Public Housing was a project undergone by the New York administration to ease the burden of accommodation on residents who cannot afford their own houses. The project has a long history that spans several decades. Throughout this period, it has been faced with times of uphill and downhill. The project is currently in a low ebb as so many of the buildings are in a state of disrepair. The drive to house the poor can be traced to the charitable action of some New Yorkers who set up model tenements in some slum areas of the city.
Soon afterwards, the Harlem River Houses were built to complement the already built ones.
The project started recording success stories. This however, lasted for just a few decades. This was because policy makers were beginning to feel the reality of the situation. Low income families occupied isolates, stacked in expensive-to-maintain apartments. This was a bitter pill to swallow. The initial aim of setting up this housing programme was to assist low income earners who could not afford their own houses to have a place to stay.
This was geared at reducing overcrowding, thereby reducing its attendant health implications. Overcrowding had the tendency of transmitting some infections and diseases.
In fact, Fiorello LaGuardia, who later rose to become the mayor of New York, stated that he would not have lost his wife and other child to Tuberculosis, had the tenement where his wife grew up not been conducive to transmit the disease. The housing project is facing a lot of problems at this time because of some attendant reasons; one of these is the fact that the cost of maintaining the project is very high. At this period when the U. S economy seems not to be doing well, administrators have found it increasingly difficult to keep up allocation to maintain the various housing estates.
One of the reasons for this is the inadequacy of the houses to serve the backlog of people who want to seek to be beneficiaries of the project. This means that at every time, the houses are full to capacity. In a situation whereby they are not optimally maintained, the houses continue to deteriorate. Safety is another paramount issue. The crime rate in most of the settlements continues to increase, even when there is no appreciable increase in the average crime rate in other parts of the city.
Moreover, some of the settlements are located far from the city centre, also making accessibility and security a big challenge. Already, management authorities are already leasing out some of the building to private managers who would make money from it by increasing the number of employed tenants that pay rent. This is already defeating the initial plan of reducing the burden of housing on indigent citizens of the city. Gradually, the vision is being eroded. Soon, none of the buildings would be left for those who cannot afford houses on their own, as there are no resources to maintain the houses.
Among the attendant effects of overcrowding includes invasion of privacy. In fact one of the most paramount reasons why people desire to have their houses is to keep their privacy. Overcrowding defeats this aim as more people are crammed in a small space. Security also becomes an issue. It also leads to a situation of shortage when more people, for instance, when 10 people are utilising the resources meant and budgeted for 3 people. The social effect is also adverse. Proper social interaction is lost as the environment is not conducive for normal social interaction.
This situation also has the tendency of propagating racial inequality as more people of the same race have the tendency of coming together to share the only available space, at the expense of other people of other races. Housing crowding also has a negative psychological impact, including psychological withdrawal, stress and aggression. Greater negative parent-child relations, less responsive parenting can also be fuelled by overcrowding. More child behavioural problems at school is also another problem that children can face as a result of residing in overcrowded homes.