Segregation in Federally Subsidized Low-Income Housing in the United States

By Modibo Coulibaly; Rodney D. Green et al. | Go to book overview
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the population described as ill housed. Between 1941 and 1945, the supply of subsidized housing units grew more rapidly because of wartime exigencies. Many of these units were liquidated or demolished in the immediate post-war period, thus removing them from the stock of subsidized housing units.

During the early phases of urban renewal and redevelopment ( 1950-1962), clearance and relocation activities accelerated. Despite the rapid increase in the number of displaced families and individuals, however, the majority of those eligible for housing assistance were not rehoused by the federal program.

During the modern period of low-income housing, the physical reorganization of the central city had generally been achieved. Low-income residents of areas inside the business districts and nearby areas had in large part been relocated elsewhere in the city. The challenge of the era that needed to be met with the help of the federal housing program was how to expand and rationally utilize the segment of the private housing market serving low-income people. New housing programs, each heavily dependent on private landlords and developers (both previously considered the principal culprits in the housing impasse of the poor) were successively introduced. Although the redesigned programs were expected to increase the supply of housing for the poor in nonimpacted areas at a lower cost to the government, no more than 7 percent of the eligible population received housing assistance.

National Commission on Urban Problems, Building the American City: Report of the Natoinal Commission on Urban Problems ( New York: Praeger, 1969), 88; see also Herbert J. Gans, "Human Implications of Current Redevelopment and Relocation Planning," Journal of the American Institute of Planners ( February 1959): 15-25.
For an earlier example of this debate, see Jacob August Riis, The Battle with the Slums ( New York: Macmillan, 1902). See also Jacob August Riis, How the Other Half Lives: Studies among the Tenements of New York ( New York: Sagamore Press, 1957).
"New York Mayor, Business Men Demand Public Housing," Public Housing Progress ( 10 June 1936): 2.
Letter addressed to the National Public Housing Conference from William N. McNair, Mayor, City of Pittsburgh, who wrote: "It is no function of government to provide people with houses. Nor is it a function of government to finance housing. . . . It is primarily the Federal octopus that is responsible for our general poverty. . . . This public housing service is just one more extension of government exactions of all of us and making most of us poor--too poor to build our own homes. . . . While ostensibly engaged in abolishing old slums--you are actually producing new ones. The PWA should be abolished forthwith." Public Housing Progress 1, 3 ( 1935): 3.
Lawrence M. Friedman, "Public Housing and the Poor: An Overview," California Law Review 54 ( 1966): 645. For a list of states and municipalities that accepted the public housing program, see "Project Roll Call: A Review of Large-Scale Rental Housing Projects," Housing Yearbook ( 1938): 118-133; "State and Local Activity," Housing Yearbook ( 1939): 1-102; Catherine Bauer, "The First Six Months of USHA,"


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Segregation in Federally Subsidized Low-Income Housing in the United States


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