Analyzing Social Policy

Argosy University Online Program

Author Note

HUM 220: Module 5 Assignment 1: LASA 2


Ever since 1937, the federal government has maintained a number of programs that sponsor the building or restoration of low-cost leasing on housing, making the cost of renting reasonably priced to qualified individuals and families. Currently, the government spends an estimated annual $40 billion on programs such as, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD: Housing Choice Voucher, Project-based Section 8, and Public Housing programs), Department of Agriculture (USDA: Rural Rental Program), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS: Low-Income Housing Tax Credits program (LIHTC)).

These programs aid households with incomes that are 80 percent or less of the appropriate area median income. These programs also assist, individuals and families that suffer from disabilities, special needs and the elderly population. There’s an array of implements that assist in continuing these programs such as, grants, tax incentives, rental assistance payments and loan guarantees. As the standard of housing backed with federal resources ages and the amount of families and individuals suffering reasonably priced housing issues rise, the federal government airs an amount of administration tasks and policy problems in its determinations to maintain reasonably priced housing. (U.S. Government Accountability Office, (n.d.)

The social problem addressed by the policy

What seems to be the largest societal issue America faces is the amount of people that suffer housing/shelter issues with extremely low-incomes but are unable to receive federal rental assistance. The U.S. Government Accountability Office states, “However, not all eligible low-income households receive federal rental assistance. According to the most recent available HUD data, in 2009, of the 17.12 million very low-income renters susceptible to severe rent burdens and severely inadequate housing, 7.10 million, 41.5 percent faced one or both of those problems without housing assistance,” U.S. Government Accountability Office, (n.d.).

Unfortunately, the federal government expresses an extent of administration disputes and policy problems in its determination to upkeep the affordable rental housing programs, including: Making certain of rental programs functioning productively and successfully with propriety and safety of housing for individuals per preventive rising costs in program funding. Making sure that the standard of supported properties is preserved in substantial and financial means, and managed in such a way that best attends to the necessities of low-income households, and continues existing to lower-income occupants to the practical degree. Lastly, observing choices for given housing aid that identifies the significance of encouraging financial independence and supplying stimuluses for employment amongst low-income families and individuals. (U.S. Government Accountability Office, (n.d.)

According to an article by Senior Research Team, Public Housing Operating Cost Study, there still remains more noteworthy challenges than just mentioned by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Such as, the Capital Fund Program’s annual funding doesn’t disburse enough to assist in great portions of the properties that still need considerable amounts of work. Functioning subsidies are too inconstant and imbalances in the dispersal, and reliant on yearly arrogations. Public housing continues to be secluded from the rest of the public real estate. This segregation deprives public housing of its top practices, unreasonably restrains the group of employees, and restricts support from expansive programs.

The administration tasks is predominantly severe amongst bigger organizations, consequential of a convergence of issues. As for HUD, the importance is complying with regulations and association, not the quality of property. Some instances, regulations and association is mostly unsuccessful, intrusive and conflicting. (Byrne, G., Day, K. & Stockard, J., 09/16/2003) And lastly, “Public housing authorities (PHAs) have, unfortunately, responded to local political environments and to federal program arrangements by developing defensive organizational structures that are out of sync with private practice and ill-suited to delivering effective property management services. Capital improvements, therefore, often cannot be sustained” Byrne, G., Day, K. & Stockard, J., 09/16/2003.

History of the problem/s in the United States

“In 1974, due to concern about the concentration of poverty in public housing developments, Congress required PHAs to establish tenant selection criteria that would allow for “families with a broad range of incomes” and “avoid concentrations of low-income and deprived families with serious social problems” (HCD Act 1974),” Collinson, R., Gould, I., & Ludwig, E., 08/27/15. By 1981, Congress altered options entirely and approved rigorous recipient eligibility, requiring that 90 percent of residents in existing buildings and 95 percent of residents in recently built public housing have earnings than less than 50 percent of the area’s median (Schill 1993). (Collinson, R., Gould, I., & Ludwig, E., 08/27/15)

Additionally, Congress introduced requests that housing administrators give partialities to households that were uncontrollably moved, living in shelters or insufficient housing facilities, or giving greater than 50 percent of their earnings on rental fees. The mixture of these guidelines meant that nearly all incoming households of public housing currently had incomes at the lowest boundary of the local dissemination. (Collinson, R., Gould, I., & Ludwig, E., 08/27/15)Then by 1990, the median income of residents in public housing dropped lower than 20 percent of the nationwide median, and residents with incomes below 10 percent of the regional median had rose to 20 percent (Spence 1993). (Collinson, R., Gould, I., & Ludwig, E., 08/27/15)

“The Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998 mandated that 40 percent of households admitted into public housing have incomes below 30 percent of the area median and let the threshold fall to 30 percent in some developments in high-poverty areas, inviting a majority of new residents to have higher (though still low) incomes,” Collinson, R., Gould, I., & Ludwig, E., 08/27/15.

Even though low income housing vouchers were originally intended for applicants grossing up to 80 percent of area median income, as time passed the program has been directed to lower income applicants. Currently, in limited exceptional circumstances, residents can gross no more than 50 percent of regional median income. (Collinson, R., Gould, I., & Ludwig, E., 08/27/15)

Various theories about the causes of the problem/s & opinion of the most important causes/s of the problem/s.

“The Progressive era reformers argued that slums caused disease and social pathologies, and that these maladies could spread to the larger population (Von Hoffman 2012).

This early motivation, which focused on externalities resulting from poor-quality housing and neighborhood conditions, identified poor housing as a cause rather than a simple consequence of poverty and social problems,” Collinson, R., Gould, I., & Ludwig, E., 08/27/15. If deprived housing environments carried out some outer expenses to the public, then proficiency advances may possibly be recognized by growing housing utilization to the public ideal.

The policy objectives, value premises, expectation, and target populations.

The objective policy goals of low income housing programs was to decrease income and racial isolation, and largely supporting access to healthier communities. To assist American’s with healthy and safe housing structures and environments, with treatment to all individuals equally and justly. Covertly, policymaker’s values may show concerns about scrutiny on income or racial segregation and isolation in communities for their own purposes, even if community surroundings don’t alter people’s actions or lasting effects. Historically, local housing authorities made political choices to place developments of public housing in some of the utmost economically and racially secluded regions of their cities. Economists as well as political administrators, policy and lawmakers have understood for quit some time that the housing market pricing, by renting or owning, is a straight forward connection to a neighborhoods environmental surroundings; such as, surrounding conditions of neighborhoods is a feature that’s capitalized into the value of an housing. Furthermore, “If neighborhoods affect life chances, and housing subsidies change the neighborhood conditions of the poor, then housing subsidies could be justified on the grounds that they improve outcomes for low-income families through their effect on neighborhood,” Collinson, R., Gould, I., & Ludwig, E., 08/27/15.

As for targeting populations for low income housing programs, each program has a systematic way of assessing the first come first serve, severity of individuals needs over others by children involved, income, homelessness, abuse victims, etc.

“The most commonly reported preferences are given to homeless families and individuals, households involuntary displaced (from natural disaster or government activity), victims or domestic violence, residents of the local jurisdiction, applicants living in substandard housing, households who are rent burdened, and veterans,” Collinson, R., Gould, I., & Ludwig, E., 08/27/15. Indirect targets can be individuals that fall into economic or financial issues that otherwise would not need government assistance for housing. Another indirect target or indirect affect would be a surrounding neighborhood that loses value of homes due to low income housing that has falling behind in housing improvements. Which leads to a lot of the social policy issue of the residents struggling with low income housing not receiving the maintaining and upkeep of these properties.

Intended & unintended, short &long range effects of the policy.

Lawmaker’s intentions was to assist in rental housing for low-income families, generally all people that are in need but income regulations and eligibility have varied over the years within different programs. Overall, the programs objective to generate adequate rental income and funding to support operating and maintenance cost became more than they predicted to take on in a cost effective way. Also, the research on work initiative increasing in part to individuals having stable housing has been inconsistent in the enormous amounts of research. For instance, “public housing program was designed to target low-income families, but the expectation that rents would largely cover operating costs gave local housing authorities an incentive not to target the very lowest income households,” Collinson, R., Gould, I., & Ludwig, E., 08/27/15.

The low income policies have showed the same policy changes and will more than likely continue the same which is basing percentage of poverty on area and national median incomes to define who is most qualified as needing assistance. These numbers have fluctuated through history and are the possible factor to policy changes in the future. Trial and error has been an element to change but economic increase and decrease will also be another key influence to changes in these programs five, ten or fifteen years from now.

Implications & changes of the Policy.

The federal government continues with economic challenges and families facing the same economic challenges, Congress may have to contemplate alternatives to reorganizing programs and tax policies that offer housing assistance for low-income families and individuals. The Congressional Budget Office put forth a report that reflects an array of alternatives. For the most part the alternatives would place changes in discretionary spending which is the part of the federal financial plan that lawmakers regulate through yearly appropriation acts. (Congressional Budget Office, 09/01/2015) To accomplish the budgetary effects assessed for those alternatives, it would require lawmakers to legislate modifications to housing laws and alter appropriations accordingly. A few of the many changes would be altering the size or structure of the assisted population, tax options, credits and laws, increase or decrease to renters cost, and change the resources and administration available to the local public housing agencies. (Congressional Budget Office, 09/01/2015)

Alternative Policies& Improving Social Justice

“The issues, however, are interconnected. The underlying theme is that, to make real progress on the above fronts, public housing must become more “property-based” in terms of funding, management, and oversight, consistent with other federally-assisted and private sector housing. Preferably, public housing would become indistinguishable from other affordable housing,” Byrne, G., Day, K. & Stockard, J., 09/16/2003.

Over the past several decades numerous public housing reform initiatives have been made: income targeting, administration management, funding, budgeting, etc. To have positive changes in public housing, restructuring the frameworks on everything discussed on this policy would to take place, by weighing the pros and cons, what has and has not worked. As many social policies as I have researched the consistency of funding issues, administration issues that compromise the social justice of individuals that are ideologically stigmatized by the policymakers stagnation. Until, the hierarchical disappointments end American’s will suffer from social injustices from continuous processes of unscrupulous reforms.

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