J.D. Vance Suggests Housing Projects That Isolate and Concentrate People Escalate Poverty

Aug 2, 2017

J.D. Vance's new book discusses his life experience with poverty in Ohio.
Credit Dan Konik

J.D. Vance, the best-selling author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” is increasingly in the spotlight with his thoughts on how the government should tackle issues that affect the working poor.

Vance’s book chronicles his early life experiences in the holler of Jackson, Ky., and the rust belt of Middletown, Ohio.

He acknowledges that poverty is an extensive and multifaceted challenge. But if he had to pick one issue, he’d start with affordable housing projects that don’t concentrate people one location.

“It’s telling poor people, 'You’re going to live in an island by yourself with only other poor people.' And I think if you can break up that island just a little bit and get some poor folks living with middle-income folks, (you would)  start to spread some of the problems out a little bit and create a more solid social foundation,” Vance says.

Asked if he planned to run for office, Vance, a moderate Republican, said public service is meaningful and valuable but he is more interested in finding ways other ways of helping his community right now.