Housing Security : A Section 8 Memoir
I believe that housing is a human right. In the United States, a very wealthy country, there is no excuse for homelessness. Section 8 of the housing act that established public housing was revised in 1974 to create an excellent new program.
Paperback Version – $7.99
About The Book
I believe that housing is a human right. In the United States, a very wealthy country, there is no excuse for homelessness. Section 8 of the housing act that established public housing was revised in 1974 to create an excellent new program. The new Section 8 program provided federal funds to help households afford the rent in existing housing. The program also gave developers assistance to create new or renovated affordable housing. I was an advocate for the program when it was enacted in 1974, and I proposed a successful amendment allowing large families to pay only 15 percent of income for rent.
The book includes a brief history of earlier housing programs. Then I discuss President Nixon’s housing moratorium and the study that led to Section 8. I have a chapter about Carla A. Hills, President Ford’s housing Secretary, who was very effective and productive.
A case study shows how Section 8 helped performing artists, leading to the revival of Times Square in Manhattan. In other chapters I analyze costs and the budget and discuss President Reagan’s unfortunate programmatic changes. I include brief interviews with seven Section 8 tenants from New York, Washington State and Florida.
The final chapter is a summary of my recommendations for expanding and improving the current program.
KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Meet Carol Lamberg
Carol Lamberg has worked for over five decades to create high quality affordable housing and to advocate for effective government housing programs. She was Executive Director of the nonprofit Settlement Housing Fund from 1983 until 2014. She was also staff director and co-founder of the New York Housing Conference. She retired after completing a joint venture with New York City to develop a public school complex that included a community center with a swimming facility, a dance studio, a green roof educational garden and more. This was located a block from Settlement Housing Fund’s affordable housing in the Bronx, which, beginning in 1989, transformed a former burned out, abandoned neighborhood into a thriving mixed-income community. Most of the buildings that she helped to develop throughout New York City were mixed-income family buildings, with tenants who had been formerly homeless, as well as others with low and moderate incomes. She has also drafted successful amendments to federal and state housing legislation. Her work started with affordable housing and then included developing community programs, commercial facilities and whatever it took to create a viable community.
Excerpts From The Book
Read a few excerpts from the book below!
I am an unabashed supporter of Section 8, the Federal housing program that helps lower income families afford to pay their rent. As originally enacted in 1974, this was probably the most flexible, effective housing program in the history of federal housing programs over the past eighty years or so. Even today, the program assists 3.4 million families, many of whom might be homeless without the program. While the administration of the program is far from perfect, I wish we had more of it to complain about.
Section 8 contracts were used to assure the development and financial viability of housing developments throughout the country. As described in the previous chapter, HUD Secretary Carla Hills demonstrated how effective the program was in developing desperately needed affordable housing. In addition to stimulating maximum housing productivity, the statute and regulations allowed flexibility and consideration to the needs of localities and neighborhoods. Manhattan Plaza is an excellent case study.
Clara Fox, who was my boss for 14 years and originally a Section 8 skeptic, said that “Section 8 should be an entitlement. It should be like Medicare or Social Security—a program available for everyone who qualifies, and something that the federal government cannot take away.” I agreed immediately and still do 45 years later. When I suggested that kind of expansion to housing advocates, beginning in the late 1970’s and lasting until the last few months, the “realists” would scold me.
Where Can You Buy This Book?
This book is available for purchase at the following online retailers and in our Bookstore!
Question or Comment?
Fill out the form below if you have a question or comment about the book!