For as long as statistics record, housing conditions in the United States have been improving. Housing that only the rich once enjoyed is commonplace today; by today's standards, most of the population was ill-housed at the turn of the century. Amidst this rise, however, inadequate living accommodations for a portion of the population have stubbornly persisted. Many families endure housing deprivations that are severe, even with respect to the norms of earlier years.Development of housing policy requires a blending of technical data, theory, and political and ethical considerations. This study is organized, therefore, around a planning framework. Housing needs and objectives are specified; housing resources are identified; theories of the problem are explored; alternative strategies are reviewed; and one of several possible packages of programs is elaborated in detail. Particular emphasis is placed throughout on the multiplicity of housing and non-housing goals and programs, and on the variety of client groups, which must be taken into consideration in trying to evolve an appropriate role for the public sector in this area of social concern.Specifically, this work begins with a quick sketch of Baltimore and an examination of local problems and policies. This is followed by a description of the dimensions of housing needs. Another chapter studies the low-income market empirically from the perspective of the person whom poor families rely on for housing services - the landlord. An investigation on several theories of slums, decay, and housing abandonment is discussed, and the authors formulate a composite theory that serves as a foundation for policy decisions. The final set of chapters explores in greater detail technical aspects of the proposals contained in the text, and the concluding chapter investigates their political feasibility.