VVhen the War on Poverty began 20 years ago, housing was one of the major battlefields. The concern then was with the reality of slums in the midst of affluence. For middle-class Americans, it was a time of economic growth and buoyant optimism, symbolized by a dramatic boom in middle-class homeownership. Today, the growing plague of homelessness across the nation reminds us that housing still is a major problem for the poor. But it is now also a problem for the middle class, which no longer can afford the American Dream. Indeed, it has become rather a nightmare: rising costs, shrinking space, an unprecedented epidemic of foreclosures, and a growing feeling of being trapped as long-term renters.
The housing crisis is both cause and...
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