Jul 5, 2023Liked by Sebastian Hallum Clarke

Great overview. You already noted the byzantine bureaucracy that a household has to go through to apply to these programs, let alone figure out which ones are applicable to them. That has to be an additional load on already burdened people. Even without streamlining of the actual programs, you'd think a simple webpage that let them punch in their details and get directed to the right programs would be useful. On the other hand, I wonder if we're missing how much folks get personally directed to these programs via less visible-to-us means, like those referrals from city agencies. That still likely misses tons of people who are eligible but don't make contact with the city government, which in turn leads to an underestimation of the overall need.

"These public housing developments were built between 1936 and 1997. Federal law caps the number of public housing apartments that the federal government will subsidize at the number that existed in 1999, so New York’s public housing stock has been stagnant since then."

Ooof, like many other areas of government, I wonder how much better public housing could be if it was something the government had kept building more of/engaging in, instead of stopping after an initial investment.

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I think you're right that a lot of public housing applicants are likely referred by city agencies who guide them through the process. That said, even making the expected waiting time more transparent would likely go a long way. (Perhaps something similar to what USCIS does with visa waiting times, something like "The family in XYZ priority category [such as being homeless, being a victim of domestic violence] that most recently successfully moved in to a NYCHA apartment originally applied for public housing in March 2017.")

I have to imagine that publicising information like that would make it easier for advocates to apply pressure on the government to take more action on housing.

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