What Are the Benefits of Public Housing?

Provides Housing Options for Low-Income Families

Many of the families that take advantage of public housing options are unable to afford other living situations. This population is diverse and may consist of senior citizens, low-income families and students attending a college or university. In fact, according to the MyPHALinks website, public housing is a critical need for those workers in low-wage industries; food service is an example of such an industry. The site states that the rent subsidy on public housing totals an annual amount of $6,000 each for about 1.2 million homes within the nation's various public housing programs.

Eases Affordable Housing Burden on Local Real Estate Market

A private real estate market would not be able to sustain the needs of affordable housing in any one market without the existence of public housing. In fact, according to the CLHPA website, the cost to replace one public housing unit would be in the ballpark of $134,858 each. The site also states that the private real estate sector could not afford to provide affordable housing on the scale of public housing without some type of subsidy.

Drawbacks

There are drawbacks to public housing, however. These units are generally in blighted neighborhoods and can be a magnet for criminals engaging in all sorts of illegal activity. Because they rely heavily on monies received from government monies, cutbacks in programs and services sometimes causing public housing units to fall into disrepair. Moreover, there is a stigma associated with public housing, which may cause those that take advantage of it to feel a sense of shame because of their living conditions.

Considerations

For public housing to be truly effective, it must come with a wide range of services designed to help those who take advantage of it. For example, on-site job training services and easy access to social service programs can assist those in public housing to better their individual circumstances. It should not be seen as a permanent solution for those who live in these communities; but, instead, an option to take advantage of until a person is able to become more financially secure.