Even in New York, public housing became problemmatic by the late 1960s, as NYCHA relaxed its original tenant standards while federal ceilings on rent began to make it more difficult for housing agencies nationwide to address maintenance needs. A changeover in the residential population in the New York projects along with a cultural shift in the nation's view of government made things dicier still. Everywhere in the nation, housing projects would by the 1980s be seen as even more crime-ridden and drug-infested than American cities at large, all but out of control, a view that would come to monopolize depictions of the projects in the mass media. Construction of new housing with federal dollars became a non-starter.
Moreover, federal support even of existing housing projects across the country began to wane. Meanwhile, by 1998, New York State had walked away from the NYC projects, with the city itself following suit six years later. Crime would abate in Gotham's projects in the 1990s, following national and local trends, and NYCHA would reinstitute resident standards, but with federal support waning further in the new century and the housing stock itself growing older by the day, conditions would become ever more challenging for those who hung on in the apartments.
I'PROJECTS AND APARTMENTS BY YEAR OF ORIGINAL CONSTRUCTION OR REHABILITATION
By 2014, two-thirds of the projects, encompassing nine in ten apartments, were more than four decades old.