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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

John M. Quigley, University of California, Berkeley

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.


The worst-case housing needs of low-income households arise largely from their high rent burdens, not from physically inadequate housing. Thus, the programs of housing assistance for these households initiated in the Great Depression should now be recognized as a part of the nation’s welfare system, not as an infrastructure investment program. This paper considers the most important implications of these facts for the design of housing assistance programs and for the administration of housing subsidies.

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