Surprise! High crime rates in HUD Section 8 housing

While there are many times why I wonder about subjecting myself to NPR to start my daily routine, there other times when I listen to a ‘Morning Edition’ segment and reflexively shout “yes!” accompanied by a sarcastic fist pump. Today was one of those mornings as I listened to the segment with NPR’s resident social science reporter Shankar Vendantam who reported—surprise—researchers have found that —based on a very small subset mind you—that violent crime rates are high in
neighborhoods that receive U.S. Housing and Urban Development Section 8 vouchers.

Vendantam and the NPR anchor interviewing him seem surprised by this, with the anchor posing this poignant* question:

“What does this tell us about a program where you are essentially giving money to people to help them with no strings attached…they can do with it what they will?

Vendantam replies that when you give people money with no strings attached a certain percentage of them “who don’t use it wisely.” Surprise!

*I’m not sure if ‘poignant’ is the right word to describe the NPR anchor’s question. Maybe, maybe not, considering the subject matter. Check out the definition and decide for yourself.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...

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