There's No Place like Home: Anthropological Perspectives on Housing and Homelessness in the United States

By Anna Lou Dehavenon | Go to book overview

better able to fulfill the basic HUD requirement of providing "decent, safe, and sanitary" shelter if they were forced by federal guidelines to develop creative solutions to the squatters' very real need for shelter.

Recommendation #4. A final recommendation is for HUD to urge local authorities to avoid expensive, time-consuming, and humiliating eviction and collection tactics. This recommendation concerns the majority of squatters, in various delinquent statuses, and is consistent with the idea of supporting local forms of tenant organization. Federal legislators should consider a policy more in keeping with the spirit of the first Housing Act of 1934. The 1934 Act provided the basis for building public housing and stimulating construction and creating jobs. Public housing was initially envisioned as temporary, inexpensive housing for people who would eventually move into private dwellings. In a post-industrial economy, public housing has become permanent, especially for members of minority groups. A HUD policy predicated on a program that ensures jobs for tenants would facilitate a tenant's transition to the private market and to home purchase. This would be achieved by redirecting the federal government's involvement in the secondary mortgage market to providing support for public housing tenants who are potential home buyers. It should be noted that recommendation #4 is not in line with the provisions of the 1990 Housing Act, which undergird the HOPE (Home-ownership and Opportunities for People Everywhere) Program. With its emphasis on tenant ownership of apartment units, HOPE amounts to a wholesale retreat by the federal government from support of public housing.


CONCLUSION

A change in HUD policy so that subsidies pay only for occupied units appears to be underway at the federal level. However, in 1993 a federal court in Mid-Atlantic City did not support an attempt by the Coalition for Low-Income Housing to make such a change. The regional HUD office was not inclined to make the change either. It allowed MARHA to continue receiving subsidies for vacant units.

Although beyond the scope of this chapter, further analysis of the Mid- Atlantic City case could reveal the ways in which housing agencies affect metropolitan residential patterns, especially with respect to the process of class and ethnic succession in areas beyond the inner city. The case presented here suggests other lines of inquiry that could serve to elaborate a middle-range model of policy development and implementation with respect to housing authorities and their impact on local economies.


NOTES
1.
See Dehavenon in this volume for a discussion of U.S. economic trends over the last two decades, including deindustrialization and recession, and how these macroeconomic processes precipitated the crisis in affordable housing and homelessness.

-78-

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There's No Place like Home: Anthropological Perspectives on Housing and Homelessness in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contemporary Urban Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Prologue: Azdak Lives xi
  • Notes xiv
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • Conclusion xx
  • 1: Poverty and Homelessness in Rural Upstate New York 1
  • Introduction 1
  • Summary and Recommendations 13
  • Conclusion 16
  • Notes 16
  • 2: The 1990 Decennial Census and Patterns of Homelessness in a Small New England City 19
  • Introduction 19
  • Summary and Recommendations 30
  • Conclusion 33
  • Note 33
  • 3: Doubling-Up: A Strategy of Urban Reciprocity to Avoid Homelessness in Detroit 35
  • Introduction 35
  • Summury and Recommendations 46
  • Conclusion 48
  • Notes 48
  • 4: Doubling-Up and New York City's Policies for Sheltering Homeless Families 51
  • Introduction 51
  • Summary and Recomendations 63
  • Conclusion 64
  • Conclusion 65
  • 5: A Home by Any Means Necessary: Government Policy on Squatting in the Public Housing of a Large Mid-Atlantic City 67
  • Introduction 67
  • Summary and Recommendations 76
  • Conclusion 78
  • Notes 78
  • 6: Huts for the Homeless: A Low- Technology Approach for Squatters in Atlanta, Georgia 81
  • Introduction 81
  • Summary and Recommendations 100
  • Conclusion 102
  • 7: Piety and Poverty: The Religious Response to the Homeless in Albuquerque, New Mexico 105
  • Introduction 105
  • Summary and Recommendations 114
  • Conclusion 116
  • Conclusion 117
  • 8: Suburban Homelessness and Social Space: Strategies of Authority and Local Resistance in Orange County, California 121
  • Introduction 121
  • Summary and Recommendations 140
  • Conclusion 141
  • Conclusion 142
  • 9: "There Goes the Neighborhood": Gentrification, Displacement, and Homelessness in Washington, D.C. 145
  • Introdution 145
  • Summary and Recommendations 160
  • Conclusions 162
  • Conclusions 163
  • Conclusion 165
  • Epilogue: A Perilous Bridge 175
  • References 177
  • Index 193
  • Contributors 203
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