According to my research, there are 139 million homes in the United States, and 1.3 million are owned by public housing authorities. It seems to me that more public housing could be possible solution to housing shortages and rent costs being too high. Is that accurate? If so, why isn't there more public housing in the US?
Building of new public housing units has been banned in the US since 1999.
The Faircloth amendment was part of the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998, a Clinton-era response to growing public dissatisfaction with public housing. The provision curbed any increase in such units above 1999 levels.
Since then, the public housing supply has steadily decreased. In 1996, the U.S. had more than 1.3 million units, and in 2019 there were 987,000, according to the Housing and Urban Development Department.
According to the article which talks about attempts to repeal the Faircloth amendment as part of the new Infrastructure Bill, there's a little bit in there talking about how public housing ended up with such a poor reputation that the amendment was passed in the first palce.
In the 1990s people saw public housing as a failed program that brought drugs and violence to neighborhoods, Sue Popkin, director of the Urban Institute’s Housing Opportunities and Services Together Initiative, said. Almost no new public housing was built after 1975, and the Nixon and Reagan administrations shifted funds toward the private market, Popkin said.
“A lot of what caused the situation in the first place was not the buildings themselves or the people in them,” Popkin said. “It was the legacy of segregation; it was the disinvestment.”