Public housing has been part of our nation's social fabric for more than 60 years. Many people, however, know little about its history or objectives. Take our quiz to see how much you know, or don't know, about public housing in the United States.
Congress passed the 1937 Housing Act, which provided public financing for low-cost housing. Some communities, such as New York City, already had programs of their own and were used as a model for the federal law.
One of the reasons the government passed the 1937 Housing Act was to provide jobs for construction workers who were unemployed during the Depression.
Congress passed the Housing Act of 1949 to provide subsidized housing. The law stipulated that those with very low incomes were to receive priority when it came to subsidized housing. In addition, the law enacted income limits for tenants and maximum rents for landlords.
The situating of public housing projects, generally in the inner city, contributed to racial segregation. In many cases, local housing authorities made a deliberate decision to segregate the races by building projects for blacks and projects for whites in different neighborhoods.
Low-income residents benefit the most from Section 8, although other groups, such as veterans, those in the military and senior citizens can take advantage of the law's income guidelines.
In 1969, Federal Judge Richard Austin ruled that the Chicago Housing Authority had intentionally chosen sites for public housing projects in order to separate the races.
Congress amended the nation's housing laws in 1974 to provide a voucher program for rent subsidies. Section 8 was that part of the law that provided the subsidies.
In 1949, Congress mandated that 810,000 units of public housing be built. By 1951, only 84,000 units were constructed. Between 1957 and 1960, only 26,750 were built per year.
Tenants staged rent strikes to protest high rents and the decrease in services. The strikes forced Congress to amend its housing laws, which capped rents.
Some 2,400 local, state and regional agencies, known as Public Housing Authorities, run Section 8.
Built in 1936, Atlanta's Techwood Homes was the first pubic housing project funded by the U.S. government.
As the government began to rethink it's high-rise public housing strategy, developers converted many of these apartments to homes for the elderly.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is responsible for public housing in the United States. The department was formed in 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society."
A Section 8 tenant does not have to spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities. The government picks up the remaining 70 percent.
The government defines "low income" as a household that earns no more than 80 percent of the local median income. The definition for "very low income" is a household that earns no more than 50 percent. "Extremely low" income is less than 30 percent.
Only about 25 percent of those who apply for Section 8 vouchers receive aid.
Federal housing assistance ends once a family's combined income is more than 80 percent of the local median income.
The first public housing projects built in the 1930s were small garden and walk-up apartments.
The 1937 Housing Act originally targeted the working class, who had found themselves locked out of the labor market during the Great Depression.
By law, a rent ceiling is the maximum amount a landlord can charge for a rental unit.