In the United States public houses are primarily located in neighborhoods characterized by low or middle-income families. A major concern is that these families become subject to dangers and threats that ordinary families do not get exposed to. Overcrowding of houses, poor health, and poor nutrition habits are among the many contributing factors to low-income families living in vulnerable and unhealthy public houses. Public housing is a prime illustration of low-income families being threatened by dangerous situations that lead to very unhealthy living conditions.
One of the significant effects of public housing results in below average exam scores by less fortunate students (70). According to Schwartz, “the peer group in the typical school attended by public housing students is poorer and performs substantially worse on standardized exams than peers at other schools throughout the city” (70). One might suggest that these low exam scores are connected with the issue that community and home environments shape the foundation for educational success (70). Unfortunately, many of these public housing developments are located in areas that are characterized as being minority and high-poverty urban neighborhoods (70). On the contrary, exam scores of the kids that live outside of the public housing but still attend the same schools have not shown any decline in their exam scores (70). Moving students to schools in safer and less poverty stricken areas of town can cause an increase in the exam scores of low-income students (70).
Michael Sullivan and Theora Evans conducted a pilot study to better understand the level of self-competence in African American adolescents living in public housing developments in the mid-South (Sullivan 513). The goal of the study was to determine how the environment of these adolescents may affect their dimensions of self-competence. A comparative analysis was conducted between the sample means and those obtained from the population of which the SPPC instrument was used (513). The experiment compared the ratings of physical appearance and scholastic competence of males versus females. Physical appearance and scholastic competence were associated with global self-worth, and family turmoil was associated with fewer close friendships (513). The study’s measurements included “Harter’s Self-Perception Profile for Children scale (SPCC) and Hudson’s Family Relationship Problems domain contained in his Multidimensional Adolescent Assessment Scale (513). The study concluded that males scored significantly higher on self-ratings of physical appearance than females (513).
Although there are clear indications that over the past few decades the problems with adolescent behavior have substantially decreased, the youth in low-income housing are still vulnerable (514). Adolescents between the ages of eleven and thirteen living in substandard public housing are targets for serious environmental factors for juvenile delinquency including: proliferation of weapons, deviant peer structures, and a host of social problems associated with low-social economic status (514). They find themselves getting lured into trouble and gang-affiliation because they do not have protective benefits of school, community, and church connectedness or peer structure (514). Aggression is often used in desperate communities as a tool to obtain an individual’s wants and is characterized as a “might equals right” philosophy (514). The opportunity to formulate and employ alternative problem-solving skills often eludes some adolescents for a lifetime (514). The result leads to these adolescents who engage in illegal and aggressive behaviors becoming role models for minors trying to learn problem solving and functioning skills (514).
Research has shown that “residents living in public housing have the worst health of any population in the USA” (Erin, 1). Many of the public house residents are...