Public Housing Anti-Poverty Policy in the United States
Morgan State University
Public housing in the United States has been a point of contention and debate since its inception in 1964. The intention was to provide quality housing for all US citizens, however, the term “quality” has not been operationally defined allowing for enormous disparities among public housing agencies and the communities they operate in. Due to lack of funding and the strict, and often limiting, eligibility requirements public housing communities often devolve into inhospitable and uninhabitable ghettos. Adopting or modeling our public housing systems after other countries would change the landscape of current public housing communities while providing the initially intended service of “quality” housing for everyone.
As far back as January1964, President Lyndon Baynes Johnson declared an “unconditional War on Poverty” during his State of the Union Address. To wage this war, the President ordered the Office of Economic Opportunity to be created and it was comprised of both economists and empowerment theorists with each group battling each other for how the social policy would take shape (Forget, 2011, pp. 199-200). Community action programs (CAPs) such as birth control clinics and legal aid were instituted by the theorists as a means to combat poverty, however, these CAPs were short-lived due to the political pressure applied by the economists. In May, 2008 Presidential candidate Barack Obama echoed LBJ when he vowed to work toward lifting every American out of poverty. A daunting proposal to begin with, the task of reducing or eliminating poverty has also become further encumbered by the increasingly diverse racial make-up of this country.
According to census data from 2010, the national poverty rate stood at 15.1 percent. In a press release dated September 16, 2015 from www.census.gov the results put the poverty rate at 14.8...