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

By Modibo Coulibaly; Rodney D. Green et al. | Go to book overview

cent every year during the war years, colored tenants could move into public housing built expressly for them only after crashing a picket line of white rioters. In Baltimore, where the numbers have jumped from 165,000 in 1940 to over 200,000 in 1944, an angry citizenry has refused to let Negroes move out of established ghettos or have public housing. 51

Although the data are sketchy, it appears that federal and local housing authorities were often united in reserving housing projects exclusively for families from only one racial group. 52 Some 3,000 units of subsidized housing in Detroit were vacant but "closed to eligible Negro" defense workers as a matter of policy in 1943. 53 Similar situations existed in Buffalo, Philadelphia, and many other cities. 54

Racial discrimination in access to war housing did not mean that all white defense workers received subsidized housing. For most PHAs (including areas of priority war housing), a shortage of units was the rule. In Detroit, for example, of 31,100 units approved in 1942 as the minimum requirement, only 8,500 units were actually built. 55


PATTERNS OF INCOME DISPERSAL IN WAR HOUSING

Incomplete data and summary reports of federal housing agencies indicate that war housing projects tended to be located on vacant sites accessible to transportation and utilities or in close proximity to war plants. Most clearance for the purpose of low-income housing construction was suspended to "conserve critical labor resources and construction materials." 56 Nevertheless, the siting of war housing projects was not significantly different from that of USHA or PWA housing. Moreover, almost all temporary housing built on vacant sites not adjacent to previous low-income residential areas were dismantled at the end of the war. 57

An estimate of the index of income separation could not be calculated for war housing. The patterns of dispersal of these projects, however, do not appear to be substantially different from early patterns of concentration in low- income areas.


CONCLUSIONS ABOUT WAR HOUSING

In summary, war housing was largely segregated by race, both in access to the program and in assignment to units. Indeed, the level of racial segregation and discrimination in war housing was unprecedented, with African-American housing partially or totally excluded from war housing in most of the Northeast, Midwest, and West--even as earlier patterns continued in the South with the complete separation of the racial groups there.

Although an estimate of the index of income separation was not derived for war housing, the pattern of dispersal of the projects, particularly those

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Segregation in Federally Subsidized Low-Income Housing in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables vii
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Notes 3
  • 2 - Housing, History, and Schools of Thought 5
  • Summary of the Post-Civil Rights Literature 17
  • Notes 18
  • 3 - Development of Low-Income Housing in the United States 23
  • Summary 35
  • Notes 36
  • 4 - Research Procedure 43
  • Summary 58
  • Notes 59
  • 5 - Patterns of Segregation in Low-Income Housing, 1932-1963 63
  • Conclusion About the PWA 69
  • Conclusions About the USHA 80
  • Conclusions About War Housing 86
  • Summary: Patterns of Segregation in the Early Period 92
  • Notes 94
  • 6 - Patterns of Racial Segregation and Economic Isolation, 1964-1992 101
  • Summary 117
  • Notes 119
  • 7 - Trends in Subsidized Housing Segregation 123
  • Summary 129
  • Notes 130
  • 8 - Summary and Conclusion 131
  • Appendix 135
  • Note 137
  • Selected Bibliography 139
  • Index 151
  • ABOUT THE AUTHORS 155
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