High Crime Rates in Low-Income Housing Areas

The demands for housing are increasing in various parts of the world and many investors find it difficult to rent property due to high costs. A recent study reveals that a majority of low-income people in the USA have a hard time in searching housing properties in a location. As a result, there are several organizations that provide assistance to low-income families who are unable to meet their housing needs.

What is low-income housing?

Accessing to high-quality housing will become a dream for those who fall under the low-income category. Low-income housing mainly aims at fulfilling the expectations of families who are not able to afford high rental prices in a location. It is usually offered by government programs such as public housing and Section 8.
low income housing

Knowing more about public housing & Section 8 program Housing and Urban Development, shortly known as HUD, is a cabinet department in the United States of America that provides rental housing to low-income people enabling them to overcome unwanted issues.

HUD’s public housing program is primarily designed for low-income groups who want to rent a house based on their eligibility. It works with the local housing agencies (HAs) to manage the housing units for low-income residents enabling them to afford rents with ease. In fact, HUD allocates Federal aid to agencies for planning and developing the units accordingly.

Public housing units are available in different sizes and types enabling people to make a better decision while renting them. Elderly people and those who are having disabilities can benefit a lot from them which ultimately gives ways to witness peace of mind.

The Section 8 program allows low-income families to analyze the rental rates of units in an area with vouchers that can help to know the affordability in detail. One can use the vouchers in any housing units that accept them immediately.

However, anyone who wants to qualify for Section 8 program should focus more on 4 important things that contribute more to accomplish goals. Some of them include family status, income level, citizenship status, and eviction history enabling a person to select a unit based on the choices.

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How to qualify for the low-income housing program?
low income housing
Before applying for low-income housing, it is an important one to need the maximum qualifying income followed in a county. For instance, any family which four members earning $100000 or less per year is eligible to qualify for a housing unit. Anyone who wants to get more information about income eligibility can contact a local authority that can help to rent a unit without any hassles.

On the other hand, Section 8 program vouchers issued by PHA (Public Housing Authority) cover certain family obligation laws and a family shouldn’t violate them. It is necessary to know more about family obligations from different sources.

How to process an application?

A family can process an application to the concerned authorities and they will review them in detail. It should cover the following important details for determining the eligibility.
1) Present residential address and phone number
2) Names of members that are living in a unit
3) Date of birth, gender, and relationships of members with a family head
4) Income certificate if required
5) Name and address of employers
6) Bank details
7) Characteristics of a family
8) Job details

Furthermore, a family should submit the necessary documents properly while applying for an application. The PHA will verify the details of information provided by a family with a highly qualified representative who determines the eligibility accurately.

How is the rent for a low-housing unit determined?
low income housing

The rent for the low-housing unit is primarily determined on a formula allowing a family to select a unit with options. It involves certain deductions thereby showing ways to save some money. A standard deduction of $ 480 is available for a family when any member is below 18 years old. Moreover, it even includes a standard deduction for elder people and those who are having some physical disabilities. In addition, tenants may deduct amounts for full-time students who are above 18 years old. Some other deductions include childcare and reimbursed medical costs.

Most housing administrators will deduct the amounts after evaluating a family’s income with special attention. They will multiply the income by 30 % and tenants pay a part of rent directly to a property owner. HUD will pay remaining amounts after finalizing the rents. A family should know how to calculate the rents before renting a unit in a location.
How to find a low-income housing unit?

A family can find a housing unit from the HUD website after getting qualified in the selection process. It provides ways to search housing units in a location with options allowing a family to choose the right one depending on the requirements. The website even covers names, income, social security number, and assets of tenants who live in a housing unit.

Another thing is that one can obtain the application from a website and can submit the same after picking a unit. At the same time, it is a wise one to follow the instructions of a living community in a location and should submit the application form accordingly. In most cases, the website will put a family’s name on the waiting list before allocating a unit. HAs will recommend housing units to families based on their income levels. A family can stay as long as in a unit when it complies with the lease.

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The impacts of crimes in low-income housing

A recent research reveals that crime rates are increasing in low-income housing areas when compared to high-income housing areas. There are many factors which lead to crimes in those areas and some of them include:
• Poverty
• Lack of education
• Unemployment
• Economic crisis
• Family problems
• Drug and alcohol addiction

Poverty
Poverty is the main factor which increases crime rates in low-income housing areas. This is because most families work as laborers and earn low wages. As a result, they cannot afford the rising prices which make adults to commit crimes. Another thing is that poverty leads to behavioral changes in children, teenagers, and adults thereby resulting in crimes. When a family struggles with poverty, it has a high rate of crime rates. Families that are facing poverty may find it difficult to meet their basic needs which eventually result in high crime rates.

It has been proved that populations struggling with poverty can leads to social pressure, mental disorders, and other issues. Apart from that, it creates only a few opportunities when it comes to jobs and other things. A family’s background also contributes to poverty thereby affecting the quality of life. Poverty leads to socioeconomic gaps which result in crimes. There are some companies that take advantage of poverty people and provide jobs with low wages. In the US, poverty rates have gone up over recent years which increased the crime rates.

Lack of education
Families that are having low-income cannot afford quality education to children and many of them may drop out soon. Those who live in low-income residential areas don’t have access to schools and colleges that increases crime rates. Education provides ways to get jobs in various organizations that can help to enhance the quality of life to a greater extent. Children and adults living in low-income areas may face troubles in getting admission at good educational institutes due to certain restrictions.

A child who drops out of a school may indulge in criminal activities such as thefts, robbery, and violence. Education plays a significant role in shaping the life of a child and several low-income families find it difficult to provide good education to their children. In addition, it allows a child to focus more on their goals thereby reducing the crime rates effectively. Educating children will result in more advantages that can improve the living standards of a family.

Unemployment
Nowadays, lay-offs are becoming a common one these days in the developed countries due to financial crisis and advanced technologies. Most low-income families may face the loss of income owing to unemployment problems. Loss of jobs may increase the crime rates which can affect the society in many ways. Even though countries such as the USA offer monetary benefits to unemployed, they don’t satisfy the expectations of a family. High competition in jobs also contributes more to unemployment which leads to crimes. Health issues and physical disabilities may result in temporary or permanent loss jobs to low-income families. This, in turn, leads to high crime rates causing potential threats.

Economic crisis
The economic crisis is the main factor responsible for unemployment problems which lead to high crime rates. Political instability, inflation, subsidies, and high taxes are some reasons that can result in economic problems. A recent study reveals that economic stress may trigger crimes due to the loss of revenues. Besides that, it will affect the buying capacity of low-income families which eventually results in poverty. The rising GDP may rapidly increase the crimes that can cause several problems. Many low-income families face difficulties in managing their expenses during the ecumenical crisis.

Family problems
Family problems will increase the crime rates in society. With divorce rates are increasing at rapid levels in the US, low-income families don’t take care of their children. Some even abandon them which make children become a criminal. Children abandoned by their family may turn violent and aggressive that lead to high crime rates. Breakdown of marriage, community, and family will result in high crime rates. Loneliness will lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental issues that can lead to criminal activities. Conflicts and disputes in a family can damage the relationships which affect the behavior of members.

Misunderstanding, improper communication, and high emotions can lead to various problems within a family. A lot of crimes in the US happen due to family issues which affect people in several ways. There are several children who suffer from mental disorders due to separation and other issues. In addition, they behave indifferently when compared to other children. Social problems can increase the crime rates making people indulge in illegal activities. Negligence and violence in a family will ruin the relationships that can result in crimes.

Drug and alcohol addiction
Those who live in low-income areas are highly addicted to drug and alcohol addiction which ultimately increase the crime rates. Both drug and alcohol influence people to commit crimes for raising money. Some may even sell drugs for earning high revenues. In the US, the number of people who use drugs and alcohol comes from low-income areas which result in several offenses. Juvenile drug and alcohol crimes are increasing every year in low-income areas thereby resulting in several problems.

Drug or alcohol abuse is a major problem in low-income living areas because both can influence a person’s life. They result in the robbery, murder, physical assaults, rape, and other crimes. Some teenagers can join a criminal gang for selling drugs on the markets. People who are not able to maintain their relationships properly may become a victim of drug and alcohol addiction soon.

Social problems
There are some social problems which can trigger crime rates in low-income housing areas. One of the main issues is racism which leads to the discrimination of people. Nowadays, many people migrate from one place to another place for better jobs and other reasons. However, they face discrimination from other people which leads to crimes. People who come from low-income living areas may face problems in getting recognition from other living communities due to income status. Hatred towards other class of people will lead to high crime rates which affect society significantly. Social inequality is another factor that makes people behave violently that result in crimes. Several organizations today focus on resolving social inequality problems through several sources for improving relationships. At the same time, they are not able to get the desired results due to the arrogant behavior of some people.

The use of weapons
Weapons such as guns, knives, and rifles play a key role in increasing crime rates as they are available in the markets easily. Gun violence is a major issue in low-housing areas because most adults use them for various criminal activities. Poverty, unemployment, and social factors contribute more to gun crimes which affect the society in several ways.

Greater earnings households experienced lower rates of burglary

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How to minimize crimes in low-income living areas?

The best way to minimize crimes in low-income areas is to create a safer public housing structure. Progressive designers of low-income housing focus more on developing a project that fosters safety which encourages community participation. Some of them even suggest creating a unit with single-sided corridors and an outside balcony which offers greater visibility.

Stairways and well-built common areas that are visible from the buildings enable residents to socialize with each other that can help to build relationships. It is an important one to improve the social infrastructure in low-income living areas that can help to reduce the crimes.
low income housing
Moreover, the government should come forward to create good neighborhoods in low-income areas which provide enough job opportunities and other things. Poverty and lack of education will increase the crime rates that require special attention. It is necessary to evaluate the reasons for poverty which will help to control them with high success rates.
The government agencies should conduct some programs such as ceasefire that can reduce the illegal use of weapons. Food stamps or snaps will ultimately help to lower crime rates in low-income areas. Reducing lead and heavy metals may have a tremendous impact on reducing crime rates.

Gentrification is another way that helps to reduce crime rates in low-income areas. It involves renovating homes and attracting new businesses which give ways to enhance the property values in the markets. Another thing is that it will increase the number of affluent families in low-income housing areas that reduce poor residents.

With gentrification, it is possible to enhance the living standards of people who live in low-income residential areas. Apart from that, it gives ways to establish equality among the residents that can lower the crime rates.

Living communities in low-income living areas should work with law enforcement departments for solving crimes. They should organize meetings with police for building trust and confidence among residents. Moreover, it will help to integrate with neighborhoods for lowering criminal activities.

Organizing welfare programs in low-income residential areas with volunteers will result in many advantages. Furthermore, they will help to lower violence and other crimes thereby helping to create a better living environment.

Vacant and abandoned buildings in low-income areas may become a place for all types of anti-social activities. Therefore, a living community should report immediately to the concerned authorities for preventing crimes in advance.

The behavioral intervention programs are an ideal one for both kids and adults allowing them to learn how to react in encounters that can turn violent. They even aim to nourish the skills of children and others with expert teams for achieving the best results.

It is necessary for a living community to give more importance to focused deterrence policies for honing certain important problems such as drug dealing, gang violence, gun crimes, etc. This will help a lot to find groups and individuals who commit such crimes.

Besides that, focused deterrence will bring law enforcement and living community together to workout strategies for combating crimes effectively to restore peace. Moreover, it allows a living community to implement social services and other assistance programs that can improve living standards.

Background checks will help to control crimes in low-income housing areas because they show ways to find people who often indulge in illegal activities. Trusts and social organizations should come forward to implement programs which will benefit a living community.

Moral education is another way to control crimes in low-income residential areas. This will help a lot to know how to respect others which give ways for building relationships. Also, it gives ways to maintain a healthy environment in a living community that can weaken the crime. CWP

By John Young & Mark Jones

Mark Jones has been working as a community organizer and youth counselor for the last 10 years.

Sources: US Department of Housing and Urban Development https://www.hud.gov/, Community Development Commission/ Housing Authority https://www.lacdc.org/, Bureau of Justice https://www.bjs.gov/

Community Watch is a nonprofit organization and an affiliate with Amazon


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One Response to High Crime Rates in Low-Income Housing Areas

  1. Great explanation of the correlation of high crime to low-income areas. I have seen neighborhoods that allow Section 8, and they always seem to have a very high crime rate.

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