Better housing = better future. Seattle experiment works


Section 8 homes in high income areas is a great plan. It gets kids into good schools where expectations are high. A very positive element.

But neighbors often cite fear of crime as a dog whistle for racism. How do you over come that resistance? The shortage of section 8 housing is huge!!!


It has negatives and positives. The biggest negative is that costs of everything in high income areas is higher. For example, in a high income area, you might be able to build 10 section 8 homes, while for the same money in a more moderate income area you could build 30 or 40 of them. And then after the lower income people move there, they will find that all the stores are way too pricey for them and then they have to travel some distance to find stores with better pricing. Of course, educational opportunities are generally better in high income areas (but not in very high income areas where everyone sends their kids to private schools while the public schools get the remaining kids.

They are not being sent to high income areas. They are being sent to neighborhoods that show a high rate of successful parenting based on the outcome of their kids–low dropout rate, good grades, etc.

With food desserts in the inner cities etc…high income areas are often a better deal over all for food supplies. That means lower healthcare costs later as well. Plus more productivity.

Food deserts are mostly a myth. Read this article for more information - The Root: The Myth of the Food Desert : NPR


North end of Hartford, CT, all of these grocery stores except the Save A Lot are tiny. The Save A Lot is third rate. This is typical and more expensive with far more processed foods as the selection.

supermarkets in north end of Hartford ct - Google Search];tbs:lrf:!1m4!1u3!2m2!3m1!1e1!1m4!1u2!2m2!2m1!1e1!2m1!1e2!2m1!1e3!3sIAE,lf:1,lf_ui:10

The major grocers overwhelming avoid the inner cities. People do not have cars at times.


West, west north and west south are poor.

East, east north and east south are poor.

North has the wealthiest neighborhoods.

South is well off residential. Particularly the harbor with the Whole Foods.

The only major market I recognize is Whole Foods.

Yet across the country the major supermarket chains are in just about every suburb.

Baltimore ghetto supermarkets - Google Search];tbs:lrf:!1m4!1u3!2m2!3m1!1e1!1m4!1u2!2m2!2m1!1e1!2m1!1e2!2m1!1e3!3sIAE,lf:1,lf_ui:10

  • Downtown Baltimore: Downtown which is the business district of Baltimore;
  • The North sector: Mainly residential area where the wealthiest population of Baltimore lives;
  • Southwestern, Southern, and Southeastern are areas that combine modest residential and industrial neighborhoods;
  • Northeast, East, and Southeast have neighborhoods with a poor and multicultural population.
  • Northwestern, Western, and Southwest which also includes poor neighborhoods.

Nope, they are a reality. I live in one, or what used to be one. It is now changing rapidly–due to the George Floyd riots. City blocks were burned down. They are now looking at redevelopment of the entire area. That used to be lots of individual businesses but is now entirely clear for redevelopment. There have been no real grocery stores here for many years. The nearest ones are either a mile west, two miles east, two miles north, or three miles south. There was one grocery store two blocks away, but it was “too close” to competing stores (above) AND it was far more expensive. So, it was closed (ten or more years ago). Another grocery store was a mile east–until it was bought due to its land value and converted into (essentially) a parking lot (building torn down).

In the near-north area of downtown, several stores have closed. Aldi closed and so did Walgreens, and more. There is ONE normal grocery store for them. The nearest alternative is 3-4 miles away.

I use grocery delivery via Instacart and some other stores with delivery. Sure, I pay for it. DUH !! But it is FAR cheaper than having the ongoing expenses of a car. And I do NOT have to spend much time actually DOING shopping (plus the time traveling to/from the store(s), etc.


So it depends upon one’s definitions of a ‘desert’. Here is a map of an upscale Chicago suburb (Glenview) showing grocery stores:

The scale is at the lower right corner. There are lots of areas that are more than a mile from a store.



Inherently we are talking ghettos and de facto redlining. We are not at all talking upscale neighborhoods.

Also Harlem in NYC was redone years ago and is more upscale in parts now. It is not a typical impoverished ghetto any longer. Just as Atlanta is not.

It will also depend on the mobility of the people in the area, no? For some going two miles might not be easy.

But for a real food desert, consider Scotland, Texas. Farm country. They have a small grocery store of mostly processed boxed stuff. If you want a real grocery store you’re driving 30-45 minutes to Wichita Falls.

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That’s better than US average!

“The distance to the nearest supermarket or supercenter for the average U.S. household was 2.14 miles and that average household primarily shopped at a store 3.79 miles from home.”


My markets are all further than that away from me. We are talking poor v relatively rich people. The difference is expensive for our society and the individual.

Not really. The key point is a basic one: How accessible is the nearest grocery store? Not handicapped accessible but rather easy for the shoppers to get there AND get their purchases home.

When I owned a car, I shopped in suburbia most of the time. Distance was about 12 miles. Why? Because that is where I was working–and there was not only a large supermarket near work, there were a variety of other grocery and other stores on the route to, or near, work. So it was essentially no extra cost (travel and time-wise) to shop them as well. When I worked in the cities (2-mile commute), I was located near an outdoor shopping center (large and VERY busy Target, 2 large grocery stores, Aldis nearby, and more).

New grocery stores (stores trying to move into this market) are being built, but they are mostly in suburbia–not in the cities, where there is a higher-density population. This is a cut-throat grocery market. Back in the late 70s/early 80s, Costco tried to open a store here. The competing grocery stores drove them out after a year or two. They tried again about 20 years later and went to the suburbs–and were successful.

I live in a rural county, and the nearest grocery stores (in three different directions) are all a 15-minute drive away.


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No car…or no WORKING car…

It sounds as though the whole ‘food desert’ issue is really one of transportation.



True dat. There’s a number of ills that might be productively addressed by making sure everyone had access to a working car, the resources to maintain and operate it, and the skills to do so. Perhaps even more efficiently than some of the alternatives.
Food, housing, economic opportunity and inequality, education and child care - access to these things almost always has a transportation element.

One way that electric vehicles might make the world a much better place is by eliminating the anathema currently associated with the idea of helping poor people have better access to private automobiles. Even though giving them access to private automobiles might improve their lives as much or more than trying to directly improve their access to other services, the environmental dimension just makes that kind of policy impossible to advocate for. But with EV’s, that might change…


Having a personal car is very expensive. Beyond the means of many low income people, especially in places like Michigan, which have very high insurance rates.

The low cost solution is a decent mass transit system, but media blowhards like Sean Hannity howl that mass transit “is a big gummit conspiracy to take away your freedom”, so decent systems are hard to fund.



No, it’s not. At least not in places like Michigan.

Mass transit is very, very expensive. Riders aren’t charged what it costs to provide that service, but it costs a lot of money to provide mass transit. And that’s especially the case in places that aren’t extremely a dense highly-urbanized area with a heavy concentration of employment in the downtown central business district. Again, like Michigan.

Except in the very densest places, you’ll be able to provide poor folks with more mobility for less money if you can get them access to a car than you ever could with mass transit. But there’s a whole lot of moral hazard and environmental concerns (and the small minority of folks that can’t/won’t drive) that make that a near-impossible lift.

EV’s, and especially autonomous EV’s, may change that.