A must-read for anyone committed to the cyclical struggle to sustain--or possibly grow--subsidized housing options for households whose incomes fall below their ability to pay market rate rents.

Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies senior research fellow Alexander von Hoffman traces the early development of low-income housing projects in the 1960s to the first public-private ventures in the 1970s. von Hoffman notes that many of those 70's projects were flawed by bad underwriting, weak management, and economic hard times. However, they endured, von Hoffman writes:

In response housing advocates produced programs and procedures to rescue troubled projects by buttressing their finances or conveying them to responsible parties.

Then, in the 1980s, the subsidies of the housing programs began to expire, raising the prospect that the low-income residential stock would either deteriorate or be converted to expensive private-market housing. Housing advocates now threw themselves into stopping the new threats to subsidized housing.

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