This morning I read a very critical piece in the WSJ which lambasted the government’s role in subsidized housing.
In particular, the opinion piece took a very controversial view, suggesting that the section 8 housing program was devaluing “nicer” neighborhoods that should, according to the author, be out of reach for subsidies.
The author eventually declares section 8 housing to be a failed program that moves crime around cities, and does little to improve living conditions. You can read the article here.
Section 8 Cost
- Section 8 budgets have grown from $7 billion in 1994 to $19 billion in 2011
- More than 2 million households make use of section 8 subsidies
- Tenants pay only 30% of their income toward rent and utilities
- The most expensive markets have subsidy caps of >$2,500 per month, per household
Section 8 Crime
The cost is only one part of the deal. Crime in subsidized housing has soared; homicides have exploded:
- In Chicago, only 5% of people live in section 8 areas but are arrested for 20% of all crimes.
- In Indianapolis, 80% of all homicides were attributed to those who received section 8 subsidies.
- HUD now encourages ex-convicts to move into subsidized housing locations after release. Only sex offenders and meth makers are disallowed entry into the program.
How do you solve the problems of section 8 housing? Do you limit the program to specific neighborhoods? Should landlords play a more important role in policing their residents and tenants?
Photo by bitman