Fannie Mae Foundation

Social capital has many faces in the geography of urban opportunity, and as such, particular housing policies might have positive effects on some forms of social capital and negative effects on others. The author defines social support and social leverage as two key dimensions of social capital that can be accessed by individuals. A sample of 132 low-income African-American and Latino adolescents is used to examine the early impacts of a Yonkers, NY, housing mobility program on social capital. Overall, program participants ("movers") appear to be no more cut off from social support than a control group of "stayer" youth. On the other hand, movers are also no more likely to report access to good sources of job information or school advice -- to leverage that might enhance opportunity. Adding just one steadily employed adult to an adolescent's circle of significant ties has dramatic effects on perceived access to such leverage.

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