HUD Scandals: Howling Headlines and Silent Fiascoes

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9781560000426: HUD Scandals: Howling Headlines and Silent Fiascoes
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Mention the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the word scandal comes to mind. When it comes to recent history, the association is quite accurate; in 1989-90 congressional panels were investigating "abuses, favoritism, and mismanagement" at HUD; in 1954 HUD's predecessor, the Federal Housing Administration, was targeted by the FBI for involvement in fraudulent home-improvement schemes; in the 1970s HUD was scrutinized for lax lending standards, blatant overappraisals, and shoddy housing. In this ground-breaking volume, Irving Welfeld, a senior analyst with HUD, describes and explains these sensational episodes as well as a series of hidden blunders that have cost taxpayers billions of dollars.In this thorough, firsthand account, Welfeld provides not only soundly documented history, but analyses of events that arrive at different interpretations than Congress reached in its investigations. Throughout, his readings ask hard and probing questions: Where were the overseers - the media, Congress, the General Accounting Office, the Office of Management and Budget? To what extent is poor management the root cause of HUD's failures? Will tighter regulation help in keeping out corruption?After his comprehensive survey of the scene, Welfeld goes the final step and offers solutions: a set of programs that would minimize secrecy on the part of federal administrators and the temptation to abuse the public trust. Most importantly, the programs outlined here will enable HUD to more effectively fulfill its mission to see that there is decent affordable housing for all Americans. HUD Scandals will be of interest to scholars of public administration, political scientists, and analysts of housing issues.

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About the Author:

Irving Welfeld is a senior analyst at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and formerly served as an attorney in the department’s Office of the General Counsel. He is the author of America’s Housing Problem, European Housing Subsidiary Systems, Where We Live, and numerous articles that have appeared in law, public policy, and housing journals. 

Review:

“[A] narrative history of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)... Recommended for libraries wanting specialized coverage on housing and HUD. Academic and large public library collections.” 

—E. C. Erickson, Choice

"Irving Welfeld has brought his enor­mous knowledge of our housing pro­grams to the analysis of HUD scan­dals... He shows that our basic problem has been badly designed pro­grams which cannot... be effectively administered so as to direct subsidies to those who need them most... Welfeld tells us not only what has gone wrong... but how we can set it right...  This is a book for ev­eryone who deals with and is con­cerned with housing policy."

—Nathan Glazer, Harvard University

"Irving Welfeld, an experienced analyst of housing policy, has undertaken the difficult job of finding out what went wrong in federal housing programs since World War II. Though housing has undeniably improved, the writer is discouraged about everything except the ingenuity some Americans have demonstrated in exploiting housing legislation for their private benefit. Mr. Welfeld concludes on the happy note that he has designed a better housing program and he may be right."

—Roger Starr, former head New York Hous­ing Authority

"Welfeld skillfully roasts a herd of sacred cows and serves up a tasty barbecue of good intentions badly legislated, inept program management, and chica­nery, misfeasance and malfeasance by a colorfully drawn cast of characters. Each course is served with balance and entertaining garnishes. His recipe for change offers a provocative bromo for the indigestion and heartburn that these tales should cause among housing advocates, legislators and profes­sionals. Must reading for anyone who cares about the housing crisis in our country."

—Barry Zigas, president, National Low Income Housing Coalition

"Irving Welfeld knows more about government housing programs than anyone in America. Fortunately, he also knows how to write. HUD Scandals is accu­rate and well documented, but nevertheless reads like a novel.... [It] should be required reading for every informed voter who wants to know not only about housing policy but also about how government policy is made and carried out, that is, how his tax dollars are spent.... But Welfeld is not content merely to relate the shortcomings of the past. He has a better mousetrap. Undaunted by the fact that the world has not beaten a path to his door since he first constructed the mousetrap some twenty years ago, he once again offers his ... programs for consideration, while exercising a dig­nified restraint in not saying in so many words 'I told you so.'"

—Sheldon L. Baskin, developer and attorney at law

"Irving Welfeld's HUD Scandals enlightens, entertains, teaches, and chal­lenges; a formidable combination! The book is a joy to read. Only a bemused observer and critic like Welfeld would have the patience and insight to pierce the complex and labyrinthine character of U. S. Housing policy. His lesson is both clear and correct—where policy is complex and dominated by powerful interests, rely on simple arrangements that get the incentives right, that further consumer choice, that aid those that need it the most, and that rely on markets and not on bureaucratic discretion. It demonstrates that scholarship does not have to be dull to be revealing, and to deal in the abstract to be insightful."

—Robert Haveman, John Bascom Professor of Economics and Public Policy, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Welfeld is a provocatively original and shrewdly knowledgable housing policy analyst. His readers. . . will have to confront fresh viewpoints that may well become their own."

—Hilbert Fefferman, consultant on HUD legisla­tion

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