Jamshid A. Momeni
Housing constitutes one of the most serious problems facing minority households, many of whom are poor or near poor. Much has been already said about the plight of this group--beseiged by the economic crisis facing them. Yet, it must be reiterated that today housing of the poor and low-income groups is in a dismal state.
Without well-paying jobs, it is highly unlikely that the poor and minorities will have sufficient income to afford adequate shelter. In addition to the lack of financial resources, they must spend an inordinate proportion of their income for housing. In 1980, 66.3 percent of all renters in the United States with income less than $5,000, spent 50 percent or more of their annual earnings for shelter, while no one with an income of $25,000 or more spent the same amount for gross rent ( U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1972, 1984).
These figures clearly demonstrate the importance of housing in our lives. For the majority of households, the money spent on housing is the largest annual expenditure. The amount that a household can afford to spend on housing affects housing location and quality, which in turn affects the family's happiness, security, well-being, and housing satisfaction from both social and psychological points of views. As Bullard (chapter 4) emphasizes, for most minority households, home ownership and a decent shelter is a dream that has yet to be fulfilled.
In the 1940s and 1950s, the prevalence of substandard housing units had drawn significant public and governmental attention, resulting in the 1949 Housing Act proclaiming the national goal of providing "a decent home and suitable living environment for every American family." The 1960s were marked by urban ghetto riots that led President Johnson in 1967 to