Home and Away: A Timeline of Public Housing in the United States and New York City


Home and Away

A History of Public Housing in New York City and the United States

Storified by City Limits (New York) · Fri, Oct 12 2012 11:22:25

1934: Depression-era public works money is earmarked for public housing. The New York City Housing Authority is created.

1935: First Houses, the first public housing project in the United States, is dedicated on the Lower East Side.

Amsterdam HousesPaul Lowry

1937: Housing act co-authored by Senator Robert Wagner of New York creates a permanent role for the federal government in promoting public housing.

1949: Congress calls for more public housing and “slum clearance” to redevelop urban areas.

1971: A dispute erupts over a proposed NYCHA project in Forest Hills, Queens, exposing tensions over race and community control. The project was ultimately constructed at a lower density cost.

1972: St. Louis housing officials begin demolishing the Pruitt-Igoe projects. 1973: President Richard Nixon halts funding for new public housing.

1983: President Reagan slashes the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s budge to $18 billion-a fifth of what it had been five years earlier. 1988: Federal preferences restrict public housing admission to extremely low-income people.

117 North Oxford Walk 8H.L.I.T.

1991: Legal Aid Society lawsuit charges NYCHA with racial steering.1992: Congress creates the Hope VI program to redevelop troubled public housing. 1998: Governor Pataki ends state operating assistance to public housing.

2001: The Federal Government begins a six-year trend of providing millions of dollars less than public housing authorities, including NYCHA, need. 2003: Mayor Michael Bloomberg ends city subsidies to public housing. 2004: Federal Government holds mass auction of public housing.

2006: NYCHA announces its Plan to Preserve Public Housing in the face of mounting deficits-raising rents, cutting the workforce and winning $120 million in emergency funds from Bloomberg.

2008: HUD approves NYCHA Plan to use Section 8 to fund some units in unsubsized state and city developments, effectively reducing the stock of public housing in the city.

2011: NYCHA hires Boston Consulting Group to “provide comprehensive business transformation consulting services,” following a similar effort by Atlanta Housing Authority.

117 North Oxford Walk 6H.L.I.T.

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