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What is Section 8 Housing

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The primary goal of Section 8 housing is helping people in poverty on their rental affordability problem and solving the housing crisis in the country. As a federal government initiated public housing assistance program, Section 8 housing provides rental assistance voucher to people who are unable to maintain a constant living place, pays the price difference between the monthly rent and what renters could afford, helps low-income tenants to move from a minimum quality apartment to another.

Meanwhile, Section 8 housing encourages and authorizes rental assistance programs with property developers, pays for the difference between renters’ contribution and the rent on the contract. The concentrated poverty causes many negative consequences, the housing affordability crisis, regional homelessness, and high crime rate are the most serious parts. The policy of ethnic concentration grew the social conflict not just between races, but also social classes, and this confliction will affect more people in the future. During the 30s to 50s, segregated public housing had been built in cities across the country, while white families were exclusively allowed to move outside central cities. Because of this change in past, industry left the urban area, the regional economy has unbalanced developed in cities, poor people are losing their shelters in poor communities while they are isolated from a better neighborhood. Due to the financial crisis, inconstant housing, and low income, crime rate rapidly increases in slums, poor families with children are living in high risk.

Therefore, just like Richard Rothstein said in this video, the poverty becomes more and more concentrated and desperate in the low-income segregated neighborhood. As the Maryann Russ, the Fmr. CEO of Dallas Housing Authority said in the documentary, zip-code is everything, in particular for those families with kids. A better neighborhood means more opportunities for finding a better job, a better school, even more safety in communities. A good opportunity represents a hopeful life, many poor families rely on this hope to walk through the current predicament. The difficulty for poor families to find a satisfactory place comes from different facets.

First, because of the stereotypes of social class, most residents in good neighborhoods do not want to share their communities with poor people.

Second, driven by the average income decline and the growth of rents in recent years, a lot of people become renters suddenly, which causes the intense competition of rental housing market, among two-millions of people only one out of four households are eligible to get the voucher, people must wait for years on the waitlist.

Third, the federal government spends a huge appropriation to help the poor with rent, but not each dollar serves housing assistance program. The federal appropriation raises every year, but the affordable rental housing industry is producing fewer and fewer units, a large part of construction fund is traded through the kickback game rampantly under the table among property developers, investors, even states government.

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