Housing & Community Development

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New York City
Encyclopedia of Homelessness. Berkshire Publishing,

Weitzman, B.C. & Fischer, S.N.
01/01/2004

At any given moment, about 3 million American women, men, and children are homeless. And another 5 million Americans spend over 50% of their incomes on housing, meaning that one missed paycheck, one health crisis, or one unpaid utility bill can push them out the door into homelessness. Homelessness is one of the major social problems and personal and family tragedies of the contemporary world. No community, city, or nation is immune and the lack of affordable housing and a decline in secure, well-paying jobs means that the problem will only get worse. The Encyclopedia of Homelessness is the first systematic effort to organize and summarize what we know about this complex topic that impacts not only the homeless but all of society. The Encyclopedia focuses on the current situation in the United States with a comparative sampling of homelessness around the world.

Opening Doors and Building Capacity: Employing a Community-Based Approach to Surveying

Opening Doors and Building Capacity: Employing a Community-Based Approach to Surveying
Journal of Urban Health. 2004;81:291-300.

Kaplan, S.A., Dillman, K.N., Calman, N.S. & Billings, J.
01/01/2004

Although many community-based initiatives employ community residents to undertake door-to-door surveys as a form of community mobilization or for purposes of needs assessment or evaluation, very little has been published on the strengths and weaknesses of this approach. This article discusses our experience in undertaking such a survey in collaboration with a coalition of community-based organizations (CBOs) in the South Bronx, New York. Although resource constraints limited the already-strained capacity of the CBOs to provide supervision, the CBOs and community surveyors helped us gain access to neighborhood buildings and to individuals who might otherwise have been inaccessible. The survey process also contributed to the coalition's community outreach efforts and helped to link the CBO leadership and staff more closely to the coalition and its mission. Many of the surveyors enhanced their knowledge and skills in ways that have since benefited them or the coalition directly. The participating CBOs continue to be deeply engaged in the coalition's work, and many of the surveyors are active as community health advocates and have taken leadership roles within the coalition.

Promoting Early Childhood Development through Comprehensive Community Initiatives

Promoting Early Childhood Development through Comprehensive Community Initiatives
Children's Services: Social Policy, Research, and Practice, 1(4), pp. 1-24.

Aber, J.L., L. Berlin & J. Brooks-Gunn.
01/01/2004

Recent advances in developmental psychology, social services, and social policy have converged to highlight 3 issues: (a) the importance of early development; (b) the importance of the contexts, or "ecology," of early development, especially with respect to the ill effects of early childhood poverty; and (c) the promise of intervention programs for low-income children, families, and communities, including comprehensive community initiatives (CCIs). CCIs, however, generally have not focused on young children. In this article, we synthesize developmental science and current understanding of CCIs to suggest a number of ways for CCIs to increase their emphasis on early development. We begin with a review of developmental research that illustrates the effects of community characteristics on children's development. We then review the goals, strategies, and principles of CCIs. These reviews illustrate that despite overlapping emphases, developmental science and CCIs could be linked more generatively. We propose ways in which CCIs can be geared more specifically toward promoting early child development. Finally, we suggest strategies for evaluating these types of initiatives.

Social Networks and Homelessness Among Women Heads of Household

Social Networks and Homelessness Among Women Heads of Household
American Journal of Community Psychology , 33:1-2, pp. 7-20.

Toohey, Siobhan, M., Shinn, M. & Weitzman, B.C.
01/01/2004

To examine possible bidirectional relationships between homelessness and deficient social networks, we compared the networks of 251 mothers before, and approximately 5 years after, their families entered shelters with networks of 291 consistently housed poor mothers. At Time 1, more women on the verge of homelessness than housed women reported that they had mothers, grandmothers, friends, and relatives but fewer believed these network members were housing resources. At Time 2, after homeless women were rehoused, these network differences between consistently housed and formerly homeless women had largely disappeared. Contrary to prior research findings, formerly homeless mothers did not report smaller networks, more children or fewer partners. However, formerly homeless women did report fewer positive functions. Because of city policies, homeless mothers were frequently rehoused far from network members.

Teen Pregnancy and Urban Youth: Competing Truths, Complacency, and Perceptions of the Problem

Teen Pregnancy and Urban Youth: Competing Truths, Complacency, and Perceptions of the Problem
Journal of Adolescent Health , 34:5, pp.366-375.

Gallup-Black, A. & Weitzman, B.C.
01/01/2004

Purpose: To compare and contrast perceptions of community leaders, adults, and youth about the extent of the teen pregnancy problem in five American cities: Baltimore, Detroit, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Richmond.

Conclusions: Although few leaders see teen pregnancy as a pressing problem, adults remain deeply concerned, and youth indicate that the problem is prevalent and accepted.

The Role of Cities in Providing Housing Assistance: A New York Perspective

The Role of Cities in Providing Housing Assistance: A New York Perspective
In Amy Ellen Schwartz, ed., City Taxes, City Spending: Essays in Honor of Dick Netzer. Northampton, Mass: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.,

Ellen, I.G., Schill, M.H., Schwartz, A.E. & Voicu, I.
01/01/2004

In a festschrift to Netzer-a public finance economist well known for his research on state and local taxation, urban public services, and nonprofit organizations-eight chapters apply microeconomics to problems facing urban areas and use statistical analysis to gain insight into practical solutions. The essays look at alternative methods of financing urban government, such as a land value tax and the impact of sales and income taxes on property taxation; at government expenditures, including housing subsidies; and at subsidies to nonprofit arts groups as well as the role of the nonprofit sector in providing K-12 education. Of interest to the fields of public finance, urban economics, and public administration.

Housing Production Subsidies and Neighborhood Revitalization: New York City’s Ten Year Capital Plan for Housing

Housing Production Subsidies and Neighborhood Revitalization: New York City’s Ten Year Capital Plan for Housing
Economic Policy Review, June 2003, pages 71-85.

Ellen, I.G., Schill, M.H., Schwartz, A.E. & Voicu, I.
06/01/2003

A perennial question in housing policy concerns the form that housing assistance should take. Although some argue that housing assistance should be thought of as a form of income support and advocate direct cash grants to needy households, others favor earmarked assistance—but they differ over whether subsidies should be given to the recipients as vouchers or to developers as production subsidies. The appropriate composition of housing assistance has recently taken on particular import. In 2000, Congress created the Millennial Housing Commission and gave it the task of evaluating the “effectiveness and efficiency” of methods to promote housing through the private sector. As part of its mandate, the commission is examining changes to existing programs as well as the creation of new production programs to increase affordable housing. This paper reexamines the debate over the appropriate form of housing assistance.

Local Government Finance and the Economics of Property Tax Exemption

Local Government Finance and the Economics of Property Tax Exemption
State Tax Notes, June 23, pp. 1053-1069.

Netzer, D.
06/01/2003

Looks at the role of the property tax exemption for charities in local government finance. If services produced by nonprofits are largely exported from a jurisdiction, then requiring full property taxes or payments in lieu of taxes is a way of exporting local tax burdens.

Decentralization in Africa: Goals, Dimensions, Myths and Challenges

Decentralization in Africa: Goals, Dimensions, Myths and Challenges
Public Administration and Development, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Guest editor of this issue of the journal on "Decentralization and Local Governance in Africa.")

Smoke, P.
01/01/2003

Decentralisation is a complex and often somewhat elusive phenomenon. Many countries around the world have been attempting- for several reasons and with varying degrees of intention and success-to create or strengthen sub-national governments in recent years. Africa is no exception to either the decentralisation trend or the reality of its complexity and diversity. Drawing selectively on the large academic and practitioner literature on decentralisation and the articles in this volume, this article briefly outlines a number of typical prominent goals of decentralisation. It then reviews some key dimensions of decentralisation-fiscal, institutional and political. These are too frequently treated separately by policy analysts and policy makers although they are inherently linked. Next, a few popular myths and misconceptions about decentralisation are explored. Finally, a number of common outstanding challenges for improving decentralisation and local government reform efforts in Africa are considered.

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