Who Supports Public Housing?

The statistics bear out an alarming truth –it is tough to secure housing in the USA if you earn less than your city's median income. Back in San Francisco, by way of example, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) reports that a minimum-wage earner needs to operate 2.8 full-time jobs merely to pay for the market rate rent on a studio flat in the city. Housing and programs that are similar aim to deal with the clear inequality.


Public housing is often confused with other types of reasonably priced and low-income housing. Public housing is a program funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Local public-housing agencies enrol residents in, manage and collect rents for public housing complexes scattered throughout a city. The San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA), for example, operates 45 public housing developments serving low-income families, seniors and the disabled. Most cities, such as San Francisco, provide added programs that generate rental and ownership opportunities for taxpayers earning less than the city's median income. Technically, these options aren’t public housing, although they generally obtain some form of public or private subsidy.


The point of public housing and other low income housing is to bring the amount destitute households spend on housing (rent or mortgage plus utilities) down to 30 percent of the income. Public housing accomplishes this by setting rents at rates that adhere to the affordability standard. That can be a direct government subsidy, because the price of building and maintaining public housing is usually greater than the rents could cover. Other strategies, including San Francisco's Below Market Rate (BMR) Program, require private developers to absorb the price of providing non invasive units as part of market-rate jobs, according to the city's Mayor's Office of Housing.

Income Limits

Under HUD's public-housing program, a candidate 's household income cannot exceed 80% of the region 's median. Since local public-housing agencies finally determine who qualifies, public-housing units are generally occupied by families earning less than 50 percent and frequently 30 percent of the area's median income. Other programs out there in a city may use higher income thresholds, gearing them to middle-income earners. San Francisco's BMR program features ownership chances , as stated by the Mayor's Office of Housing, are affordable to those earning, normally, 90% of the city's median income. BMR rentals are usually affordable to families making 55 percent of San Francisco's median.


Ninety percent of the 2010 median income in San Francisco is $89,450 for a family of four. The price a three-bedroom home can be sold for to a household with that income below the city's BMR application is $296,925. Clearly, this is inaccessible to some middle-income earners, let alone the neediest families. Fifty-five percent of the city's median income for a four-person home is $54,650, as stated by the Mayor's Office of Housing. At the income, a rent of about $1,366 is cheap. Market speed in 2010 to get a San Francisco two-bedroom is about $1,760.


Public housing and other sorts of low-income development frequently rise out of public-private partnerships. SFHA rebuilt five dilapidated public housing projects under HUD's Hope VI program. Each site combined involving $20.2 and $29.8 million in HUD funding, with between $11.9 and $82.8 million in additional public and private funds. Spread across the five sites, SFHA spent $118.6 million in Hope VI dollars and $188.2 million in additional funds to make 1,149 units of people and affordable housing.

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