Housing Shortage for the Poor
The growing scarcity of housing in the United States affects all classes of people, but none so severely as the poor.1 For middle-income families the housing pinch means, at most, postponement of the dream of home ownership. In the meantime, such families usually have little difficulty finding comfortable—if not always ample—rental accommodations at a cost they can afford. Few poor people have this choice. With rare exceptions, a low income forecloses the possibility of living in a decent dwelling in a safe neighborhood.
In many large cities, even substandard housing2 is in short supply. Low-income squatters have occupied a number of condemned buildings in New York City, whose housing shortage is the most acute in the country. At the same time, ...