Henry Cisneros and others believe that the Section 8 household-based rental assistance program can alleviate the housing problems of poor families. Under this program, the federal government allocates funds to local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) which in turn subsidize qualifying families through partial rent payments to their landlords. Families can choose their own apartments in the local housing market, provided that both the apartment quality and lease meet federal standards. Many conservatives assert that this demand-side program is more efficient than supply-side housing policies such as public housing and project-based housing assistance, and liberals generally believe that the program helps reduce the geographic isolation of the urban poor, particularly minorities. With broad bipartisan support, the program has expanded dramatically since its inception in 1974 and now serves close to a million and a half households nationally.

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