Summary and Conclusion
From its beginnings during the Great Depression, federally subsidized low- income housing in the United States has rarely been a true welfare program. It has more characteristically been an adjunct to corporate city central business district redevelopment, serving as a receptacle for some of the residents displaced by the demolition of low-income or minority neighborhoods too close to CBDs (and sometimes as the official rationale for such demolition, as in the Atlanta and St. Petersburg projects described in Chapter 5); or a component of the industrial mobilization of World War II; or a way of subsidizing owners of private housing.
Federal programs have actually provided shelter to less than 10 percent of the eligible population at any point in time; the meager resources made available were completely inadequate to the scale of the problem. For example, in the 1930s about one-third of the population of the country was ill housed, but the fewer than 22,000 federally supported units that existed by 1936 (some still under construction) were not even enough to rehouse the more than 30,000 households displaced by federally supported clearance activities in 1932-1936.
Federally subsidized low-income housing in the United States has also exhibited pervasive patterns of racial segregation, both in acceptance of tenants and assignment to units and of income separation.
Before World War II, 43 of the 49 projects supported by the Public Works Administration and at least 236 of the U.S. Housing Authority's 261 were