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This article follows the shift in federal housing policy from a production emphasis during the decade after the Kerner Commission Report to a policy of limited support that enables a few low-income people to choose their own housing. It details specific legislation enacted over this period and highlights the continuing debate about the most effective use of federal housing funds. Also, discussed is the growth of state and local housing support programs, as well as the non-profit community housing development movement. The author points out that the legislative framework is in place for an effective national housing policy designed to reach those without access to decent housing. He argues for a reaffirmation of the national housing goal of a decent home for every American and a redirection of policy so that more of the funds reach those who need them most. Specific recommendations include capping the mortgage interest tax deduction, endorsing a low-income housing investment trust fund, decentralizing housing spending decisions to the states, establishing “permanently affordable” housing, and revitalizing public housing.

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