Housing and Urban Development Act
established a Cabinet-level department to coordinate federal housing programs. Intended as a measure to improve living conditions in urban areas, it provided comprehensive housing assistance to low- and moderate-income families and gave urban interests an active voice in federal housing policy. Previous legislation had authorized low-cost mortgage loans administered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), suburban development programs (e.g., the G.I. Bill), and various neighborhood rehabilitation programs, including some urban renewal efforts; but only with the creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 1965 did federal assistance become available on a large scale to blighted urban areas. A 1968 amendment set as a target the construction of millions of new housing units and gave HUD more direct administrative authority, but the program was halted by executive order under President Richard M. Nixon and subsequently revised to provide primarily rent assistance. By the 1990s federal housing policy had shifted toward an emphasis on local block grants, various savings and loan programs, and private home ownership.