Serving a Broader Economic Range of Families in Public Housing Could Reduce Operating Subsidies

CED-80-2: Published: Nov 7, 1979. Publicly Released: Nov 7, 1979.

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The financial condition of some of the nation's public housing agencies has continued to deteriorate despite legislation to moderate this trend. The legislation, which required the housing of a broader range of low-income families, has not been widely carried out.

A review of six public housing agencies found that in only one had the local housing authority begun to select tenants from a broader economic range. Very low-income families continued to predominate public housing. The review showed that much time would be needed for the program to achieve the legislative requirement. Some agencies opposed housing higher-income eligible families in preference to very low-income families. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidance and monitoring of housing agencies have been inadequate. Some applicants refused to move into projects because of their poor physical condition and/or location, making the implementation of a broad range-of-income approach for such projects difficult. Some families, such as those displaced by governmental action or fires, were placed in public housing in preference over others.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: The Congress should amend the legislative requirement to give the Secretary of HUD the authority to waive the broad range of low income requirements for housing agencies located in areas not served by other HUD programs.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of HUD should: (1) give public housing applicants who are not housed because of higher-income eligible families priority consideration for housing in other HUD programs; (2) reemphasize the legal requirements for housing a broad range of eligible families and provide detailed guidance on how to establish and implement a system of housing priorities in accord with the legislative requirement; (3) conduct training sessions for housing agencies on how to establish and implement an income mix tenant selection system using the New York City Housing Authority's method as one way of implementing the legislative requirement; (4) monitor housing agencies' compliance with the legislative requirement; and (5) require that a plan for nationwide implementation be developed and an evaluation be prepared periodically on the status of such implementation. The evaluation should include information on the number of housing agencies which have begun to carry out the legislative requirement and those that have not, the number of housing agencies which have achieved a tenant composition representative of the eligible community they serve, and estimates of the additional revenues which have not yet been realized and the time period needed for achieving these revenues.

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