There are many housing advocates fighting for the protection of safe, decent, and affordable housing. They are fighting for rent reforms, tenant’s rights, ending homelessness, and housing justice. Many of the community organizations that fight for housing justice do not have a targeted mission for public housing. Even though public housing can respond to many of the housing insecurities and injustices that so many community organizations fight against, there are a limited number of community organizations that advocate primarily for the public housing program.
Public housing is a vital resource for the nation’s densely populated, urban centers because it provides families with rent stability, housing security, and decent, affordable housing. The security of public housing includes affordable rents so that residents are not burdened with making crucial choices between rent, food, and medicine. Urban centers, where public housing is often located, employ attractive features such as transportation and employment hubs, culture and entertainment, and familial, social, and racial diversity. Even though it can provide all these amenities and provide much needed security, it is stigmatized and allowed to continue to deteriorate and remain under-funded. Government disinvestment has been blamed for the insurmountable challenges to public housing authorities, who need sufficient capital and operational funds to manage housing effectively. The absence of this funding has put this sorely-needed resource at risk.
This project is important because it provides a space for the inclusion of resident’s voices at a time when new strategies and policies are being created to reposition public housing. Understanding what residents need and want can help inform new policies that could improve their lives and communities.