• A San Francisco Department of
Health study showed that stable supportive housing reduced the risk
of death among people with AIDS by 80 percent.
• The Chicago Housing Health
Partnership Study (CHHP) found that unstably housed people spent a
total of 4,000 more days in the nursing home than their housed
cohorts—costing $2 million.
• A Canadian study of
HIV-positive women showed stable housing could allow them to escape
violence situations. It also improved treatment outcomes.
• A study of street involved
youth found that unstable housing increased the number of sex
partners among the youth.
Yet…Less and Less Affordable
Housing in US
• Harvard's Center for Joint
Housing Studies reported that the nation is losing two hundred
thousand rental housing units a year to demolition. That is double
the number of units being created under the federal Low-Income
Housing Tax Credit. This is a tax credit created under the Tax
Reform Act of 1986 (TRA86) that gives incentives for using private
equity in the development of affordable housing.
• During Reagan’s presidency,
Congress halved the budget for public housing. And during Reagan’s
first term, Congress threw over half a million people off the
disability rolls. Since then homelessness has became a visible
epidemic in the US. Millions live on city streets and in Tent
Cities. With Clinton’s welfare deform (1996), the last threads of
the safety net were unraveled, adding mothers and children to those
in the streets.
• Since 1996 the federal
government has budgeted precisely zero dollars for new public
housing. Waiting lists for Section 8 are 5 digits deep.
anti-foreclosure bill signed by President Obama provides $13.6
billion of housing recovery money to homeowners. But the bill
ignored the one-third of American households who rent. That includes
more than 2 million households in New York City alone.
• Predatory banks targeted Blacks
and Latinos three times more than Whites for high-cost subprime
loans. This population may lose between $164 billion and $213
billion on loans taken in the past eight years.
• 15 Percent of housing units
were sitting vacant in the US during the last quarter of 2008 (19
Desperate for Affordable
• In Benton Harbor Michigan,
2000 residents lined up at the housing authority for 3 days and 2 nights, to apply for section 8
last June. If they left the line, they lost their place. So people
• In Plymouth MN 3700 people
swamped City Hall to enter a lottery for 300 vouchers for subsidized
• A new DC study, “No Vacancy”
found that victims of male partner violence face discrimination when
seeking rental housing. The Equal Rights Center reported that 65
percent of such victims were either denied housing outright or
offered harsher terms and conditions than the non-victim testers.
This is illegal.
Housing Help Improves Student
Flint Michigan is a
city of empty concrete lots of abandoned factories…and struggling
families. With high unemployment and low wages, families move
often. As a result many children move from school to school. They
have a hard time keeping up academically.
In 2004 Flint’s
Department of Human Services began an experiment called the Genesee
Scholars Program. The plan was to keep second graders in one school
for two years. How did they do this? They provide a $100 a month
rent subsidy to participating families. The money is paid to the
landlords who must agree to keep houses up to code and not to raise
In both 2004 and 2006
the pilot program was a great success. Parents moved less often. And
third graders scored significantly higher on state-wide tests.
Housing Works Update