood homeowners do not acknowledge the problems created by sub-prime schemes that have placed many lowincome persons and families in precarious
204 positions while meanwhile making hedge funds in credibly profitable. In terms of those who did discuss structural issu es, one interviewee not previous ly discussed in this chapter mentioned the poor housing market as a barrier to affordable housing. Another mentioned how easy it is to lo se ones housing and how importa nt a safety net of social services is. This interviewee also made re ference to the poor state of the economy. In addition, Ms. Smith, whose interview was disc ussed in-depth above, indicated that in addition to training in how to care for a house, another barrier to home maintenance is the cash flow such maintenance requires. In a sense further detracting from structural issues, homeowners make clear distinctions between themselves and those who are poorespecially when this distinction might be called into question (for instance, when a homeowner would not be considered solidly middle-income)). While neoliberalism is hegemonic, examin ing micro level discourses reveals that neoliberalism is far from totalizing and homoge neous. Despite their discourses so clearly reflecting neoliberal ideol ogy, Greenwood homeowners can al so be seen to challenge neoliberalism in certain ways. However, ma ny homeowners also challenged neoliberal ideas by deploying liberal ideology or rejecti ng neoliberal policies based on NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard). For instance, a couple of the interviewees discussed above drew on liberal ideas of multiculturalism. Se veral criticized the policy of mixed income housing. A few thought the role modeling in particular was unrealisticor that the policy was not practical in other ways. Si milarly, while dominant discourses represent the poor as passive, homeowners vary (even with in one interview) in their depictions of the poor as possessing or lacking agency.
205 Greenwood HOPE VI Relocatee Discourses Greenwood HOPE VI relocatees also bot h embraced and contested neoliberal discourses. However, their discussions of HOPE VI and re lated policies in interviews were not as lengthy as those of homeowners. I will examine the six themes present in the homeowner interviews in six of the relocat ee interviews: neolib eral understandings of poverty; a pathologized depi ction of the poor; personalized observations about poverty (or taking it personally ); the agency (or lack of agency ) of the poor; the construction of distinctions based on race, cla ss, and gender; and the presence of ideological contestation in discussions of neoliberal po licies. These selected interviews represent a range of age groups and relocation sites within Greenwood. Examining relocatee discourses is especi ally complex because Section 8 voucher holders are treated as the objects of scorn by homeowners (and in the mainstream media) and can be seen to reflect these same eval uations of the poor. Relocatees therefore support neoliberal ideology in many ways in or der to distance themselves from the poor. However, it should not then be assumed that they wholeheartedly ag ree with neoliberal ideas. Ms. Baker Ms. Baker, a mother of two in her mi d-twenties, who lives at Harbor Pointe Apartments, gave a very mixed review of her experience with HOPE VI. However, she clearly supports neoliberal ideology in numerous ways in the interview. Ms. Baker had lived in Ponce de Leon fo r just two years before being relocated and rates her new living situation overall as be ing about the same as in Ponce. However, when asked about living in a mixed income community, Ms. Baker a sserted that it was
206 positive: Yeah because it it really gives me something to to thrive for to know where I WAS living compared to now. Its like(l aughs) I dont know its like Its not really like luxury luxury but it is bett er. You know what Im sayin g. When she was asked if HOPE VI had changed her life for the better, she responded: Yeah. Because I probably would still be living in the projects. Wh en asked if her employment situation had improved, she answered affirmatively: Well, instead of taking a five dollar job. A five dollar an hour job. Even though this [her j ob at a daycare] dont pay THAT much more. But, I still would probably be working in [t he seafood restaurant]. You know. Barely making it. I mean, I am barely making it now but you know. Ms. Bakers ambivalence about the HOPE VI program is clearand her life has clearly not changed dramatically. However, she continues to promote her HOP E VI experience (leaving the projects) as positive. Despite her experiences, Ms. Baker supports the programs rhetoric. Ms. Bakers unyielding support of neolib eral ideology becomes even clearer when one of the researchers in terviewing Ms. Baker asked if perhaps she herself was also responsible for the changes she described (i n addition to the HOPE VI program) and Ms. Baker, even though she worked when sh e lived in public housing, responded: W:ell it could be. It could be. It could be. But its the environment too. Because if you dont work, if you have a history down your generation of getting SSI, you know what Im saying. Then that kinds of like rub on me, not to work not to do this and. But if its a better envi ronment where everybody works and everybody helps then that kind of like motivate me to motivate you to doDo you know what Im saying? Here Ms. Baker describes public housing in te rms of dependencyand to a certain extent pathological behavior. Elsewhere in the in terview, Ms. Baker clearly states that her family never lived in public housingwhich makes her comments about having a
207 history down your generation of getting SSI pa rticularly interesting. She seems to be supporting this rhetoric even t hough it does not apply to her. Similarly, she suggests that her new environment has motivated her to do moreeven though she was working consistently while livi ng in public housing. When asked where she would prefer to li ve if she could live anywhere in the county, Ms. Baker emphasized her desire to live in a housee ither renting with a Section 8 voucher or through a homeownership program She also hoped to one day own her own floral shop, although she was currently work ing in a day care. In the meantime, she planned to take night classe s to pursue her Child Devel opment Associates Credential (CDA) in childcare. These goals are very much in line with neoliberal self-sufficiency programs that encourage women to pursue traini ng for jobs that will likely not pay high enough for them to make ends meetparticularly if they want to own a home. Ms. Baker said that she thought her children had better opportunities since relocating: Because when you live in the proj ects you have to stay there until you move to another a different one. Bu t with Section 8 you can go anyw here. Its like freedom of choice. Ms. Bakers emphasis on choice here reflects an important connection to macro level neoliberal discourses that construct so cial service recipients as consumers with choice. While she did not describe hersel f as having agency in public housing (you have to stay there until you move to a di fferent one), as a Section 8 voucher holder she views herself as possessing the agency to go anywhere. This is a term found in several relocatee interviewsyet not in the inte rviews with homeowners even though macro discourses on these issues often frame the solution to poverty and affordable housing in
208 this way. While low-income renters certainly do have agency, this pa rticular discourse of choice also reflects Ms. Bakers view of herself as a neoliberal subject. Ms. Baker distances herself (or makes a distinction) from others receiving housing assistance and other social services in several portions of the interview. For instance, in her participation in the keep to myself discourse discussed in Chapter Seven; she related that in Ponce, The neighbor s, I didnt really talk to them. Like every now and then but I was likeI didnt want to get too personal with people. You know? She further distances herself from being asso ciated with public housing in her discussion of why she did not utilize L ee Davis, the medical center lo cated across the street from Ponce de Leon and College Hill: Its justI dont know its just I cant I cant go to Lee Davis knowing that You got gonorrhea and you got syphilis its justYou know what Im saying? I justI cant label it but to me that was just nasty. (laughs) I: So its an all-purpose clinic? Ms. Baker: Yeah. Yeah. Its all-purpose. I: And you know lots of people who use it for STD treatment? Ms. Baker: Yeah. Or pregna ncy and its justI dont wa nt to be categorized as people living in the projects. Basicall y. You know what Im saying? Because I wasntI wasnt raised in the proj ects so. The majority of everybody thats raised there is like confined there because thats all they know. You know what Im saying? I just I refuse to be that. Ms. Bakers statements echo dominant neol iberal discourses that demonize public housing for perpetuating a culture of poverty a nd lauding any alternativ e living situation. Ms. Baker also supports the neoliberal emphasis on individual responsibility and homeownership and the neoliberal constr uction of the poor as self-empowered consumers. In addition, she rejects an associ ation with public housing or social services. Her representation of herself as someone who did not socialize with most of her public housing neighbors seems to serve this function as well. However, in her discussion of
209 her own experiences with HOPE VI, Ms. Bake r does seem somewhat conflicted in terms of the outcome. Ms. Clark Ms. Joyce Clark is a grandmother in her 40s who lives at Harbor Pointe Apartments. Like many other relocatees, in her interview, she provided a mixed evaluation of HOPE VI and part icipated in the discourse of keeping to ones self. She said she was glad they tore down Ponce, wh ich had been her home for seventeen years, because she wanted something better. Ho wever, she did find Ponce to be a more convenient location. Ms. Clar ks brief response is charac teristic of several HOPE VI relocatees interviewed. Here she can be seen to support neoliberal ideas about the benefits of moving out of public housingwhile also expressing some of the benefits of public housing. Ms. Berry Ms. Berry, who is in her 30s, is a moth er of three. Before moving to the Apartments at Plantation Homes, she had lived in Ponce almost all of her life. Like most of the HOPE VI relocatees we interviewe d, Ms. Berry had a conflicting response to questions about HOPE VI. While she implie d that living at Plantation Homes is not much of a difference from living in Ponce, sh e then stated that she would recommend the HOPE VI program to others. When asked if she wanted to add anyt hing she thought would be important for others to know about HOPE VI, Ms. Berry responded, To really be careful where you know the environment you choose to live in. To be cautious of that. One of the
210 interviewers followed up this statement by as king her if she felt she had had a choice about moving to Plantation Homes and Ms. Berry responded: Yes I had a CHOICE. I had a CHOICE. A nd like I stated before, its because of my pregnancy II dont want to say I HAD to come here butI chose to come here because I wasYou know the pregna ncy was giving me a lot of problems. And so I had to be close to my famil y. You know. But I didnt want to move here. I didnt want to move here! I really wanted to go furtherI really wanted to go into Brandon. From the start. But you know by the complications in the pregnancy I just just came on here. The time was running out. Ms. Berrys discussion of choice here is im portant. She introduces the concept by in the first statement about the environment you choose to live in. However, when asked if she did have a choice in where to live, Ms. Berry seems unsureeven though she repeats twice the phrase I had a CHOICE, with emphasis on the word choice. Her choice was in part constrained by her diffi cult pregnancy but also because she had to relocate in a certain amount of time. Ms. Be rry made the most bene ficial choice possible given the circumstances. However, her stat ements also seem to be connected to neoliberal subjectivities. Like Ms. Baker, Ms. Berry also distingui shes herself from others in similar situations. For instance, in expressing her skepticism about moving to Belmont Heights Estates, the new HOPE VI development, because of what she has seen driving by: You know when you pass through there you see so me of the neighbors hanging out. ALREADY. And I dont know if thats a good thi ng or not. Ms. Berry explains to two of my research colleagues w ho were interviewing her, both African American women: Im trying to get away fromIts its bad to say this. Us or Black people. You know some of those Black people dont know how to act. This is a fascinating and meaningful exchange. Here she seems to us e race as a way of associating herself with
211 a higher socioeconomic class. While the African American women interviewing her share the racial identity that she claims sh e wants to dissociate herself, she seems to assume that the interviewers are middle-cl ass and therefore Bl ack people who know how to act. Through this statement she s eems to align herself with the middle-class interviewers while playing into pathologized representations of poor African Americans. In these narratives, Ms. Berry embraces th e neoliberal ideology of choiceeven though her responses suggest that her choices we re limited. In addition, her concern with people hanging out outside of Belmont Height s Estates is very similar to homeowners ideas about social order and disorder discussed in Chapter Six. She seems to be distinguishing between a dese rving and undeserving poorand associating herself with the deserving. This may also account for her statement that she wants to get away from Black people. Ms. Harris Ms. Harris, a grandmother in her 50s, also lives at Plantation Homes. She is a patient sitter at the hospital and may also begin cleaning houses soon for $12 an hour. While she firmly maintained that College Hi ll, her home for twenty-four years, should have been renovated rather than torn dow n, when asked if HOPE VI had improved her life, she responded that it did: Ye:ah, in a way it would be [better] but sometime when you go other places, its no better than where you just left from. You know what Im saying. So thats why I TRIED to find a a place where you know there would be no kids fighting and you know the kids going to have an environment where they could feel comfortable and get a good education and you know aint got no drugs and stuff or whatever you know? Thats what type of neighborhood REALLY you know. Because a lot of times when we was where we was at, sometime the kids couldnt go out, unless other kids taking what they had, or they want to fight you because
212 you wont let them, the kids wont let th em, wont let you play with what you know. They tear up their stuff, you know. And it was like OK. SG: Did you think this is a better pl ace for kids than College Hill was? Ms. Harris: Yeah. I say yeah. And then you know. I feel like it is. It is. SG: Do you think HOPE VI has brought you cl oser to that goal [of moving to a better neighborhood]? Ms. Harris: For wanting better better? Mmhm. Yeah to better. But I always wanted betterness, but I wa snt ABLE to, you know with the, fees that they want for staying in this place you know these pla ces. So youI just you knowThis is good. This is good. Real good. (laughs) REAL GOOD. Ms. Harris provides a conflicted depiction of HOPE VI. Even though Ms. Harris finally remarks that Plantation Homes is good, even real good, her previous comments suggest that she did not end up in the ne ighborhood she was hoping for. Her statement that sometime when you go other places, its no better than where you just left and her emphasis on TRIED, in discussing her goals ar e telling. However, in her discussion of wanting betterness, Ms. Harris emphasizes that although she had the vision of a different life, she had not previously ha d the agency to make such a change. Like with the previous two interviews discussed, Ms. Harris seems conflicted about her living situatio n after HOPE VI. While she states that she is hap py where she is, Ms. Harris also implies that her living situati on is less than ideal. Ms. Harris also seems unsure about how much agency she possesses in these choices. However, she truly challenges neoliberal ideology by suggesting that College Hill and Ponce could have been renovated rather than torn down. Ms. Sears Ms. Sears, an elderly woman who lived in College Hill for 37 years and after living in Riverview Estates, a condominium complex in Greenwood, moved into Belmont
213 Heights Estates. Ms. Sears likes her new living situation in her old neighborhood. For the most part, she clearly supports neo liberal ideology in her interview. Ms. Sears perceives that a different type of people are living in the mixed income Belmont Heights Estates than befo re when it was public housing: Working peoples, not standing out on th e porches you know. And much cleaner looking so far like I said. Yeah I woul d say its a different environment with some of them. Yeah because, like I said I think my neighbors work you know. Theyre working peoples. Back then you know you had a lot of people who werent working for some reason. It just seems like a different environment for some of them. Ms. Sears clearly makes a distinction between a deserving and undeserving poor in this passage. Those who have moved to the new development are deservingnot standing on the porches, clean, and working. Ms. Sears s characterization of herself as not very visit friendly when she lived in College Hill (she would speak to people but did not socialize much) may also relate to this distinction. Although Ms. Searss experience was proba bly the most positive we encountered, she did provide a critical comment when as ked if she had any t houghts on how HOPE VI could be made better or could ha ve been implemented differently: I dont know because you know I was thinking you know reading over there too and the peoples were sayingIm sure it happened here in College Hill. They wont be able to come back or you know have nowhere to stay or to live. And some of those people are very old. They dont have no income or whatever to move back. So that part would be ki nd of difficult and down to me you know. Like I say I was just lucky to be one of the ones that kept things up but everybody not that fortunate, so, I think it should be that they can come back. To SOMEWHERE. Move them somewhere nice or they can come back or something yeah. Even though the program lived up to her expectations, Ms. Se ars knows that to a certain extent she is an exception. Although sh e upholds notions about a deserving and
214 undeserving poor, here she questions the HOPE VI developments particular definition of deserving poorthat excludes some who are elderly and without income. Ms. Walker Ms. Latasha Walker is in her early 30s and has two children. She formerly lived in Plantation Homes and currently lives w ith family (she no longer has a Section 8 voucher). She had lived in College Hill for nearly six years and was employed through the HOPE VI program during relocations. Like most relocatees, her perspective on the HOPE VI program was mixed. When asked if she looked forward to leaving public housing when the HOPE VI program became a reality, Ms. Walker responded: At that time, I felt like I was getting t oo comfortable with th e situation, so I felt like I needed a change. So I was happy about it but at the same time I was scared about it because I didnt know what to expect. Ms. Walkers statement that she was getti ng too comfortable liv ing in public housing seems to support neoliberal discourses of dependency. However, elsewhere in the interview Ms. Walker maintained that College Hill and Ponce could have been fixed up rather than torn down. She also reject ed the concept of mixed income housing: It dont work. IT DONT WORK! Because those that are motivated to work will. And those that arent, wont. Ei ther you will or you wont and the majority that dont want to work are not gonna wo rk and those that want to work, will. In these statements, Ms. Walker is offering a different understanding of poverty and work than the ideas that dominated homeowner di scourses on these issues. While perhaps supporting a deserving/undeserv ing poor binary, she alternat ively explains that people dont need to be motivated to workeither they will or they wont. In other words, no
215 self-esteem, self-sufficiency, or role mode ling program will successfully address the issue. Ms. Walker then provided a very nua nced understanding of why some might not work: I have seen both sides of it, I look at everybody and try to eval uate the situation and see ok, why is she not going to work? Cause like, the girl that lived up under me, I think she had like five kids. An d she didnt work. And I was trying to figure out, you know, I only have one and I am struggling to make it. How are you making it with all of those kids? And that led me to wonder, how many checks is she getting? Because believe it or not, its more younger people are getting those checks. And then on top of that you know, some of them, dont have kids that qualify for SSI62 so give me AFDC, and they are getting food stamps on top of that. So, youve got both ends covered. You dont have to worry about food, you dont ha ve to worry about clothe s, you dont have to worry about none of that because youve got Sect ion 8. You know what I am saying? In this interview excerpt, Ms. Walker suggests that for some women, it is more beneficial not to work because of the public aid for which they qualify. While this is an explanation Greenwood homeowners would likely consider to be dependency, Ms. Walker does not discuss it in these terms. Instead, she di scusses how problematic the social service provisioning system can be, by contrasting th e above situation with her own experience: I didnt have none of that. And then when I stopped working, I was getting unemployment. Well they cut my food stamps down from $259 down to $45 because when they checked me my available credit said like $1900 and some odd dollars but I was like, I didnt receive all of that at once! Thats what I had available to me, but that is not what I received. Well, your household is only allowed to get up to a certain amount a mont h. And I was like, I didnt get all of that! This is what I get a month! I receive child support and unemployment. And that wasnt incl uding my food stamps. So I as ked her, Well, explain to me how the system works? Well, they al ways round everything up so instead of countingsome weeks have four weeks a nd some might have, well, they got 4.5, well, what if his dad dont make a paymen t one week? You are thinking that I am getting all of this money a ll of the time? Well, what if he dont? What if he decides, now Im not going to make a payment for a month? Now you already counted that against me but I am not receiving that. And then with 62 Supplemental Security Income.
216 unemployment, I wasnt getting that week ly, I was getting th at bi-weekly. And you add that together and that only came out to be like, $640. And then, with my child support, that came up to likewell, all together, my m onthly income might have been $800. So imagine, every pe nny that I was getting was going towards a bill. And then you cut my food down to $45 and I was like, What am I supposed to do? Rather than providing a critique of the woman receiving multiple checks, in this interview excerpt Ms. Walker describes how the system did not adequately provide assistance for her. This contrasts with th e stereotype held by so me homeowners that those dependent on aid are living very comfor tably. It is also significant that she makes a point to say she looks at these i ssues on a case-by-case basissomething very different from how Greenwood homeowners te nded to interpret th eir personal knowledge of one or two people receiving public assistance. In addition to challenging mixed inco me housing policy, the above narrative reveals an alternative understa nding of poverty, work, and public assistance. However, at certain points, Ms. Walker does support neoliberal understandings of poverty. Intersections (and Disjunctures) Among Discourses Greenwood HOPE VI relocatee discourses ha d much in common with dominant discourses on poverty and affordable housi ng. In addition, there are significant commonalities with Greenwood homeowner disc ourses. However, there are several important ways that relocatee discourses prov ide alternative perspectives. One important contrast is that although HOPE VI relocatee di scourses can be seen to support neoliberal ideology, they do not speak so ex tensively about these issues. Like homeowners, relocatee discourses ve ry clearly reflected neoliberal ideology in various ways (for instance, framing povert y in terms of the deserving/undeserving poor
217 distinction and in one case dependency). As with dominant discour ses (and those shared by homeowners), a common theme in all of th e relocatee interviews was a silence around structural economic issues. Relocatees di scussed the promise of training programs and homeownership programs and do not seem to question whether or not these programs will be sufficient for them to make ends m eet. Similarly, despite the fact that their economic situations had not changed th rough HOPE VI, relocatees overwhelmingly reported that it was a good program that had improved their lives. Much like homeowners distinctions between themse lves and the poor, several relocatees participated in making distinctions between themselves and others who lived in public housing. Although relocatees did rate HOPE VI highly, they also reported some problems with their relocations. While, like homeowne rs, relocatees provided conflicted/contested discourses on HOPE VI, overall relocatees were less critical of HOPE VI than homeowners. However, relocatees did probl ematize HOPE VI in original ways. In particular, several suggested that the public housing complexes should have been renovated rather than demolished. For the most part, relocatees seemed to see themselves as agents. Several relocatees in particular embraced the neolib eral discourse of choice. This contrasts with homeowners often passi ve depictions of the poor. HOPE VI relocatee discourses also cha llenge homeowners understandings of poverty. Although relocatees do subscribe to ne oliberal ideology, they very rarely fall into pathological depictions or understanding poverty in terms of dependency. In the case of Ms. Bakers statements that reflect culture of poverty ideas, she does not seem to
218 view dependency as relating to housing vouc hers. Similarly, Ms. Walker discusses a personal experience with a woman receiving mu ltiple forms of assistance but does not generalize her experience to others (as Greenwood homeowners did). In addition, through their discourses about how hard they work to maintain their families and, in many cases, jobs, relocatees challenge homeowners st ereotypical depictions. Homeowner Activist Discourses In this section of the chapter, I exam ine a third variety of discoursesthose produced by homeowner activists in Greenw ood. While these discourses have much in common with homeowners neo liberal discourses, the homeo wner activist discourses seem to be more produced by homeowners rather than simply echoing dominant discourses on poverty and low-income housing. In many ways these discourses actually work against mixed income housing policy. I examine here interviews with two Greenwood homeowner activists, James and Johnwhich draw on the common metaphors of wa r and disease. In their classic book Metaphors We Live By (1980), George Lakoff and Ma rk Johnson describe how metaphors often structure our experiences. To give an example from the book, if an argument is metaphorically understood as war, then ARGUMENT is partially structured, understood, performed, and talked about in terms of WAR (Lakoff and Johnson 1980:5). In this way, Jamess militaristic understanding of his activism against low-income rentersand Johns view of neighborhood changes as indicative of diseasepartially structure how they and ma ny of their fellow home owners experience these issues.
219 War War is a very common metaphor in ever yday lifeparticularly in terms of framing social issues. For instance, the W ar on Poverty, War on Drugs, and recently a couple of journalists (Dobbs 2006, Hartman 2006) have announced that a War on the Middle-Class has been waged. As discussed in previous chapters (in particular, Chapter Six), James headed up many of the activist act ivities targeting lowincome renters in Greenwood. For instance, the nuisance abatement efforts (including th e video surveillance) and the gating of Bradford Park Condominiums. In the inte rview conducted with James by a colleague and me, James drew on a metaphor of war in discussing his activism against low-income renters. He seems to see himself as defending the middle-class identity of the neighborhood by waging a war on the poor living in Greenwood. An example of this is how James described his attempts to improve the neighborhood (and his concern with social a nd spatial boundaries) in very militaristic terms: If youre going to control your neighborhood the first thing youve got to do is control the perimeter. You HAVE to CONTROL the people coming onto your property because theyll come in and cr eate problems. So you HAVE to STOP THAT. The next thing you do is weed out from within and then you SCREEN to get, you know, things back in. And, you know, see in our documents, our condominium documents, some of them requi re very intensive screening. Some of them dont. So. In the process of turning (the condos) around weve really pushed to get everybody to screen w hos moving in here and whos not. After describing the problems within the condominium complex, James repeated, If youre going to control the neighborhood the first thing you have to do is control the perimeter and the access to your property. In these interview excerpts, James uses the
220 word control several times (at one point placing emphasis on it)as well as the word screen. His concern with the perimet er seems especially militaristic. Jamess interview was similarly filled w ith descriptions of invasion. In the following interview excerpt, James discusses how things were before the gates and fences were installed: James: You would sit here and, on a s unny afternoon, and you would see a mob of about forty people. Some adults, kids, ju st come out here, and they would line, they would line the entire shoreline Fishing. And they would throw their garbage down and it was just disgusting and so we just got to where Id see them, Id call the police and wed (lowers voice) haul their ass out of here. Interviewer: So how did th ey get in? They were James: Over the walls They would climb over the walls. I mean you cant stop them. Theyre going to get in. All you can do is when you do catch them is have them, you know, trespassed and if they come back you can have them arrested. Here James describes his struggle against th e low-income renters outside the gates who transgress the physical (and social) boundaries he worked so hard to put in place. By describing his activism in militaristic terms, James provides insight into his view of the neighborhood. Structured in te rms of war, James clearly views a clear distinction between allies and enemies (or us ve rsus them) and the stakes at risk (winning or losing territory). James seems to see th e situation as one of class warfarewith Greenwood a middle-class neighborhood under siege by low-income renters. Disease Like war, disease too is a common meta phor used in everyday life. It is particularly common in descri bing social policiesfor instan ce, having to do with urban decay (which policies propose can be resolv ed through excision) (Schon 1995). Certain
221 theories of poverty also draw on a meta phor of diseasefor instance the ideas upon which poverty deconcentration is based, in which the poor are seen as potential transmitters of pathological behavior (Crane 1991). Johns activist activi ties have also been discussed in previous chapters. As president of the Greenwood Community C ouncil (GCC), John was also active in the nuisance abatement but particularly with z oning issues. John seems to see himself (alongside other homeowners) as fighting disease from taking over the neighborhoodor in other words, fighting the neighborhood s changing class and race identity. When my colleague and I asked John to discuss and point out different areas of the neighborhood on a map, he pointed to th e intersection of Denton Avenue and 20th Street and stated, This is a cancer. He also used the term cancer to refer to the entire neighborhood at another point in the interview, in disc ussing why Greenwood had begun receiving so much attention from the county Sh eriffs Department and code enforcement: If enough of the neighborhood is concer ned and asking or demanding service, then at some point, especially if youve got the guy in charge gonna be up for election, youve got to pay at tention to this group. And, this was I would assume, that county wide this whole area here was becoming a notorious cancer. And with us being involved, documenting ever ything, taking these minutes, trying to get things taken care of, if it doesnt get taken care of it certainly wont reflect well on the Sheriffs Department, or the county code enforcement, things like that. Here he suggests that local government agenci es will fear that the so-called disease may spread beyond the neighborhood boundaries if issues are not addressed. Similarly, in a lengthy discussion of low-income housing policy, John draws on a metaphor of disease (at one point cancer sp ecifically) as he ex plains his views:
222 My opinion is, if youre going to have highly subsidized public housing, it is a giant mistake, it doesnt benefit society what soever to put them all in one place. I think there should be a very minimal per centage, like if somebody is going to build a new apartment complex (and this might even need to be legislated), theyre gonna build a big new apartment co mplex, a hundred units, five percent of them have to be subsidized. And th e reason I say that, its not a big enough number to turn into a cancer and infect everything el se because, its gonna place somebody thats not used to living in that environment, in that environment, at a level they can afford and see how other pe ople do live. Realize that of course you dont have to mow the lawn in an apartment building but, if they had lawns, the lawn isnt where you park your car, its not where you change the oil. It needs to be mowed, watered and fertilized. You know, and just see how other live and where they put their priorities. You know, its just like learning from your environment and then, I think something can be accomplished. Its just like, you take all the crappy kids, lous y students, the people that are hard to deal with, and you them all in one room or one building, one school and then youre not going to expect anything out of that group. Thos e are the losers, you know, losers breed losers and who are they gonna learn from? But, if you take a few of those losers and put them in with the rest the successf uls then they see th ese people and they say well, maybe I dont have to live at th e bottom of the food chain here forever and this what these guys are doing. Maybe if I can do some of this stuff, maybe I can get out of here. While this discourse excerpt reveals a support of neoliberal ideology, it also reflects Johns ideas (shared by many others in the neighborhood) of the potential contagion associated with the presence of too many low-income renters in the neighborhood. This is similar to the concerns of homeowners quoted elsewhere in this chapter expressing thei r concerns over the specific propor tion of low-income renters to middle-income homeowners that would be pr esent in a mixed income development. Like Jamess militaristic discourse, Johns discussion of the neighborhood as diseased has to do with Greenwoods threaten ed middle-class identity. These metaphors involve homeowners attempting to establish a middle-class identi ty for the Greenwood neighborhood amidst a mixed/ambigious soci oeconomic context. These discourses obviously work against the goals of mixed-income housing.
223 Connections to Neoliberalism As Greenwood homeowners wage war onor fight the disease ofthe poor in their neighborhood, the larger political economic context remains unquestioned. These battles have emerged at a time when the middle-class is facing many of the same uncertainties as the poor. Despite real ec onomic threats to the middle-class nationwide and an increasing awareness about middleclass downward mobility, the belief in the American Dream is firmly in place and seems to play a significant role in homeowners motivations. A recent email to homeowners in a Tampa neighborhood sent by John regarding an upcoming meeting of the county commissi oners to make a final decision about the rezoning closed with the following statement: We have affordable housing in our neighborhood if we can keep the apartments from running off quality, single-family hom es for hard-working citizens to show their pride in ownership of securing the American Dream. Its right here in Greenwood. Help to protect it! In this email, John frames the problem of a ffordable housing for the middle-class in terms of renters threatening this American Dream The middle-class homeowners seem to be maintaining the hegemonic ideo logy of the American Dream even though this dream is increasingly out of reach for most American s largely as a result of neoliberal economic changes. By reestablishing the neighborhood th ey live in as middle-class, homeowners place in the social order will be symbolica lly reinstated, although their former economic stability and potential for upward mobility will not. By examining the micro-discourses produced by Greenwood homeowners, HOPE VI relocatees, and homeowner activists, th e complexities of hegemonic neoliberal
224 ideology are elucidated. Home owners and relocatees can be seen to both subscribe to neoliberalism and challenge it. Similarly, homeowner activist disc ourses actually work against neoliberal mixed income housing policy. In the following chapter, I explore some of the central findi ngs of the dissertation.
225 Chapter Nine Conclusions Neoliberalism is associated with such profound and complex social and economic changes, and scholars are still attempting to get a handle on th e implications of what has occurred. Studies of local leve l articulations of neoliberalis m are especially important for understanding how neoliberalism sh apes race, class, and gender identities, as well as how these processes may vary by city or neighborhoo d. These local level examinations can also provide insights into how neolib eralism is contested as well as embraced. This dissertation has provided an in-depth study of a Tampa neig hborhood in an attempt to illuminate some of these issues. When examined on the ground, neoliberal solutions to poverty and low-income housing can be problematized in new ways. In addition to the clear fa ilure of HOPE VI to provide economic opportunities for Green wood HOPE VI relocatees, the neighborhoods homeowners can be seen to draw on neoliberal mechanisms of social control to oppose the implementation of the polic y in Greenwood. By imposing fences and gates on the landscapeand reproducing neoliberal discour ses that pathologize the poorhomeowners reify race and class distinctions in ways that suggest that HOPE VI relocations may in fact lead to increased social tensions in nei ghborhoods rather than role modeling and social networking across class lines. Social space and discourse ar e important sites for examining neoliberal processes, as sites of both consent and contestation. By ex amining homeowners exercise of mechanisms
226 of spatial governmentality, they can be seen to both subscribe to neolib eral ideas about social order and reject HOPE VI, a neoliberal so lution to poverty and affordable housing. Similarly, homeowner discourses parrot dominan t neoliberal discourses on social issues while also contesting these ideas in various wa ys. Meanwhile, HOPE VI relocatees resist the neoliberal ordering of space through their spatial practices (de Certeau 1984) and simultaneously subscribe to neoliberal understand ings of poverty and challenge these ideas. I have largely organized my discussion fo r the duration of this chapter around the initial questions that guided my research: 1) What are the social dynamics of a mixed race, mixed income suburban neighborhood in Tamp a, Florida? 2) How has the HOPE VI program affected this neighborhood? 3) How do these changes in hous ing policy intersect with other neoliberal practices (i.e., spatial arrangements and discourses)? Social Dynamics of a Mixed Income Neighborhood This dissertation has explor ed the social dynamics of a mixed race, mixed income neighborhoodan important topic, considering the lack of actual information on such neighborhoods (other than in cases of gentrifi cation) and the continued housing policy focus on mixed income housing. By examining soci al, spatial, and linguistic processes in Greenwood, the dissertation shed light on how social segregation can occur within a seemingly mixed community. Although homeowners and Section 8 voucher holders live in the same neighborhood, Section 8 renters live primarily in severa l low-income apartment complexes while homeowners tend to reside in nearby subdi visions. These spa tial distinctions are compounded by how homeowners and renters di fferently perceive and use neighborhood space. For instance, those who live in apartm ent complexes tend to view the community in
227 which they live in terms of their immediate e nvironment (i.e., the apartment complex), while homeowners define the neighborhood largely in terms of the census tract boundaries. Many low-income renters do not have cars and th erefore experience the neighborhood in very different ways than homeowners. In addi tion, there are very few public spaces where homeowners and low-income rent ers might have meaningful exch anges. Given this terrain, it is perhaps not surprising that there are very few cases of low-income renters and homeowners in Greenwood being acquainted with each other. Homeowners tend to view low-income rent ers as a source of neighborhood decline. and a group of homeowners has organized to reduce and mitigate their presence in Greenwood. In order to fight this declinela rgely defined as an increase in criminal activity, a decrease in pr operty upkeep, and low property valueshomeowners have followed the neoliberal community policing model of broken windowsattempting to reestablish Greenwood as an orderly middl e-class neighborhood by controlling neighborhood spaces through fencing, gating, nuisance abatement, and code enforcement. This is far from the mixed income housing program model in which homeowners are assumed to be role models for low-income renters. Impact of HOPE VI In addition to having an effect on relocatees lives, the influx of former residents of public housing into Greenwood has also dramatic ally altered the enti re neighborhood. To a certain extent, HOPE VI can be seen as incr easing race and class based tensions in the neighborhoodalthough this must be understood with in a context of other neoliberal trends having an impact on residents. Middle-class homeowners are likely particularly sensitive about the downward mobility of the middle-class in the current political economic context.
228 Many homeowners view the influx of low-income renters as threatening to their middle-class social identities as well as their eco nomic investments in their homes. While relocatees are pleased with thei r housing in Greenwood, their economic and employment opportunities do not seem to ha ve improved. In addition, there are more similarities between their Greenwood apartments and their former homes in public housing than might be expected. However, relocatees also described certain aspects of public housing that they missed. For instance, the se nse of community that existed for many in College Hill and Ponce de Leon. Understanding Neoliberalism While the theoretical literature on neoliberalism emphasizes its locally contingent/contested nature, more ethnographic accounts need to be produced in order to understand these processes. This dissertati on has shown that such contestations in Greenwood occur through spatial practices and discourses. While homeowners overwhelmingly embrace neoliberal ideology, th ey contest mixed income housing policy by attempting to remove and/or reduce the im pact of low-income housing in Greenwood through various spatial practices. At the same time, homeowners discourses espouse neoliberal ideologywhile also providing some ch allenges to it. For instance, subscribing to the neoliberal framing of poverty in terms of dependency but rejecting the plausibility of mixed income housing policy. HOPE VI relocat ees also have a contested relationship to neoliberal ideology. Despite the divisions enforced through ne oliberalism, there are potential spaces of organization across class lines, in part because neoliberalism is not complete and homogenous when examined at the local level. Within the political economic context of
229 neoliberalism, both low-income renters a nd middle-income homeowners face economic instability (although homeowners blame low-income renters for it). If homeowners gained a broader and more in-depth understanding of the issues affecting the neighborhood, they might be more likely to form alliances w ith low-income renters to address neighborhood problems. However, property values are ve ry particular and ec onomically significant concerns for homeownersand unless the syst em of real estate valuation changes dramatically, this will likely continue to be a source of conflict in Greenwood. Policy Implications The above research findings provide a clear critique of a central assumption of mixed income housing programsthat middle-class homeowners will mentor low-income renters. However, there are several other ways that my research has important policy implications. Perhaps most significantly, the dissertati on explores the inner workings of an apartment complex in the private rental mark et. Here it becomes clear that utilizing a voucher and making a choice about ones hous ing (while using a voucher) is a very complex process involving a number of both pub lic and private policies and practices. Of particular relevance to mixed income housing policy is a voucher holders potential difficulty in passing background and credit checks determined by private landlords in order to calculate risk. Although a recent study examines the problems some HOPE VI families (termed the hard to house) (Popkin et al. 2005) may face in retaining hous ing, the issue of applicant screening criteria has not been emphasized in the literature. The conflict between relocatees constructions of their apartments as homes and landlords perceptions of their rental properties as investments has important impli cations for a relocatees satisfaction with housing. In addition, understandi ng the role of public and privat e street-level bureaucrats
230 in the provision of housing through the Sec tion 8 voucher program is a significant contribution to the housing policy literature. Broader implications for mixed income hous ing policy are that simply moving former residents of public housing to a different neighbo rhood is not an effective solution to issues of poverty and affordable housing. Even if HOPE VI relocatees to Greenwood did have meaningful relationships with middle-class homeowners, their job prospects would not have been significantly better. A lthough several HOPE VI relocatees did describe their lives as being somewhat improved through HOPE VI, none had achieved economic mobility. Only policies that address the po litical and economic causes of poverty will be effective.
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245 APPENDIX A Transcription Key: /?/ inaudible / / unclear CAPS speakers emphasis ( ) contextual information omitted words short pause self-interruption : lengthened segment
About the Author Ashley Spalding received a Bachelor s Degree in English from Samford University in 1998 and a Masters Degree in Anthropology from the University of South Carolina in 2000. In 2001, she entered the P h.D. program in Applied Anthropology at the University of South Florida. While working toward her Ph.D., Ms. Spalding has taught numerous anthropology courses at both the University of South Florida and Eckerd College. She has been very active professi onallypresenting papers at national conferences, serving on the board of the Society for the Anth ropology of North America, and holding positions in the Anthropology Graduate Student Organization at the University of South Florida.
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Spalding, Ashley E.
Race, class, and real estate :
b neoliberal policies in a "mixed income" neighborhood
h [electronic resource] /
by Ashley E. Spalding.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 245 pages.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2008.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: This dissertation explores the impact of HOPE VI (Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere), a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program, on Tampa's Greenwood neighborhood. The program represents a policy shift away from traditional public housing toward a "mixed income" model that has effectively privatized public housing. Through a HOPE VI program implemented in Tampa in 2000, two public housing complexes were demolished and redeveloped in this way. While some former residents of public housing relocated to other public housing complexes, many moved to apartments and houses in the private rental market with Section 8 subsidized housing vouchers-many to Tampa's Greenwood neighborhood. In the dissertation, I examine how these policy changes affect both those relocated to the neighborhood and those already living in the neighborhood. The dissertation also examines the social dynamics of Greenwood in order to understand an actual mixed income neighborhood. In addition, the dissertation is concerned with the intersection of HOPE VI with other neoliberal trends in Greenwood-such as models for social order and particular discourses.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Advisor: Susan Greenbaum, Ph.D.
Urban social policy
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.