I believe that housing is a human right. In the United States, a very wealthy country, there is no excuse for homelessness. Section 8 of the housing act that established public housing was revised in 1974 to create an excellent new program. The new Section 8 program provided federal funds to help households afford the rent in existing housing. The program also gave developers assistance to create new or renovated affordable housing. I was an advocate for the program when it was enacted in 1974, and I proposed a successful amendment allowing large families to pay only 15 percent of income for rent.
The book includes a brief history of earlier housing programs. Then I discuss President Nixon’s housing moratorium and the study that led to Section 8. I have a chapter about Carla A. Hills, President Ford’s housing Secretary, who was very effective and productive.
A case study shows how Section 8 helped performing artists, leading to the revival of Times Square in Manhattan. In other chapters I analyze costs and the budget and discuss President Reagan’s unfortunate programmatic changes. I include brief interviews with seven Section 8 tenants from New York, Washington State and Florida.The final chapter is a summary of my recommendations for expanding and improving the current program.