Box 22, Folder 18, Document 23

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Box 22, Folder 18, Document 23

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A PILOT P (X;R.A.t\.l TO P RO::-lOTI..: HO:-IEG:E-.:ERSllIP .1~- iO:'-!G SLUl'-I RESIDS:;:-ns
by Anthony Dmvns
The desire to own n home is a bas ic par t of our tra dition.
Today 62% of Amer ican f amilies h ave ach i eved tha t des ire.
Yet the re
are still millions of f ami lies who wou ld J. il~e to own the ir m-Tn h omes~.
but c annot.
arr angements.
They are too poor to do so und er present financing
l eas t, ha lf a million such househo ld s now r ent
sub standard h ou s ing in our metropolitan area s.
A chance to mm a de cent
home of their m-m mi ght hav e a profound effect up on their att i tuc es
towards soci e ty.
Instead o f f ee li no like fru strat e d and he l pless
transi e nts floa t ing a l ong in th e po re rty and filth of t he slums , they
c ou l d b g in deve loping a chanc e o_f contro l ove r . the ir
The y cou l d gradual l y build a stake in the ir commun it i es , alld wou l d l earn
how t o u se ar'.d b enef it fro:n l ega l and politic a l i nstit uti ons they no
rega rd with hos tility.
Furthermore, providing th e l m-r- income h ou sehold with h ome-owner hip
assistance would no, be g iving them the same advnntage we a l r eady ext end
t o mil li ons o f middle-income and up per- income households.
These h ous ehol ds
now r eceive a l arge subs icly i n the form of f ederel income tax deduction
for the int er es t and pr operty t axes pa id on the ir home s .
Thi s subsidy
amounts to at l east $1. 7 bilU on per year for j ust the wea lth iest 20%
i n the form of al l public h ousing pnymcnts, we l fare payme nts ~ and t ax
deductions c ombined.
Cl e ar l y, t ax de ductions aren ' t much he lp t o f amili e s
with littl e or no t axab l e inc o~e .
Sc simple j ustic e demands tha t we
encourc1ge h ome owners hip fo r th em in some oth e r way mor e suit ab l e to
the i r n eeds,
Th ere fore, we r ecomme nd ena ctment o f a pi l ot program of aid to
l ow-income famili es to h e lp th em achieve home owne rship.
This program
should conc entra t e up on slum dwe ll er.s because the y nou h ave at l east an
opportunity to mm de c ent h omes, and bec auf;e it Hou l d h e l p i mprove s l um
l iving cond itions in genera l .
The pr og ram shou ld ass i s t s l um r es id ents
either to move out of slums by buying h o:nes e l sewh ere s or to ac qu ire
ownership of new l y r eha bilitated ui1its in ne i ghb orho ods whoch will be
u p-gr aded t hr ough a wid e variety of oth er progr ams to o -- as in the
~Jode l Citi es Program.
This h ome- m,mer hip program wo uld he lp l m-:~lncome
famil i es buy sing l e-family ·houscs s · individua l unit s in multi- fam ily
c ond om i niums , or apartment bu il dings ,~1 i ch th ey op er ated as r es i de nt
l and lord s - - r ep lacing absentee l and l ords
, ~10
had neg l e c ted t he i r prop-rties.
Seve r a l types of aid would b e i nvo l ved in thi s program .
First , th e
slum hou s i ng units i nvo l ved would be su bstandard one s r ehab ili tated by a
pub l ic agency or a non-pro fi t group be fore be i ng so l d t o n ew owne rs.
Second, b e l ow-market- r ate l oans shou ld be us ed to fina nce owners on a
n o-down payment bas i s.
Third, potentia l ·o·,mers should reciev e advanced
t r a ini ng in th e sk ill s of minor ma i ntenances f inanc ing , and oth e r
r esponsib ilities of owne rshipo
Fourth, new owners from t he l owest-
i ncome groups would need a monthly h ous i ng supp l ement sim i lar to the rent
supplement but app lic a ble to owne rship payment s.
Fifth, so;ne t enant s
i n r es id ent- l andlord bu ildings t-:ou ld receive r ent supj_::-le.;nents.
owners should receive follow-on couns e li ng about financin 6 , and repairs.
Seventh~ th e publ i c agency r unni n g the prog r a:11 would agr ee to buy b a ck
the housing invo lved duri ng a fi xed pe riod in c as e the owne rs c ould not
car ry the r e quir e d burdens.
In our opinion ~ thj s i s a program s o lidly in the Ame ri c an t radition,
and we ll worth trying.
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