Problem Analysis: Subsidized Housing HUD and Section 8

Assignment 1: Problem Analysis (70 points)

In this paper, you are asked to select a current social problem of interest that impacts New Mexicans and to describe the nature and scope of the social problem.  By documenting the scope of a problem and its causes and impacts, you provide rationale for policy intervention and identify possible targets for intervention.  Thus, problem analysis is the first part of political action. 

In order to document and analyze the problem, please use the following guidelines, as appropriate. Note that not every question below will be relevant to your topic. Refer to chapter 4 in the Segal textbook for more guidance.

  1. What is the nature of the problem, its symptoms or indicators?  That is, please describe and define the problem.
  2. How serious is the problem? Please use statistics to illustrate how many people or what percentage of the population or a subgroup of the population are affected by this problem. Also note, if possible, how the rate of the problem has changed over time.
  3. What are the demographic characteristics of the population most affected by the problem, according to statistics? These characteristics may include geography (region or the country, urban/rural), gender, race, ethnicity, age, country of origin, language, etc.) 
  4. What are the personal, social, and societal characteristics of the population most affected by this problem (e.g., educational attainment, income, life history, health status, community resources and risks, etc.)?
  5. Briefly, what does the research say may be the causes of this problem?
  6. What are the consequences, the economic and social costs associated with this problem, according to the literature? That is, what are the harmful effects of this problem for the individual and for society?
  7. Provide a short paragraph summarizing of the nature and scope of the problem, which represents your rationale for policy action.

This paper will likely be roughly 3 pages, double-spaced, with in-text citation of your sources and an end reference list (in APA style). The end reference list is not counted in the page total. 

As this is a short, quick problem analysis, it may be sufficient to use only two or three carefully selected, scholarly references.  These may include government reports, non-partisan research institute or advocacy group reports, and/or academic peer-reviewed journal articles. 

  • The data on incidence and prevalence of a problem and the demographic groups most at risk will most likely come from a government report (e.g., census.gov, bls.gov, nces.ed.gov, samhsa.gov or drugabuse.gov, cdc.gov/nchs, hud.gov, childwelfare.gov, etc.). 
  • Causes and effects data might also come from governmental or non-partisan non-governmental research institute reports (e.g., cbpp.org, urban.org, kff.org, aecf.org, scholarsstrategynetwork.org, brookings.edu, pewresearch.org, etc.).
  • Additional evidence on possible causes and effects of the problem will be available in scholarly research journal articles.

Subsidised Housing is there Enough to go Around

Public housing was first established to provide safe and affordable housing to low-income families, elderly, and physically challenged people. Since the 1970’s the dominant model has shifted from unit-based programs to vouchers. 1.2 million people are living in public housing units in America (U.S. Development of Housing and Urban Development, 2015). Section 8 housing is one of the largest housing programs regulated by HUD, “providing subsidies to low-income families living in privately-owned rental units of their choosing.” (Cutts, 2002). The housing choice voucher program is a federally run program providing housing for the elderly, disabled, homeless, and very low-income families.  Housing choice vouchers are distributed by public housing agencies, which receives funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the voucher.

The lack of affordable dwelling units has led to high rent burdens, overcrowding, and substandard living; a situation that has forced more people to remain homeless and also puts more at greater risk of becoming homeless. The demand for assisted housing supersedes the supply with only thirty percent of the poor receiving housing subsidies from the government; hence more poor people depending on the housing assistance are forced to wait for the extended periods of time, the average duration being at least thirty-five months (National Coalition For the Homeless, 2009). Longer stays in homeless shelters lead to lesser space for the other homeless, and in turn, have to look for alternative places to find shelter or on the streets. The scenario depicts a housing crisis in the United States of America.

The Section 8 housing program provides long-term housing. Once you complete the application and bring in the needed documentation, one is put on a waiting list. The waiting list and preferences depend on the Public Housing Authority in your area. Some example of choices from The United States Interagency on Homelessness is “veterans, people with disabilities, individuals who are homeless, chronically homeless people, and individuals who are moving on from permanent supportive housing or transitional housing services.” Due to the high demand, you can be on the waiting list for several years; some waiting lists are closed due to the number of people needing housing (U.S. Development of Housing and Urban Development, 2015). However, many public housing authorities have made amendments for people that are homeless to get on the waiting list regardless if it is closed….

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