NewsNational Politics

Public housing would receive big boost from Build Back Better Act

Billions would be spent to address repairs
California Attorney General Housing
Posted at 5:00 AM, Dec 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 05:01:03-05

WASHINGTON — Across the country, more than 2 million Americans live in public housing, which are homes provided for and often maintained by the federal government and tax dollars.

But in recent years, many of those facilities have fallen into disrepair.

The Park Morton apartments in Washington, D.C. is one of those complexes.

For Shonta' High, it isn't a blighted property, it's her community that is filled with memories.

High said the complex has cracked walls and ceilings, is infested with mice, and has A/C issues.

High said the ceiling hasn't been fixed because there is a backlog of work orders.

High's public housing conundrum is hardly an isolated case.

According to the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, the country is facing an $81 billion public housing repair backlog.

At Park Morton, local leaders in Washington, D.C. concluded it was better for residents to just move to other parts of the city and into better units.

High says that sounds good on paper, but notes that people are being moved away from their community.

"So many of the people here, we loved them and made great memories," High said fighting back tears.

"People look at us in the projects or the hood and they don't see the quality of life of the people that can come from destitute," High added.

CONGRESS TAKING ACTION?

Congress has at least noticed, for the moment, the public housing maintenance crisis. The Build Back Better bill, which could get a vote in the Senate by Christmas, includes $65 billion to improve living conditions in public housing nationwide.

However, there remains plenty of opposition to the spending.

Republican leaders are worried spending billions could make inflation worse.

High says she just fears more and more communities will be lost if nothing is done.

"We need it," she said.