Budget Cuts To US Public Housing Left Poor Tenants In Unsafe Homes - Watchdog

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 27th September, 2022) Reduced Federal spending on public housing have led to deteriorating living conditions for low-income people in the United States and increased their housing costs, a prominent watchdog said in a report on Tuesday, describing this as a human rights violation and calling for extra funding for the issue.

"Underfunding has not only put public housing tenants at risk, but it has forced many people to pay unaffordable rents on the private market as they languish on housing assistance waiting lists," Jackson Gandour, a fellow in the Economic Justice and Rights division at the Human Rights Watch (HRW), is quoted as saying.

Around 2 million people live in public housing in the US, according to HRW. Between 2000 and 2013, funding for major repairs to this housing stock declined by about 50% in real terms, before increases that left the budget 35% lower in 2021 than in 2000, the NGO stated. Whereas maintenance used to be carried out promptly, interviewed tenants told HRW, these are now often put off, causing unsanitary conditions such as mold and ant infestations to develop.

Moreover, lack of funds and a modest increase in funding for private-sector-led affordable housing initiatives have both raised rents in the commercial sector and pushed up the price of houses built using the low-income housing tax credit program.

"By disinvesting in public housing, the US government has jeopardized the rights of public housing tenants across the country," the NGO argued. It demanded the repeal of the 1998 Faircloth Amendment, which prohibits public housing agencies from using federal funds if this would result in their owning more apartments than they did in 1999.