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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: U.S. | Health, Housing, and Public Services
The US's Public Housing Crisis May Worsen With Trump Budget
As of 2016, fully 90 percent of the nation's public housing households were headed by someone who is elderly, has disabilities, worked (or had recently worked) or was subject to work requirements through another program. Many are dependent on public housing, but this is not the same as a culture of dependency.
The American supply of what is conventionally called public housing -- heavily subsidized housing for low-income households owned and operated by the government -- peaked in the early 1990s at about 1.4 million apartments. Since then, approximately 20 percent of it has been demolished. Over the last 50 years, the federal government has introduced many other new forms of public-private subsidized housing programs.
Even so, the total supply serving those with the lowest incomes has declined. Moreover, much of the housing that remains requires funds to repair or replace aging buildings and failing infrastructure. While supply declines, demonstrated need continues to increase.
As I see it, the drastic US $6 billion cut to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's funding proposed in President Donald Trump's 2018 budget could not come at a worse time. Here's why.
Public Housing's Shortfall
In late 2013, Obama's HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan observed that Americans were in the midst of "the worst rental affordability crisis that this country has known." That crisis persists.
Lawrence Vale is the Ford Professor of Urban Design and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lawrence Vale is a member of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.