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A Right to Housing: Foundation for a New…

A Right to Housing: Foundation for a New Social Agenda

by Rachel Bratt

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A collection of essays on public housing and housing subsidies or taxes in the US. My status updates have some of the most inspiring quotes and most scandalous numbers. Basically, this book just reaffirmed everything I already thought or supposed about the right to housing: there is no evidence that guaranteed shelter decreases people's willingness to work, but instead that guaranteed housing and stability keep families together, increase people's education and career initiatives. Initially, federal subsidies for housing were aimed at the lower middle class, to ensure they had acceptable housing. Since the 1950s, however, federal housing initiatives have become aimed at the very poor& homeless, so political will to keep up the budget has dwindled. Meanwhile, tax incentives for owning homes have gone up, so that homeowners who own the most homes, worth the most amount of money, are getting vastly more from the federal government than anyone else (especially compared to the very poorest among us). Tax incentives for home ownership don't actually help the rich, but a lack of budget for subsidized housing hurts the poor and middle class and contributes to the growing income&wealth gap. As of 2000, more than a third of America paid so much to cover their shelter needs that they didn't have enough to cover food and other survival needs. This pervasive lack of housing affordability is terrible for people on both an individual and societal level, and can only be fixed by an increase in the housing budget and a decrease in segregation&discrimination against the poor and people of color.

I found this collection to be a rousing call to action, but it is also dense with facts, figures and citations, and generally written in a very academic style. It's not dry--the writers clearly have a lot of will and passion--but it is hard to read much in one sitting. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
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