Federal money has been used for more than 40 years to help a growing number of American families obtain better housing than they could otherwise afford. Now, more than 3 million of the country's 76 million households benefit from housing subsidies that total $4 billion a year. Ten years ago, 800,000 households benefited from programs that cost $400 million a year. Housing subsidies expand as fast as federal funds are made available. Maybe as many as 30 million households—two out of every five—are eligible under existing programs for assistance in meeting housing costs. If fully funded, these programs could cost more than $50 billion a year.