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      RS 40:382     


§382.  Findings and purposes

The legislature hereby finds, determines, and declares that:

(1)  There exists within this state a shortage of residential housing that is decent, safe, and sanitary, situated in safe, livable neighborhoods, and affordable to persons of low and moderate income.

(2)  Many persons and families throughout this state occupy inadequate, overcrowded, unsafe, or unsanitary residential housing because they are unable to locate and secure suitable housing at a price that they can reasonably afford.  This circumstance has resulted in undue concentrations of impoverished populations in certain areas, increased rates of crime, deterioration in human health, and other family and social dysfunctions, thereby seriously and adversely affecting the public health, safety, and welfare of persons residing in this state.

(3)  In addition to the lack of suitable, affordable housing, there persist in numerous areas of this state conditions of economic distress, accompanied by physical deterioration of public facilities and the commercial and residential infrastructure.

(4)  It is the goal and policy of this state that all its residents shall have access to decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable housing in safe and livable neighborhoods and it is the policy of this state to assure the availability, for rental or sale, of decent, safe, and sanitary housing that is affordable to all persons residing in this state.

(5)  It is further the goal and policy of this state that, to the maximum extent feasible, persons and families benefiting from activities authorized under this Chapter be encouraged to become economically self-sufficient.

(6)  Achieving permanent improvement in the living standards of persons of low and moderate income may require, in addition to providing enhanced housing opportunities, the delivery of social, educational, and other supportive services and the operation of programs to develop self-sufficiency and to provide economic and employment opportunities and other benefits for persons assisted under this Chapter.

(7)  Persons of low and moderate income possess inadequate access to sources of equity and financing for the purchase and ownership of housing at rates and upon terms reasonably affordable to such persons.

(8)  The adverse conditions described above cannot be remedied, nor can the above stated goals and policies be successfully carried out, through the ordinary functioning of private enterprise alone.  These objectives may be attainable, however, by diligent efforts of public agencies acting both alone and cooperatively with private sector entities and enterprises.  The actions of public agencies so taken are, therefore, not competitive with private enterprise.

(9)  The clearance, replanning, and reconstruction of areas in which housing is unsafe or unsanitary or in which neighborhoods are unsafe or unlivable; the provision of decent, safe, and sanitary housing that is affordable to persons of low and moderate income, including the development, leasing, or sale thereof, and the provision of supportive services and programs benefiting persons and families receiving housing assistance under this Chapter are public uses and purposes and essential governmental functions for which public funds may be spent and private property acquired.  The character of any expenditures of public funds contemplated under this Chapter, as necessary and proper public expenditures for essential government functions, is not altered because such expenditures may be made to, or in connection with, the activities of private sector entities or enterprises, whether nonprofit or for profit in nature.

(10)  The amount of funding for decent, safe, and sanitary housing that is affordable to persons of low and moderate income and for associated services to benefit such persons has not kept pace either with the growing demand for such housing and services or with the needs of local housing authorities to operate and maintain their facilities and programs.  Since local housing authorities have not possessed the power to tax, it is necessary to ensure other adequate funding sources for their activities.  Accordingly, this state must provide to its local housing authorities sufficient power to adequately address the housing needs of persons of low and moderate income within this state, and to operate related programs, with funding derived from public and private sources as well as the federal government.

(11)  The purposes of this Chapter will best be carried out by affording to local housing authorities of this state the maximum amount of flexibility, responsibility, and discretion.  Therefore, in carrying out the purposes of this Chapter, such authorities shall be presumed to possess broad powers and legal prerogatives which will enable them to carry out their purposes in any manner not prohibited by law.

(12)  Improved sources of financing must be made available to local housing authorities, and by local housing authorities to the private sector of the economy, to enable such authorities and private enterprise to increase the production of new housing, and to conserve and preserve the supply of existing housing, that is affordable for rental or sale to persons of low and moderate income.

(13)  This state and its public agencies should be involved to a significant degree in the provision of decent, safe, and sanitary, affordable housing for its residents within safe, livable neighborhoods.  It is the policy of this state to cooperate and to encourage all of its public agencies to cooperate with local housing authorities in order to facilitate, to the maximum extent feasible, the planning, development, and operation of decent, safe, and sanitary housing that is affordable to persons of low and moderate income.

(14)  Adverse social conditions and crime problems, including drug-related crime problems, exist within this state and in some local housing authority developments.  All practicable steps should be taken to mitigate adverse social conditions and to lessen the effects of drug and crime problems on residents of local housing authority developments.  Local housing authorities should possess the maximum power and authority to establish and implement policies, and to take all actions they deem appropriate, to mitigate adverse social conditions, and to eliminate drug and crime problems in their developments.

(15)  While it is the goal of this state to provide access to decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable housing to all of its residents, the benefits of this Chapter are not a matter of right, but of privilege, and persons accepting assistance under this Chapter shall, by such acceptance thereof, recognize their responsibilities to the local housing authorities providing such assistance and to other persons living in their vicinity.  Accordingly, local housing authorities shall be permitted to impose and enforce occupancy standards and requirements that are typical of those applicable in private dwellings.

Acts 1950, No. 401, §2; Acts 1950, No. 482, §1.  Amended by Acts 1960, No. 278, §§1, 2; Acts 1978, No. 786, §5, eff. July 17, 1978; Acts 1997, No. 1188, §1.

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