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Housing Policy at a Crossroads : The Why, How, and Who of Assistance Programs - John C. Weicher

Housing Policy at a Crossroads

The Why, How, and Who of Assistance Programs

Hardcover

Published: 16th December 2012
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Since Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, American housing policy has focused on building homes for the poor. But seventy-five years of federal housing projects have not significantly ameliorated crime, decreased unemployment, or improved health; recent reforms have failed to revitalize low-income neighborhoods or stimulate the economy. To be successful in the twenty-first century, American housing policy must stop reinventing failed programs. Housing Policy at a Crossroads: The Why, How, and Who of Assistance Programs provides a comprehensive survey of past low-income housing programs, including public and subsidized housing, tax credits for developers, and block grants for state and local governments. John C. Weicher's comparative analysis of these programs yields several key conclusions: Affordability, not quality, is the most pressing challenge for housing policy today; of all the housing programs, vouchers have provided the most choice for the poor at the lowest cost to the taxpayer; because vouchers are much less expensive than public or subsidized housing, future subsidized projects would be an inefficient use of resources; vouchers should be offered only to the poorest members of society, ensuring that aid is available to those who need it most. At once a history of housing policy, a guide to issues confronting policymakers, and a case for vouchers as the cheapest, most effective solution, Housing Policy at a Crossroads is a timely warning that reinventing failed building programs would be a very costly wrong turn for America.

Weicher provides an analysis of assistance programs for low-income households in federal housing policy since the early 20th century. The book begins with an appropriate review of the historical development of federal housing programs. Weicher then argues that since FDR's New Deal housing policies, low-income residents of urban neighborhoods have not witnessed improvements in crime, unemployment, or health. As an economist, the author writes nine chapters to build the argument that federal housing subsidies have been largely ineffective for decades. Weicher asserts that HUD's policies did not induce the production of affordable, decent housing. He argues that the best policy response is to embrace housing vouchers that provide households with greater choice and lower the costs of the housing programs. It is a nice addition to the literature because it contributes to an understanding of the political debate on housing assistance. Practitioners will benefit from the author's experiences. Summing Up: Recommended. Professional collections. * CHOICE * Weicher is a wise housing veteran who has worked in the government and in the private sector. This book adds a deep alternative perspective on affordable housing to the perspectives of many books that have been published recently. It cannot only be used as a textbook in graduate classes on housing economics or housing policy but also provides chapters for graduate classes in public finance and budgeting, program evaluation, policy making processes, and perspectives on how Washington works and `gets stuff done.' * International Journal of Housing Policy * Weicher provides an analysis of assistance programs for low-income households in federal housing policy since the early 20th century. The book begins with an appropriate review of the historical development of federal housing programs. Weicher then argues that since FDR's New Deal housing policies, low-income residents of urban neighborhoods have not witnessed improvements in crime, unemployment, or health. As an economist, the author writes nine chapters to build the argument that federal housing subsidies have been largely ineffective for decades. Weicher asserts that HUD's policies did not induce the production of affordable, decent housing. He argues that the best policy response is to embrace housing vouchers that provide households with greater choice and lower the costs of the housing programs. It is a nice addition to the literature because it contributes to an understanding of the political debate on housing assistance. Practitioners will benefit from the author's experiences. Summing Up: Recommended. Professional collections. CHOICE Weicher is a wise housing veteran who has worked in the government and in the private sector. This book adds a deep alternative perspective on affordable housing to the perspectives of many books that have been published recently. It cannot only be used as a textbook in graduate classes on housing economics or housing policy but also provides chapters for graduate classes in public finance and budgeting, program evaluation, policy making processes, and perspectives on how Washington works and 'gets stuff done.' International Journal of Housing Policy

List of Tablesp. xi
Prefacep. xv
Introductionp. 1
Housing Assistance and the Problems of Povertyp. 4
Subsidized Housing as Social Welfare Policyp. 4
The Logic of the Rationalep. 6
Subsequent Evidencep. 9
Secretary Kemp's "New War on Poverty"p. 13
Subsidized Housing as Community Developmentp. 14
Subsidized Housing as Macroeconomic Stimulusp. 17
The Remaining Rationalep. 20
Housing Conditions and Problemsp. 22
The National Housing Goalp. 22
Affordabilityp. 23
Qualityp. 26
The Housing Situation of Lower-Income Rentersp. 27
Priority Problems by Household Categoryp. 31
Trends in Housing Conditionsp. 36
Long-Term Trends in Housing Qualityp. 38
Why Has Housing Quality Improved?p. 44
The Trend in Rent Burdensp. 47
Conclusionp. 53
Exhibit 2-1: Income Categories Used in Federal Housing Programsp. 54
Exhibit 2-2: Definitions of Inadequate Housingp. 55
Housing Assistance Programs: Taxonomy and Historyp. 56
Public Housingp. 57
Privately Owned Projectsp. 61
Tenant-Based Assistance: Section 8 Existing Housingp. 79
Housing Block Grants: The HOME Programp. 83
The Low-Income Housing Tax Creditp. 88
The Housing Trust Fundp. 92
What's Wrong with the Programs?p. 96
Conclusionp. 99
Program Activity and Costs in the Aggregatep. 101
Budgetary Cost Concepts and Basic Financing Practicesp. 101
How Much and How Many? Dollars and Housing Unitsp. 104
Conceptual Confusionsp. 117
Appendix to Chapter 4: HUD Funding for Rental Housing Assistancep. 119
HUD Budget Authority and Outlaysp. 119
Public Housing Modernizationp. 122
Incremental Unitsp. 122
The Total Stock of Assisted Unitsp. 123
The Low-Income Housing Tax Creditp. 124
The Voucher/Production Debate: Program Comparisonsp. 127
Limitations of the Literaturep. 128
"A Decent Home": Housing Qualityp. 130
HOPE VI: A Special Situationp. 143
Affordability and Rent Burdenp. 145
Subsidy Utilization and Program Participationp. 151
Demographics of Program Participationp. 155
Housing Market Effectsp. 159
Conclusionp. 165
The Voucher/Production Debate: Neighborhood Issuesp. 167
"A Suitable Living Environment": Where Assisted Households Livep. 167
Neighborhood Revitalization and Preservationp. 178
House Pricesp. 185
Racial Integrationp. 188
Economic Opportunityp. 194
Healthp. 199
Crimep. 201
Conclusionp. 202
The Voucher/Production Debate: Program Costsp. 205
The GAO Cost Comparisonsp. 206
Cost Comparisons between Vouchers and the Older Project-Based Programsp. 212
Current Cost Estimates and Comparisonsp. 214
The Ongoing Cost of Providing Housing Assistancep. 222
Conclusionp. 225
The Voucher/Production Debate: Program Efficiencyp. 226
The Concept of Program Efficiencyp. 226
Production Efficiencyp. 228
Consumption Efficiencyp. 233
Overall Program Efficiencyp. 236
Conclusionp. 240
Is There Enough Housing?p. 241
"Enough Housing" for What?p. 242
Using the Voucher to Address Housing Needsp. 243
The Voucher and Local Marketsp. 246
Conclusionp. 250
The Comparability of Housing Outcomesp. 250
The Lower Cost of Vouchersp. 251
Reviving the Rationales for Production Programsp. 253
Emerging Trends in Housing Policyp. 253
Summing Up and Looking Aheadp. 257
Notesp. 259
Referencesp. 309
About the Authorp. 327
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780844742588
ISBN-10: 0844742589
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 327
Published: 16th December 2012
Publisher: UNIV PR OF AMER
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 16.51  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.64