The Housing Crisis

Housing: when politics and policy meet

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017 

Frontline
NPR

Collaboration with Frontline and NPR.

More working Americans are struggling to make rent than at any time since the Great Depression. In "Poverty, Politics and Profit: The Housing Crisis," a new program airing Tuesday, May 9, nationwide on PBS stations, FRONTLINE and NPR investigate the crisis in affordable housing and why so few are getting the help they need.

The nine-month investigation took the team from Dallas to Miami, to an upscale resort in Costa Rica. NPR’s Laura Sullivan and FRONTLINE’s Rick Young (who previously collaborated on an investigation of the Superstorm Sandy relief effort, “Business of Disaster”) found just one in four households eligible for Section 8 assistance are getting it.

The money trail raised questions about the oversight of a program meant to aid low-income people. “Poverty, Politics and Profit” also explores the inseparability of race and housing programs in America, tracing a legacy of segregation that began more than 80 years ago.

The program is co-produced by the Investigative Reporting Workshop, which paired graduate researchers/reporters Kate McCormick, Jerrel Floyd and Josephine Peterson alongside Young and co-producers Emma Schwartz and Fritz Kramer. Floyd also worked as a production assistant in Washington.

You can read Patrice Taddonio's overview on FRONTLINE's site.

And learn more about how the low-income housing program works today —with fewer units being built and four-year waitlists — by Laura Sullivan and Meg Anderson, on NPR's site. 

You can see how we determined that the federal housing program has led to fewer units being built by reading our methodology here, by Emma Schwartz, Jerrel Floyd and Meg Anderson.

You can view both the trailer and the full program below.

FRONTLINE will present four programs in May looking at life and American politics.