Residents concerned about high concentration of low-income housing

UC real estate professor tells WCPO complaint against city could lead to positive outcomes

Efforts to build more affordable housing in Cincinnati have created concerns for residents as low-income housing has been concentrated in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, WCPO reported.

Gary Painter headshot

Gary Painter

In the West End, low-income housing tax credit units doubled to 1,750 between 2005 and 2021, according to a discrimination complaint against the city of Cincinnati that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development accepted this month. Only 623 units exist in all city neighborhoods with a population that’s at least 75% white.

Residents and city leaders have said the high concentration of low-income housing has hurt property values in those areas and increased social ills.

Gary Painter, PhD, the academic director of the University of Cincinnati’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business real estate program and a professor of real estate, said cities want to help as many low-income residents as possible by building more subsidized housing. Land is less expensive in high poverty areas, making them desirable for developments, but that can lead to other problems.

“For children in particular, (there are) worse outcomes in school and ultimately more exposure to violence and crime, and a whole set of outcomes that decrease the likelihood that you’ll have a living wage career,” Painter said.

Ultimately, Painter thinks the complaint against the city could lead to positive outcomes.

“Sometimes lawsuits are opportunities to listen to each other differently; it forces that,” Painter said. “There’s a reason why people are upset and simply listening but not taking action based on what people are saying will likely lead to more conflict.”

See more from WCPO.

Featured image at top: Students clean up overgrown vegetation in the West End during UC’s Into the Streets day of service. Photo/Lisa Britton/UC Marketing + Brand

Impact Lives Here

The University of Cincinnati is leading public urban universities into a new era of innovation and impact. Our faculty, staff and students are saving lives, changing outcomes and bending the future in our city's direction. Next Lives Here.

Related Stories


Lindner real estate professor weighs in on affordable housing

August 8, 2023

A recent opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times examined differing viewpoints and data around affordable housing in the publication’s namesake city. The author tapped Gary Painter, PhD, professor of real estate, and an expert and longtime researcher in social innovation, housing, urban economics and education policy, to offer insight.