McIntire Privilege. VII. No Go Zone for Affordable Housing.

After a long hiatus a return to the theme of McIntire Privilege. To those new to this blog, McIntire Privilege is the thesis that residents of the McIntire District of Salem gain benefits, to the detriment other neighborhoods in Salem, without ever being conscious of said benefits.

Now this one is perhaps splitting hairs, but when researching another planned post could not help but notice that there did not seem to be any affordable housing within the McIntire District. So this intrepid blog reporter went and mapped all the affordable housing properties in Salem onto the Salem Chamber of Commerce street map. The graph below shows the result.

Affordable Housing Salem

The most common type is Elderly Housing, most of them managed by the Salem Housing Authority, and sprinkled throughout Salem though prevalent downtown. Though Elderly Housing is the kind of low income housing that neighbors don’t whinge about so much, there is not a unit to be found within the boundaries of the McIntire District demarqued by the dashed gold line. The closest is the J. Michael Ruane Residence, mostly SRO (Single Resident Occupancy), at 3 Broad St on Mill Hill just outside the conventional limits of the McIntire District.

Low Income Family housing of various types (for qualified veterans, for qualified handicapped, or just generic low income family) is also scattered throughout all neighborhoods of Salem, just not within the McIntire District. SRO (i.e. the “undesirables”) properties are few in Salem but naturally enough none cross the boundaries of the McIntire District. Finally, the three mixed low-income / workforce high-rise properties, managed not by the City of Salem but by independent property management firms, keep their distance from the McIntire District.

Salem has a remarkable number of affordable housing properties, almost 30 distributed somewhat evenly throughout all neighborhoods in Salem – Downtown, Gallows Hill, The Point naturally, Mill Hill, West, South and North Salem, as well as both Neck neighborhoods. Even the Common. But not the McIntire District.

It was a bit distressing to note six properties along a half-mile stretch of the Boston St corridor in Gallows Hill, the biggest concentration outside of downtown, even more than the three properties in The Point, which as a low status area would have been expected to be chock full of affordable housing properties. Kudos to the Salem Housing Authority for spreading the burden around. As a long-term resident of Gallows Hill this blogger was unaware that he lived within hailing distance of so much affordable housing. Which just goes to show how well managed are these properties. More kudos to the Salem Housing Authority.

High income exclusive neighborhoods find ways to keep out affordable housing, and it might be that such methods are why affordable housing does not traverse the McIntire District, which prides itself on its exclusivity. Yet the Washington Square neighborhood around the Salem Common is just as exclusive as the McIntire District, but it is home to the handsome yet low income Phillips House family units at 77 Washington Sq. East.84-86-88 Essex St SHADon’t know how it has been done, but somehow the McIntire District has managed to keep out all forms of affordable housing. Could the explanation be…McIntire Privilege?