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What are opportunity neighborhoods?

The goal of the Housing Opportunity Finder is to help people in Durham and Orange Counties find affordable housing in opportunity neighborhoods. But what are opportunity neighborhoods?

Many think of them as neighborhoods that help residents reach their full potential. What types of neighborhoods are those? There are many definitions, but these neighborhoods usually have low crime rates, good schools, access to jobs and transportation, and a strong sense of community.

Studies have shown that opportunity neighborhoods can help residents, especially children, succeed and thrive. Living in a peaceful neighborhood with good schools means that children are more likely to graduate high school. And having access to transit means adults can find work more easily.

We should also say what opportunity neighborhoods aren't. They're not a guarantee of success. In other words, you won't automatically get a job, get a raise, or win the lottery if you move into an opportunity neighborhood.

And the opposite is true: if you don't live in an opportunity neighborhood, you can still get a job, your kids can do well in school, and you can still win the lottery.

How did we identify opportunity neighborhoods?

To identify opportunity neighborhoods in Durham and Orange Counties, we held focus groups with about 50 residents from both counties. They told us what they liked about their neighborhoods, like good schools and bus lines. They also told us what they didn't like about their neighborhoods, like crime.

Our team took what residents told us and found data to match what residents liked and what they didn't like. We looked at studies about neighborhoods that promote opportunity for low-income families. We used both the focus group feedback and the research to help identify opportunity neighborhoods.

What are the opportunity neighborhoods in the Housing Opportunity Finder?

For the Housing Opportunity Finder, we've identified four types of opportunity neighborhoods:

1. General Opportunity
These neighborhoods are low poverty, low crime, and have few environmental hazards (like pollution). They have good access to transit and jobs.
2. Families with Children
These neighborhoods have good schools, low crime rates, and a strong sense of community.
3. Elderly
These neighborhoods are low poverty and have few environmental hazards. They are close to transit and medical facilities.
4. Veterans
These neighborhoods are low poverty and have few environmental hazards. They're close to transit, medical facilities, and the VA medical center in Durham.

We invite you to explore the different types of opportunity neighborhoods. Begin your search or view this online map.

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