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.
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.