NPR looks at Charlotte’s public housing work requirement

It’s always fun when a national news organization parachutes into a North Carolina city to take a look around. Today—in light of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s public housing rent reform proposal—NPR holds up the Charlotte Housing Authority’s work requirement as an example:

When Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was crafting his rent reform proposal for Americans living on housing assistance earlier this year, he spoke to leaders at the Charlotte Housing Authority in North Carolina about their work requirements.

The “Making Affordable Housing Work Act” would allow housing authorities more flexibility to impose work requirements on tenants, which Carson said helps promote self-sufficiency.

That’s why the secretary homed in on Charlotte. CHA has been requiring that tenants work since 2011, and is widely praised for its success in providing supportive services in the form of education, training and help finding assistance for child care and transportation, which all make it easier for tenants to find work and earn more money.

But some question whether Charlotte’s model can work in other cities.

As you can imagine, a researcher at the University of North Carolina’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies answers that question —-“to have a blanket, every housing authority has to do this would be an absolute disaster,” he says.

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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