The Evolution of Federal Housing Policy

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This paper will focus on the evolution of federal housing policy, from the first policies in the 1930s to the current policies, with a consideration for the shifting priorities within the programs. The many goals and a brief history of housing policy in the United Stated will be established. With a dilution of goals and many responsibilities, an emphasis will be placed on low-income housing and the role the federal government has played. The many shifts in attitude towards public assistance will be discussed, as the government moved from building and providing the housing towards the demand-side of providing vouchers. Three case studies of individual cities will serve as case studies to demonstrate these principals. There were some early investigations in the housing sector that the federal government sponsored. The earliest, in 1892, was a report of city slums in four different cities. By 1909, a report by the President’s Housing Commission had recommended that the federal government purchase swellings in slums to then improve or replace so that there would be more healthy homes for the poor. (US House of Representatives 108th Congress, 2004) While these recommendations were not followed through with, it illustrates that the government was aware of the development of slum-like conditions but did not yet take any action on these studies or recommendations. Meanwhile, the federal government did take action to house workers and soldiers during World War I. In 1918, it was authorized for realty companies to use fedral loans to build housing for shipyard workers. The US Housing Corporation, existing for a short time during World War I, was authorized to build and manage community housing for many different war w... ... middle of paper ... ...ng Act of 1974 introduced major changes to federal housing policy yet again. Community development block grants were established; communities would need to compete for these grants and could be used for different housing and community improvements. Section 8 was established as well. This changed the subsidies to enable the federal government to pay the difference between fair market rent and 30 percent of the resident’s income. It could be applied to new or existing privately owned housing; in order to be eligible, residents had to be “low income” or make less than 80 percent of the median income according to family size. To improve the attractiveness of Section 8 to construction companies and banks, the Tandem arrangement was created in 1974. Works Cited http://www.knowledgeplex.org/kp/text_document_summary/scholarly_article/relfiles/hpd_0202_listokin.pdf
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