Domestic Housing and Community Development Issues for Planning

CED-80-139: Published: Sep 24, 1980. Publicly Released: Sep 24, 1980.

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Many serious housing and community development problems face the United States during the 1980's. The number of households will increase 19 percent during the 1980's, placing greater demand on the housing supply. Americans continue to migrate to the South and West, and increasingly to rural areas. Population redistribution is responsible for a wide range of present urban problems, such as the concentration of disadvantaged groups within central cities. Rural problems, such as inadequate public facilities and services, are also created. Three broad areas of concern that have guided the Federal Goverment's participation in housing and community development include the recognition that it had: (1) a responsibility to maintain and promote economic stability; (2) a social obligation to help provide for those in need; and (3) an emerging interest in how the nation's communities develop. Two fundamental policies that the Government is concerned with are the private home financing system and Government-subsidized housing for low-income families. The Government's concern over community growth and development has steadily expanded to include neighborhoods, entire cities, counties, and preplanned new communities. These efforts have been designed to assist cities solve urban problems and to encourage them to develop more orderly, attractive, and livable communities. Attention has also been focused on increasing the quality of life in rural communities.

Federal housing programs during the 1980's must deal with: (1) the need for over two million new housing starts each year to meet the growing and mobile population and the changing lifestyles; (2) the need to slow down the rapid increases in the cost to construct, operate, and finance housing; (3) the increased need to provide housing for lower income persons, since housing deprivation is changing from a problem of physical inadequacies to that of excessive cost; and (4) the need to preserve the existing housing stock because it is unlikely the construction industry can meet the future housing needs through new construction. The basic continuing community development problems facing the United States include: (1) the need to provide immediate assistance to the most troubled cities and communities, which should be targeted to help cities restructure their economies and better adapt to change; (2) the need to help all cities offer their residents decent services, adequate jobs, sound neighborhoods, good housing, and healthy environments; (3) the need to minimize community losses due to catastrophes; (4) the presence of disorderly, uneconomic, and antisocial patterns of development and land use in the nation; (5) the increase in fiscal and political fragmentation resulting in an aggravating mismatch of needs and resources; (5) the lag in development of community facilities in rural areas and areas experiencing rapid growth; and (6) citizen alienation and/or apathy in the face of ineffective governmental action.

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