In the United States, government policies concerning public housing changed dramatically in the early 1990s, leading to the passage of HOPE VI, an ambitious program aimed at overhauling the nation’s most distressed public housing developments. One distinctive feature of HOPE VI is that it incorporates a community and supportive services component designed to help raise the incomes of public residents and move them on a path towards financial self-sufficiency. This paper provides a detailed look at the community building and supportive services efforts at Rainier Vista, a HOPE VI redevelopment project in Seattle, Washington. Due to a unique set of circumstances, when granted a HOPE VI award, Rainier Vista was already part of Jobs-Plus, a demonstration project that aimed to increase the earnings of public housing residents. As a result, the staff at Rainier Vista had thought extensively about community and supportive services in advance of receiving the HOPE VI grant, already implementing innovative community building activities and efforts to increase employment rates and earnings of Rainier Vista’s residents. The blending of Jobs-Plus and HOPE VI into “HOPE-Plus” provides a window into the benefits and challenges of developing an effective community and supportive services component of HOPE VI redevelopment, one that is worth considering in the public policy debate over how public investment can be critical in re-shaping impoverished urban environments.

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