The Public Interest

Toward a permanent housing problem

Peter D. Salins

Fall 1986

THE PROBLEM of how to house the poor has been one of the most tenacious issues in the history of American social policy. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, social reformers have vigorously criticized the foul housing conditions in the worst neighborhoods of our cities. Even today, after a century of sustained economic growth and increased government intervention have virtually insured the basic needs of most Americans, there still remains a nagging perception among both scholars and the general public that a significant number of America’s families are not being adequately housed.

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