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The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • Rental Housing Policy in the United States
  • Volume 13 Number 2
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga

Rental Housing Assistance for the 21st Century

Brendan O’Flaherty, Columbia University

As with the articles in this issue, this introduction reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Current rental housing assistance programs are not designed to provide a safety net for people whose lives are volatile, nor are they designed to encourage low-income people to live in good locations. These deficiencies can be corrected. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) should establish a program of rental insurance— like mortgage insurance, but for renters. Low-income housing assistance formulas should be revised to reward good neighborhood features, and punish bad.

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