Segments in this Video

Affordability Crisis (03:39)


Investigative Journalist Laura Sullivan visits Dallas, where rising housing costs lead to 40,000 evictions annually. The 2008 foreclosure crisis impacted rental affordability nationwide. Over 11 million households now spend half their income on rent.

Seeking Government Assistance (04:31)

The United States Government allots $50 billion annually to house the poor; Section Eight is the largest housing program. Voucher recipients wait years to obtain one and only 25% of those who qualify receive them. Sullivan interviews three beneficiaries regarding their financial and living circumstances.

McKinney, Texas (05:10)

The Dallas suburb was among the best places to live in America. Developer Terri Anderson attempted to build an apartment complex offering Section Eight units; the community blocked her efforts. The Department of Housing and Urban Development was enlisted to investigate discrimination against the project.

Systemic Racism (04:11)

In 1933, the Public Works Administration built segregated housing in integrated cities. In the 1940s, Federal Housing subsidized suburban homes for white families; industries followed them out of urban areas. The 1968 Fair Housing Act triggered Section Eight and low income housing tax credit programs.

Affordable Housing Developers (07:02)

Brian and Cheryl Potashnik took advantage of the tax credit program and found a building site in McKinney; community members fought against them. They lobbied politicians and were later found guilty of bribery. Texas now requires letters of support from local officials to complete tax credit deals.

Affordable Housing Market (04:20)

Sullivan attends a tax credit industry expo; investors describe low income housing as a thriving, win-win business. She investigates program functionality, finding that construction has declined while costs have gone up 66%. The Internal Revenue Service does not monitor how credits are used.

Financial Corruption (08:46)

Michael Cox explains how low income programs save taxpayers money long-term. Carlisle Group partners inflated cost estimates, diverting $34 million from projects and extorting Cox. Attorney Michael Sherwin describes the situation as commonplace.

Fraudulent Business Practices (07:36)

Sullivan investigates DAXC and Casa Oasis, companies in Costa Rica owned by Pinnacle Group; Sherwin later charges DAXC with stealing tax credits. Officials discuss how the tax credit program is based on trust.

Crisis Investigation (05:36)

Lack of oversight and accountability contribute to tax credit corruption; policy makers suggest modifying the program. Sullivan revisits Dallas Section Eight recipients; none could find housing in good neighborhoods that would accept their vouchers.

Credits: Poverty, Politics and Profit (01:01)

Credits: Poverty, Politics and Profit

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Poverty, Politics and Profit

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An investigation into the billions spent on housing the poor, and why so few get the help they need. With NPR, the film examines the politics, profits and problems of an affordable housing system in crisis.

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: FMK188608

Copyright date: ©2017

Closed Captioned

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