Our nation's 60 years of housing and urban development
policies have been fashioned in a bipartisan spirit, with broad
Congressional agreement over national goals and spirited
differences over the means of achieving them. President Clinton
and the Republican-led 104th Congress now face another critical
opportunity to forge a bipartisan partnership for housing and
community development policy for the 21st century. The stakes of
the current debate are not purely financial. The outcomes of our
decisions will affect whether or not some of the most
economically vulnerable households in our society will be able to
secure and remain in decent, affordable housing.
Approximately 4.7 million households currently receive HUD
housing assistance. Approximately 35 percent of subsidized
households are elderly and another 10 percent are disabled.
About 45 percent of subsidized households are families with
children. The median income for all assisted households is less
than $8,000. For families in public housing it is under $6,500.
HUD and its predecessor agencies have an impressive record of
Since its foundation in 1934, the Federal Housing
Administration (FHA), a vital part of HUD, has insured new
mortgages and refinanced home loans for 23 million families,
including 1.3 million in 1994 alone. FHA insurance has also
paved the way for financing 4.5 million units of rental
housing and more than 312,000 beds in community hospitals,
nursing homes, and other assisted living facilities.
Despite its troubling image today, public housing has
historically been a starting place for a better life.
Public housing accounts for around 5% of all rental housing
in the nation, for as much as 15% of all rental housing in a
number of central cities, and a much higher percentage of
their low-rent stocks. Over the years, more than 7 million
families have lived in public housing supported by HUD
Nearly 12.5 million families and individuals -- including
millions of senior citizens and people with disabilities --
have found affordable housing in privately owned, federally
assisted rental developments. They were able to move from
back rooms to independent living because HUD was there to
Hundreds of communities, thousands of neighborhoods, and
tens of millions of people have benefited from HUD programs
over the past three decades.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009