Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


School of Urban Planning and Regional Studies

Major Professor

Whelan, Robert K.

Second Advisor

Gladstone, David

Third Advisor

Rosenblum, Marc

Fourth Advisor

Thompson, Jerry

Fifth Advisor

Wildgen, John


Public housing in the United States has been a controversial sociopolitical topic since the years of the Great Depression. The issue of appropriate and secure habitation for the country's "deserving poor" continues to be of great importance as government subsidies become scarce in the early 21st century. This dearth of support for public housing is even more evident and prominent along the United States-Mexico border of South Texas, a territory described as having a third world environment. The dissertation is a narrative history of public housing in Laredo, Texas, a border community. Compiled from news media records and the archives of the Laredo Housing Authority, the study gives insight into methods used by this authority to achieve decent habitation for the underprivileged residents of one of the poorest cities in the United States. After a historical background of Laredo, the study follows a chronological development of federally funded housing through the six decades that began in 1938. The study accentuates the continuing need for such housing as its sponsoring federal agency; the Department of Housing and Urban Development fails to properly fund its subsidiary programs and projects. Principal governmental and nongovernmental sources substantiate the dearth of appropriate housing, with the author providing further insight to his native city's plight. The conclusion outlines how funding, together with higher upkeep and energy costs, will continue in a downward spiral and will lead to an increase in the underserved poor population.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.