Baltimore and what we know about bad neighborhoods

The neighborhood was also designated a “homeownership zone” by the feds, who spent $30 million to saddle people with arguably the last thing they needed, a mortgage that tied them down to a community without jobs and decent schools.

A study by the Abell Foundation about these disappointing results has been widely cited in the past few days, but unmentioned is the apologetic note on which it ends: “While mobility programs and community development are sometimes seen as at odds with each other . . . [m]obility programs allow poor families to leave violent neighborhoods in the short run, instead of being trapped in the low-performing schools and poor quality housing that exist while their communities await larger redevelopment investments.”

That’s right, an alternative to shoveling money in has been getting people out. Gautreaux was a public housing lawsuit in Chicago in the 1970s that randomly transplanted single mothers to suburban apartments: Half who had never worked before soon had jobs, and 52% of their kids went to college.