Race, Ethnicity, and Minority Housing in the United States

By Jamshid A. Momeni | Go to book overview

of these changes, according to the Urban Institute, is that "beneficiaries will be increasingly impoverished" ( Struyk et al., 1983: 67).

In attempting to focus resources only on the poorest of the poor, benefits have been reduced for those in the upper ranks of the lower class. For example, HUD has limited families with incomes between 50 percent and 80 percent of area medians to only 10 percent of housing that becomes available for occupancy. Linked with the HUD forecast that fully 80 percent of the over 100,000 tenants who are expected to leave public housing during the next several years will be from this category (where one finds the largest proportion of both stable families and employed tenants), public housing will become further confined to only the most impoverished. Thus, the Reagan administration will further accelerate the trend that has been evident since 1950.

The EHAP experiment from the preceding decade serves as a model for the direction that this administration would like to move housing policy. Though they have not to date been legislatively successful in implementing a voucher program, this is the course they want to pursue. However, as critics stress, there are weaknesses in the approach that can have a particularly negative impact on racial minorities. First, adequate mechanisms are lacking to redress private landlord discrimination. Second, it is argued that there is not an adequate supply of housing in the private sector to house certain hard-to-place cases, such as large families ( Boyd, 1984).

By relying on the existing stock, there is an implicit assumption that housing trickles down to the lower class after the middle class has left it for new housing. However, a host of factors, including location and cost, serve to suggest that this does not occur. By seeking to disengage government from either the construction or management of housing, there is an equally unsupported assumption that, standing outside the market, such housing will be more expensive than it otherwise would be. This is not the case. Despite its manifold problems, public housing has proven to be the least costly form of subsidized housing. Nonetheless, these and similar assumptions underpin policy initiatives of the 1980s.


Conclusion

As this historical review indicates, the public housing program during the past fifty years has been an extremely important provider of affordable housing for low-income black citizens. At the same time, it is a program that has been incapable of eliciting widespread public support. This lack of support has been due largely to the power of the ideology of the unfettered market combined with the enduring problem of race prejudice and discrimination. Though the private sector has provided no evidence that, if left to its own devices, it would be capable or interested in providing decent and affordable housing for the poor, it traditionally has been unresponsive to

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Race, Ethnicity, and Minority Housing in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Ethnic Studies Series Editor: Leonard W. Doob ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figure and Tables ix
  • Foreword xv
  • Series Foreword xvii
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • Introduction xxi
  • References xxiv
  • 1: A Historical Review of Changes in Public Housing Policies and Their Impacts on Minorities 1
  • Introduction 1
  • Conclusion 14
  • References 15
  • 2: Racial Inequalities in Housing: An Examination of Recent Trends 19
  • Introduction 19
  • Notes 36
  • Acknowledgments 36
  • References 37
  • 3: Racial Inequalities in Home Ownership 39
  • Notes 50
  • References 51
  • 4: Blacks and the American Dream of Housing 53
  • References 65
  • 5: Housing Policy and Suburbanization: An Analysis of the Changing Quality and Quantity of Black Housing in Suburbia since 1950 69
  • Introduction 69
  • Conclusion 83
  • References 85
  • 6: The Housing Conditions of Black Female-headed Households: A Comparative Analysis 89
  • Acknowledgments 107
  • References 108
  • 7: Accessibility to Housing: Differential Residential Segregation for Blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, and Asians 109
  • Introduction 109
  • References 125
  • 8: Su casa no es mi casa: Hispanic Housing Conditions in Contemporary America, 1949- 1980 127
  • Notes 143
  • References 144
  • 9: American Indian Housing: An Overview of Conditions and Public Policy 147
  • Acknowledgments 174
  • References 174
  • 10: Housing Problems of Asian Americans 177
  • References 193
  • 11: Minority Housing Needs and Civil Rights Enforcement 195
  • Introduction 195
  • Conclusions 209
  • Notes 211
  • Acknowledgments 212
  • Selected Bibliography 217
  • Index 221
  • About the Contributors 223
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