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Public housing in the United States is housing administered by federal, state and local agencies to provide subsidized assistance for low-income households. Now increasingly provided in a variety of settings and formats, originally public housing in the U.S. consisted primarily of one or more concentrated blocks of low-rise and/or high-rise apartment buildings. These complexes are operated by state and local housing authorities which are authorized and funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. More than 1.2 million households currently live in public housing of some type. Subsidized apartment buildings, often referred to as housing projects or its slang derivation "the projects", have a complicated and often notorious history in America. While the first decades of projects were built with higher construction standards and a broader range of incomes and applicants, as time went on, public housing increasingly became the housing of last resort. In many cities, housing projects suffered from mismanagement and high vacancy rates. Furthermore, housing projects have also been seen to greatly increase concentrated poverty in a community, leading to several negative externalities. As a result, many of the housing projects constructed in the 1950s and 1960s have since been torn down. In recent decades, public housing has increasingly taken different formats. Since the 1970s, subsidized housing has increasingly been funded through rent vouchers rather than the construction of subsidized units. Additionally, since the early 1990s, rather than constructing large subsidized complexes, the federal government has used funds under the HOPE VI Program to tear down distressed public housing projects and replace them with mixed communities built in coordination with private partners.

 

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