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A History of Public Housing in New York City and the United States


  1. 1934: Depression-era public works money is earmarked for public housing.  The New York City Housing Authority is created. 

  2. 1935: First Houses, the first public housing project in the United States, is dedicated on the Lower East Side.

  3. 1937: Housing act co-authored by Senator Robert Wagner of New York creates a permanent role for the federal government in promoting public housing.

  4. 1949: Congress calls for more public housing and "slum clearance" to redevelop urban areas.

  5. 1971: A dispute erupts over a proposed NYCHA project in Forest Hills, Queens, exposing tensions over race and community control. The project was ultimately constructed at a lower density cost.

  6. 1972: St. Louis housing officials begin demolishing the Pruitt-Igoe projects. 1973: President Richard Nixon halts funding for new public housing.

  7. 1983: President Reagan slashes the Department of Housing and Urban Development's budge to $18 billion-a fifth of what it had been five years earlier. 1988: Federal preferences restrict public housing admission to extremely low-income people.

  8. 117 North Oxford Walk 8
    117 North Oxford Walk 8
  9. 1991: Legal Aid Society lawsuit charges NYCHA with racial steering.1992: Congress creates the Hope VI program to redevelop troubled public housing.  1998: Governor Pataki ends state operating assistance to public housing.

  10. 2001: The Federal Government begins a six-year trend of providing millions of dollars less than public housing authorities, including NYCHA, need. 2003: Mayor Michael Bloomberg ends city subsidies to public housing. 2004: Federal Government holds mass auction of public housing.

  11. 2006: NYCHA announces its Plan to Preserve Public Housing in the face of mounting deficits-raising rents, cutting the workforce and winning $120 million in emergency funds from Bloomberg.

  12. 2008: HUD approves NYCHA Plan to use Section 8 to fund some units in unsubsized state and city developments, effectively reducing the stock of public housing in the city.

  13. 2011: NYCHA hires Boston Consulting Group to "provide comprehensive business transformation consulting services," following a similar effort by Atlanta Housing Authority.

  14. 117 North Oxford Walk 6
    117 North Oxford Walk 6