Environment: New Views on Housing

The U.S. public housing program is in terrible shape. Almost anywhere a project starts, neighbors complain that unwanted poor people are being imposed on otherwise stable communities. The projects' own residents, admitted only if their income is below prescribed levels, argue that they are being segregated from the rest of society. Worst of all, inflation has so increased the cost of operating buildings that many housing officials are beginning to wonder if they can any longer meet their mandate to provide decent low-rent shelter.

To meet the most immediate needs, Massachusetts Senator Edward W. Brooke has introduced legislation to authorize $335 million...