Since their inception, the mutual programs of the 1940s were created as secondary to individual private homeownership, which has persisted as the dominant model in the decades since. While mutual or cooperative housing has taken various forms, the term typically denotes a buyer purchasing a share in a not-for-profit mutual association where the association (made up of the residents) owns and controls the houses and land.
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This article examines the values and policies that have shaped these stereotypes and critiques of public housing in the United States since its beginning in the 1930s. American public housing never fully succeeding is a matter of how we chose to implement it, not a problem inherent to the concept itself.