For an excellent and more comprehensive history of both rental and home ownership policies in the United States, see Schwartz (2006).
The federal government also provides funding to support emergency shelters, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals and families. These programs are not covered here. For an excellent overview, see National Alliance to End Homelessness (2007).
Initially, the federal government only provided funding for the capital costs of public housing. Operating subsidies were added in the 1960s when federal legislation (the Brooke Amend- ment) limited tenant rent payments to 25 percent of their income (later increased to 30 percent) and it became clear that these payments were not sufficient to cover the costs of operating public housing.
PHAs are authorized to commit up to 20 percent of the tenant-based vouchers they administer to projects—in effect converting them into project- based subsidies.
Resources for this new Trust Fund would come from the profits of two government-sponsored financial intermediaries (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), and therefore will not be subject to annual appropriations. It is unclear how the recent fed- eral takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may affect this arrangement.
2005 is the last year for which comprehensive data on housing problems and needs are reported by HUD (see U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 2007a). A similar report with 2007 data is expected to be published in
HUD classifies a household’s income in relation to the median income for the local housing mar- ket area (an approach considered more equitable than the federal poverty standard since it roughly takes differences in costs of living into account). According to HUD definitions, low-income is less than 80 percent of median, very low income is less than 50 percent of median, and extremely low income is less than 30 percent of median.
Appendix table A1 shows that 16 percent of all
S. households fall in the extremely low income group, very close to the 14 percent of all house-
holds that fall below the federal poverty level. The table also shows that 29 percent are in the very low income group (below 50 percent of median), fairly close to the 32 percent national share below 200 percent of the poverty level.
These numbers are from HUD’s authoritative report to Congress on “Assisted Units under Lease” (HUD 2007b).
This discrepancy has always plagued HUD assessments, but it does not lead to any major dif- ference in interpretation.
No national data are available on the character- istics of households served by the LIHTC and other shallow subsidy programs.
This program is discussed in more detail later in this paper.
Estimates from Sard (2008).
The 1993 figure is from HUD (1997b). The 2007 figure is from HUD (2007b).
Production under most of these programs was terminated during the early years of the Reagan administration. However, a very small number of projects earmarked for the elderly and disabled have been funded over the inter- vening years.
There has been no recent comprehensive review of where housing assistance recipients are located, but a mid-1990s database developed by Newman and Schnare (1997) still offers a helpful picture of basic locational patterns for the older pro- grams. See also HUD (1997a) and Kingsley and Tatian (1999).
Some PHAs also own and operate projects financed with state or local resources and, as dis- cussed further below, some now compete for and receive LIHTC allocations.
The HOME program also allows local jurisdic- tions to join together to form consortia, which may then qualify for formula funding.
These families and individuals include a dis- proportionate share with multiple health and personal problems, who were unable to relocate with vouchers.
For 2008, HOPE VI was funded at $100 million, compared with $625 million in 1999 (Sard and Staub 2008).
These PHAs are Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Cambridge, MA; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Delaware (state); District of Columbia; Greene, OH (metropolitan area); High Point, NC; Keene,
Federal Programs for Addressing Low-Income Housing Needs