University of Baltimore Journal of Land and Development


The numbers are staggering. The nation's largest public housing authorities ("HA's") are in a state of crisis as a result of massive budget shortfalls. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates it would take roughly $26 billion to remedy the problem. To put this in perspective, in 2014 the New York City Public Housing Authority had a $77 million deficit and $18 billion worth of "unfunded capital improvements," - a euphemism for basic upgrades to building systems such as water, heat, air conditioning, and elevators. At present, many of these systems are woefully below acceptable livability standards. This financial inability to make repairs and renovations has consequences beyond a lack of curb appeal. Crime increases if safety features, such as cameras and lighting, do not work, and if you force people to live in dilapidated and ruinous conditions then they in turn lose pride in their community. The result is a self-perpetuating cycle of distrust and apathy that brings down the public housing system as a whole.