Government in My Community
ASSIGNMENT: For this assignment, you will write about an issue that is important to you, to your community, or to Americans in general. To do this, you will investigate the ways the government has or has not addressed your selected issue. As part of your research, you will choose at least five articles from newspapers, magazines, or other online sources that highlight the government’s response to the issue. You will then identify and analyze the government’s response and provide a personal reflection on the impact. In doing so, you will deepen your engagement with course content by applying what you’ve learned in Units 1 and 2 about the U.S. federal system and the division of powers among and between the different layers of government. To complete the assignment, download the Government in My Community template, and follow the directions below. You will return the completed template as your Touchstone submission.
Government in My Community Template
Example Government in My Community Submission (PDF)
In order to foster learning and growth, all essays you submit must be newly written specifically for this course. Any plagiarized or recycled work will result in a Plagiarism Detected alert. Review this tutorial for more about plagiarism and the Plagiarism Detected alert: Touchstones: Academic Integrity Guidelines.
Step 1: Select an issue that is important to you, to your community, or to Americans in general. Your community could be your geographical community (e.g., your neighborhood, town, or city), a community of people with shared characteristics with whom you identify, or the broader state or national community.
You can choose any issue, but here are some ideas to get you started: immigration; border security; public school policy; public safety; gun rights or gun control; victim rights; student testing; school choice; abortion; access to public transportation or city services; energy, environment, conservation, or economic issues; healthcare (cost of medicines or health insurance, health care access); homelessness; the death penalty.
Step 2: Find and read at least five articles from newspapers, magazines, or other online sources that highlight the government’s response to the issue. It is important that your articles do not only describe the issue or present opinions on the issue from general members of the public. Look for sources that communicate how government officials have responded or are responding to the issue. You will be asked to identify government officials by name in your articles.
Ideas for sources include news articles; speeches from political candidates or current office holders; campaign ads; press releases; and data collected from non-profit organizations, among others. The website www.usa.gov can be a good starting point for learning about government responses to various issues. Other online sources for information about government policy and services could include (but are not limited to):
State or local government websites
Political party websites (e.g., democrats.org; www.gop.com)
Step 3: After completing your research and reflecting on what you’ve learned, fill out the Government in My Community template. The suggested total word range is 1500-2500 words. You will respond to the following prompts:
What is the issue or problem that is impacting your community? Describe the issue or problem and its effects. (Remember to use in-text citations anytime you paraphrase, summarize, quote, or include data or statistics from your sources!)
In the U.S. federal system, which level of government (local, state, or national) or branch (executive, legislative, judicial) is responsible for addressing the issue? Is there more than one? Explain your reasoning. Be sure to include evidence from the U.S. Constitution and from the course to support your explanation.
Identify all of the government officials discussed in your sources. Include their names and the level of government and agency that the officials represent. For example, are they a member of Congress? A city council member? Or a member of a federal, state, city, or county agency?
How have these government officials attempted to address the issue? Describe their actions, citing evidence from all five articles or other online sources with in-text citations. For help understanding how and when to include in-text citations, see Section D “Additional Resources” (below).
In your opinion, has the government done a good job addressing the issue? Why or why not? What more should be done, and by which level of government?
Step 4: Compile your reference list in the APA style. Section D. “Additional Resources” (below) will help you to understand how to add your sources to the Government in My Community template.
Checklist for Success:
❒ Did you find articles that specifically communicate how government officials have responded or are responding to the issue you’ve selected, and have you identified who those officials are?
❒ Did you complete all sections of the Government in My Community template?
❒ Did you review the grading rubric and compare it to your response?
❒ Did you review the example Government in my Community submission to see an example of a completed assignment?
❒ Did you include in-text citations and a reference list in the APA style for 5 unique sources?
Government in My Community
A. Issue Impacting the Community
One issue that has significant impact in my local community is access to affordable housing. The rising cost of housing in recent years has made it increasingly difficult for many families and individuals to find an affordable place to live. This is an issue affecting communities across the United States as the demand for housing has outpaced supply in many areas (Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, 2022). The lack of affordable housing has several negative effects on individuals and families. Many must spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs, leaving less money for other necessities like food, healthcare, and transportation (National Low Income Housing Coalition, 2021). Some even become homeless when they can no longer afford rent or mortgage payments. This housing crisis also impacts local economies, as a lack of affordable housing can make it difficult for communities to retain workers and attract new businesses (National League of Cities, 2020).
B. Level of Government Responsibility
According to the U.S. Constitution, state and local governments have primary authority over housing and land use within their jurisdictions (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, n.d.). However, the federal government also plays an important role in addressing affordable housing through agencies like the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD administers programs that provide rental assistance to low-income families, support for homeless shelters, and community development block grants that fund local affordable housing initiatives (HUD, n.d.). The legislative branch at both the federal and state levels also addresses affordable housing through laws and funding measures. For example, Congress passes legislation determining how much funding is allocated to HUD programs each year. At the local level, city councils and county boards of supervisors make crucial land use and zoning decisions that impact housing supply. Therefore, all levels of government—federal, state, and local—have constitutional authority and shared responsibility in addressing the lack of affordable housing.
C. Government Officials and Actions
Several government officials have taken actions aimed at increasing affordable housing in my community. At the federal level, Secretary of HUD Marcia Fudge announced in 2022 that an additional $5 billion would be provided to communities through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to support the development and preservation of affordable housing (Fudge, 2022). At the state level, California State Senator Scott Wiener authored Senate Bill 9 in 2021, which requires cities to allow duplexes and lot splits in areas zoned for single-family homes, with the goal of creating more housing supply and options (Wiener, 2021). Closer to home, the mayor of my city, Eric Garcetti, launched the Affordable Housing Linkage Fee in 2020, a program that charges commercial developers fees that are used to fund affordable housing construction (City of Los Angeles, 2020). The city council also approved zoning changes in underdeveloped neighborhoods to allow for denser, multi-family housing developments.
D. Evaluation of Government Response
While more can still be done, the multi-level governmental response described has helped to incrementally address the affordable housing crisis. The additional HUD funding announced by Secretary Fudge will expand housing assistance for low-income families nationwide. SB 9 signed by Governor Newsom has the potential to significantly increase housing construction in California if cities fully implement the new law. Locally, Los Angeles’ linkage fee program and zoning changes are leveraging private development to generate funds for affordable housing production. However, with housing costs continuing to outpace wages in many communities, all levels of government must further prioritize affordable housing through additional funding, incentives for developers, and regulatory reforms that streamline new construction. Comprehensive solutions are also needed that couple affordable housing policies with investments in public transportation, to help give residents improved access to jobs and services regardless of housing costs. If the federal, state and local governments continue to coordinate their efforts, more progress can be made on this critical issue impacting communities across the United States.
City of Los Angeles. (2020, July 21). Mayor Garcetti launches affordable housing linkage fee. https://www.lamayor.org/mayor-garcetti-launches-affordable-housing-linkage-fee
Fudge, M. (2022, March 30). HUD announces $5 billion to support affordable housing. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/HUD_No_22_031
Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. (2022). The state of the nation’s housing 2022. https://www.jchs.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/reports/files/Harvard_JCHS_State_of_the_Nations_Housing_2022.pdf. research paper writing help.
National League of Cities. (2020, October 29). Housing affordability remains top concern for cities. https://www.nlc.org/article/2020/10/29/housing-affordability-remains-top-concern-for-cities/
National Low Income Housing Coalition. (2021). The gap: A shortage of affordable homes. https://reports.nlihc.org/gap/2021/gap-report
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (n.d.). Land use controls and housing affordability. https://www.huduser.gov/portal/pdredge/pdr_edge_featd_article_092214.html
Wiener, S. [Scott_Wiener]. (2021, September 16). Today, Governor Newsom signed SB 9, allowing homeowners to build up to 4 units of housing on single-family lots. This will help address our severe housing shortage & climate goals. [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/Scott_Wiener/status/1438472848557427712?s=20