Date of Award

1979

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Community Planning

First Advisor

Marcia Marker Feld

Abstract

Conventional public housing in the United States has undergone much change in the past 25 years particularly in terms of the socioeconomic characteristics of the tenants and fiscal problems. The public housing in our urban centers had originally been built for a different social and economic class of people than the ones it presently serves. Many of those former public housing tenants after World War II were able to move to the suburbs with the help of various low interest federal loans. The new residents, due to lack of financial capacity, (some due to racial discrimination in the housing market) were forced to seek housing in public housing, many as a permanent resident. High operating costs in public housing are due to a great degree to rising inflation and maintenance repairs. All of these problems have combined to produce major problems for the housing authorities to continue operating. Many large urban housing authorities are operating on negative cash flows.

This study has discussed tenant management as a means of dealing with part of the problems of providing housing for low income families in conventional public housing. Two somewhat distinct approaches to tenant management were focused upon; The Bromley Heath TMC in Boston, Massachusetts and the St. Louis, Missouri TMC and its offsprings in Newark, New Jersey and Louisville, Kentucky.

The study traces the historical background of public housing and identifies some of the reasons for its present problems. Tenant management at Bromley-Heath and St. Louis have been analyzed as to how well each one has been able to deal with these problems. The indicators used to determine change include occupancy rates, crime statistics, maintenance, rent delinquency, and employment generation.

It was concluded that the Bromley Heath TMC had, in fact, generated some positive effects since its inception. Maintenance has improved greatly. A community security patrol had been operating on the premises and has helped reduce vandalism and procedures have been established to systematically ready units for re-rental upon becoming vacant. Forty employment opportunities have been generated for residents as well.

The St. Louis model established by Mr. Richard Baron has produced some positive changes in the rate vandalism, collection of rent, an increase in total monthly rental income to the development and removed low income tenants with rent delinquency records. These tenants were replaced with higher income tenants. "Higher" income tenants would be defined as those households with incomes above the poverty level (HEW). These households are actually moderate income. Some of the developments have become or are becoming higher income. In fact, the Iroquois Homes Development in Louisville, Kentucky will be instituting a policy of steering higher (moderate) income tenants to the tenant management development to increase its monthly rental income. An economic mix may be a desirable goal but housing very low income families must be dealt with. This is the group which has traditionally been neglected and seems to be still facing problems in St. Louis, Newark and Louisville.

Share

COinS