Development of Low-Income Housing in the United States
Depressed economic and social conditions of the 1920s and early 1930s prompted the creation of low-income housing programs in the United States.
During the early period of subsidized housing ( 1932-1964), municipal authorities in developing corporate cities wanted to reverse the decline of their business districts; revitalize downtown areas; stimulate, for tax purposes, large-scale rebuilding; and halt the exodus of the middle class to the suburbs. 1 They often pursued these goals through programs of "slum clearance" and public housing construction. However, the financial resources needed for such programs were not available locally. If "urban renewal" was to proceed, federal intervention was needed.
By 1964, city renewal was no longer perceived to be contingent on the large-scale clearance of low-income areas and the relocation of their inhabitants. Instead, the challenging housing problem of established corporate cities was to stimulate the hard-to-rent sector of privately supplied housing and alleviate what was often called a vacancy crisis. In response to these new challenges, the methods and objectives of the federal housing program were modified to promote a "rational utilization of existing private units."
The provision of decent, safe, and sanitary housing for low- and moderate- income families remained, at best, an intermittent side-effect of these programs in both the early and the later periods of subsidized housing.