They're in great demand. They're not meeting the demand because the government agencies are no longer building public housing to meet the demand. The Republicans in Congress cut off funding with for example the Faircloth Amendment https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] which forbid federal money for new public housing construction (while they tore down the old public housing). They've got money for war, prisons and the war on drugs but not for housing.
You're surprised that free or subsidized housing is in great demand? You drop the price of steak down to $1/pound from the ~$10/pound it tends to be here and I'd eat a lot more of it!
As for the money for prisons and the war on drugs, that's running out...
A lot of the schools, police stations, post offices, libraries, parks, and other public works that we still use today in New York City were built during the depression by the Works Projects Administration. A well-managed government can do just as well as private industry, and sometimes better.
I have no objections to the government building government buildings.
When have you actually been in public housing in New York City? They were mixed-income housing, mostly middle-class families, particularly civil servants such as police, firemen, teachers, postmen, etc., and other typical middle-class workers such as salesmen, mechanics, restaurant workers, etc. The benefit of mixed-income housing is that the middle-class residents helped the newcomers to find better jobs and get better education. There are special public housing projects like Westbeth for artists.
Middle class people shouldn't need public subsidized housing.
There was a time when the real estate industry wasn't quite so greedy, and even accepted public housing, but now they want to squeeze out every dollar. There's a lot of corruption in local politics, but when we had well-managed city agencies, with strong political watchdog groups, we had good public housing.
You're indicating here that it's a government problem. More government is supposed to fix this? I was thinking more along the lines of clearing out complicated regulations that limit the number of developers in the area. Some new players and the existing ones would have to be more efficient or accept less profit.
I'm looking out my window right now. We're getting plenty of housing built. I see 40-story apartment buildings going up around me. The problem is that apartments rent for $3,000 or more and sell for $1 million or more. In some buidings, half the apartments are empty, owned by absentee landlords in Russia, Qatar or someplace, as investment properties. We just don't have housing that middle-class people can afford.
Well, it sounds like the problems are solving themselves, at least slowly. encourage even more housing - and if you have so many absentee landlords not even bothering to rent places out, I'd consider raising the property taxes on the area.
By which I mean, for example, raise property taxes 100%. Offer a 50% 'homestead' discount for people who it's their primary residence. Use the excess money to fund 'free' public transportation, other perks for the people actually living there. ;)
Or raise it and lower the local sales tax, in a sort of opposite approach from tourist areas where they'll raise the sales tax to soak the non-locals more before raising property taxes.
If the non-locals are buying property and leaving it empty without showing up, tax what they're buying more. Soak them.
I know Milton Friedman's solution: move where housing is cheaper, which would be in Western Pennsylvania or Texas. Well, I don't want to move to Western Pennsylvania or Texas. This is my City and I helped build it. I don't see why some billionaire from Qatar or Russia should be able to kick me out and take over.
Then work to be able to afford to live there. That includes voting the corrupt and incompetent out of office - at all levels of government.