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

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

PATTERNS OF INCOME DISPERSAL UNDER THE PWA

Twenty-seven of the 49 housing projects built by the Housing Division of the PWA in 1937 were slum clearance projects located in low-income areas. The remaining 22 were vacant site projects, most located next to existing low-income areas. 13 In terms of economic conditions, vacant site housing projects, like clearance projects, were all located in low-income areas.

No attempt was made at either the federal or local level to diversify the location of PWA public housing projects. 14 Substantial cutbacks in the budget of the Housing Division (of $125 million earmarked for public housing under the Industrial Recovery Act of 1933, $94 million was rescinded the same year) reinforced the need for economy and the emphasis on relatively cheap sites in low-income neighborhoods and vacant areas.

Many cities used the experimental public housing program as a means for the displacement of inconveniently located low-income neighborhoods, especially those with African-American residents. 15 Techwood Homes in Atlanta was all too typical of this. Located near the Capitol Building of Georgia, this project was built in a predominantly "Negro section of town" which had been cleared by persuading the residents to sell their small properties in the name of "civic improvement." When the project was ready for occupancy the former residents of the site were disqualified by the Housing Division as "not good enough." 16 The result was the removal of the "Negro population" and its replacement by economically "self-sustaining" white families. According to the Capitol Planning and Housing Corporation of Atlanta in 1933,

For a great many years, the city of Atlanta has honestly endeavored to improve and beautify properties surrounding and adjacent to that of the Capitol Building of Georgia, and the City Hall of Atlanta. Unfortunately, heretofore it has been impossible to accomplish a project of this nature due to the fact that capital for this type of improvement was not available.

Due to the dilapidated conditions of a great many of the buildings in this particular area and general living conditions a certain amount of colored residents have crept into the white section, which of course has depreciated property values and eliminated the better type of white people who heretofore occupied this area. By the building of this project, the colored people will be eliminated and taken care of by other housing projects, which are now under way in the city. 17

In Atlanta and throughout the nation, all projects being initially located in the low-income part of town, the national estimate of the index Dn of income separation takes on its maximum possible value of 0.50.


CONCLUSIONS ABOUT THE PWA

In sum, the experimental program of the Housing Division of the PWA of the 1930s was overwhelmingly segregated and totally separated by income. Housing projects were located exclusively in the low-income area. Tenants

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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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