Adequate Housing: problems, prospects and programs

January 29, 2001

The problem of substandard and/or inadequate housing, affects social, psychological and emotional well being, and poses an ethical and practical problem for the larger society. This course will examine both these issues from the perspectives of the social sciences and social ethics, and will include a weeklong work experience with Phelps Area Habitat For Humanity, in the hills of eastern Kentucky.

Required reading:
Life In All Its Fullness: The Word of God and Human Rights. American Bible
Society (gift of the Americana Bible Society, handout)
Millard Fuller, Theology of the Hammer,
Warren R. Copeland, And the Poor Get Welfare

Handouts from the following:
Marcia Lowe, Shaping Cities: Environmental and Human Dimensions
Robert Sapolsky, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers
Angela Callahan, “A HUD Report card”
Peter Dreier and John Atlas, “U.S. Housing Policy at the crossroads: Rebuilding the Housing Constituency”
Andrew Cuomo. “US department of Housing and Urban Development Accountability Report 1996”
“US Department of Housing and Urban Development 1998 Rental Housing Assistance–The crisis Continues”

Written requirements:
A pairs project consisting of a short paper and an oral report to the class, on one aspect of the community we will be working with on our Habitat project (see assignment);
position paper written as a response to Copeland’s book;
written description of the housing environment of your local town or county;
An essay final exam.

Travel costs are covered; you are expected to contribute $50 to the food fund outof which we will prepare our meals (it is anticipated that this will be returned to you when our dining service adjusts your semester bill for the week away with the class); you are expected to make a $50 donation to the Phelps Area HFH as is the custom with college work groups.

The class meets, with the exception of the week on the project, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 8:30-12. We will take two breaks during this time each day.

Course Outline:

Thursday, April 22
Introduction to the course
Lecture: Theological background to Fuller (Moody)
Friday, April 23
Lecture: History of housing (Konick)
Discussion: Is there a right to housing?
Reading: Theology of the Hammer. chs 1-5
“Declaration of Human Rights”
Sunday, April 25
Vans to Freeburn, Ky.
Read: Theology of the Hammer, chs. 6- 10
Monday, April 26-Friday, April 30
Habitat work project
Evening discussion with JT, member of the Habitat Board
Evening concert with local folk musician
Evening visit with Sr. Grace at Catholic mission
Visit to Matewan, W.Va.
Monday, May 3
Visiting lecturer: Steve Frye, Executive Director, Greater Cleveland HFH
Discussion of work experience
Read: Handouts
Tuesday, May 4
Video: “What’s Good for General Motors”
Discussion of Coleman. chs. 4-5
Reports on demographics of Pike County, KY
Read: And the Poor Get Welfare, chs. 4-5
Thursday, May 5
Discussion of Coleman. chs. 6-7
Finish reports on demographics of Pike County, KY
Read: And the Poor Get Welfare, chs. 6-7
Friday, May 7
Lecture on urban renewal (Konick)
Discussion of Coleman. chs. 8- 10
Read: And the Poor Get Welfare, chs. 8- 10
Monday, May 10
Visiting lecture: David Palmstrom, volunteer Executive Director, Northern Portage County HFH
Paper due (position paper)
Tuesday, May 11
Lecture on history of government housing (Konick)
Discussion of Wilson’s position
Paper due (home description)
Final evaluation discussion.
Wednesday, May 12
Final Exam


Paper I / Report
Pick one of the following topics and describe the characteristics of our work site:
1. Population
2. History
3. Income levels
4. Employment
5. Local-state government
6. Welfare system
7. Local religious institutions
8. Geography
9. Zoning and building, codes
10. Banks and financial institutions
11. Volunteer organizations
Papers should be 2-3 pages long. One grade will be assigned to both writers. Make use of both web sources and oral sources on site.

Paper II
Develop a two to three page position paper in response to the book, And The Poor Get Welfare. The paper should take a cogent position regarding what would be a good response to the need for adequate housing, and should refer to the book and at least one other source, such as those represented below. This is your contribution to the thought of the class. It should be ready to share with your colleagues. You may work jointly, as a team, but each person should present a separate paper with different information or slant. (Two people could work with material from two different denominations, for instance, or material from local church boards presented in a team with denominational sources.)

Report Topics:
Religious response: Catholic encyclicals, Denominational statements and positions, Local mission boards, National mission boards, Patterns of giving, Patterns of voluntarism
Theological investigation: Raushenbusch, Henri Nouwen, Dorothy Day, Catholic Bishops on the economy

Paper III
Do a housing evaluation of your home area (by county or metropolitan statistical area). Include Federal and State initiatives, census data, HUD data and local housing authorities.

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