WSW: One Way To Improve Public Housing - "Bring Back The Bureaucrats"

Apr 9, 2018

Pruitt-Igoe Homes in St. Louis were demolished in the mid 1970's
Credit Wikimedia Commons / U.S. Geological Survey

Western Michigan University Political Science Professor Susan Hoffman says public housing has a reputation problem. But she says it’s still an important tool for providing housing for low-income people.


Hoffman says public housing was poorly managed and sometimes that was combined with political corruption. But she says there have been success stories. She says those usually include professional management, active involvement from the residents and bi-partisan politics. Hoffman says New York City has one of the best public housing systems, in part because it was developed in a vibrant two-party system.

Hoffman says problems persist because there is a large gap between number of people who are low income and the housing available. Hoffman says people in public housing are very low income, just under 40% are adults with children in their homes, a third are elderly, 18-20% are disabled. She says a small percentage are single adults.

Hoffman says most public housing authorities have small staffs and don’t have enough resources. Hoffman says “bring back the bureaucrats” to help provide enough housing to low-income residents.

Image from Wikimedia Commons