Housing & Community Development

State of New York City's Housing and Neighborhoods 2011

State of New York City's Housing and Neighborhoods 2011
Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, New York University

Been, V., S. Dastrup, I.G. Ellen, B. Gross, A. Hayashi, S. Latham, M. Lewit, J. Madar, V. Reina, M. Weselcouch, and M. Williams.
05/01/2012

The Furman Center is pleased to present the 2011 edition of the State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods. In this annual report, the Furman Center compiles statistics on housing, demographics and quality of life in the City, its five boroughs and 59 community districts.This year we examine the distribution of the burden of New York City’s property tax, analyze the changing racial and ethnic makeup of city neighborhoods, evaluate the state of mortgage lending in New York City, and compare federally-subsidized housing programs across the five most populous U.S. cities.

Unravelling social capital: Disentangling a concept for Social Work

Unravelling social capital: Disentangling a concept for Social Work
British Journal of Social Work, 42(2), 353 – 370.

Hawkins, R. L. & Maurer, K.
04/01/2012

Over several decades, social capital has gained intellectual currency as a means to understand the dynamics of individual and community resources. While prevalent in other disciplines, social capital, however, has been used less often in social work to inform practice or policy development. In this paper, we argue that social capital is an efficacious construct for integrating the separate aspects of social networks and support so as to analyse the by-product of social relationships in the field of social work. We draw distinctions between social capital and conceptualisations of social networks and support and explore the concepts of social capital and present the usefulness of the concept as an analytical and theoretical model for micro and macro practice. We purpose that understanding the role of social capital can help social workers connect individuals to resources, but that it can also be used as part of established practice models. We conclude that essential to using social capital is the understanding that the concept (i) is different and distinct from social networks and social support, (ii) has both positive and negative elements and (iii) operates at the individual, community and institutional levels and can be relevant in all social work settings.

American Murder Revisited: Do Housing Vouchers Cause Crime?

American Murder Revisited: Do Housing Vouchers Cause Crime?
Housing Policy Debate 22(4):1-22

Ellen, Ingrid, Katherine O’Regan and Michael C. Lens
04/01/2012

Potential neighbors often express worries that Housing Choice Voucher holders heighten crime. Yet, no research systematically examines the link between the presence of voucher holders in a neighborhood and crime. Our article aims to do just this, using longitudinal, neighborhood-level crime, and voucher utilization data in 10 large US cities. We test whether the presence of additional voucher holders leads to elevated crime, controlling for neighborhood fixed effects, time-varying neighborhood characteristics, and trends in the broader sub-city area in which the neighborhood is located. In brief, crime tends to be higher in census tracts with more voucher households, but that positive relationship becomes insignificant after we control for unobserved differences across census tracts and falls further when we control for trends in the broader area. We find far more evidence for an alternative causal story; voucher use in a neighborhood tends to increase in tracts that have seen increases in crime, suggesting that voucher holders tend to move into neighborhoods where crime is elevated.

Racial Segregation in Multiethnic Schools: Adding Immigrants to the Analysis

Racial Segregation in Multiethnic Schools: Adding Immigrants to the Analysis
In William Tate, Ed., Research on Schools, Neighborhoods and Communities: Toward Civic Responsibility. Rowman and Littlefield Publishing. 2012, pp. 67-82.

Ellen, I.G., O'Regan, K., Schwartz, A.E. & Stiefel, L.
02/03/2012

Racial segregation in America's schools remains persistently and disturbingly high, despite decades of institutional and policy changes. This paper considers one recent change common to many urban school districts - immigration - and examines whether and how the presence of a large number of immigrant students affects racial segregation. Exploiting a student-level data set including all elementary and middle school students in New York City's public schools, sixteen percent of whom are immigrants, we conduct a series of descriptive and exploratory analysis of possible avenues of influence. While it is unclear ex ante, both theoretically and compositionally, whether the presence of immigrants should increase or decrease inter-racial interaction, our results point to a decrease. Racial stratification of foreign-born students is generally higher than that of their native-born counterparts, and this is not solely attributable to income or language-skill differences. And while this heightened segregation decreases with time in the school system, the foreign-born/native-born differential is never eliminated. Importantly, we do find that there are very large differences within the immigrant population. Thus, the effect of immigrants on patterns of racial interaction in any district will depend crucially not only on the race of the immigrants, but also on their particular country of origin.

Do Foreclosures Cause Crime?

Do Foreclosures Cause Crime?
Furman Center

Ellen, Ingrid, Johanna Lacoe and Claudia Sharygin
02/01/2012

Foreclosures affect not only individual homeowners, but also the crime levels of the surrounding neighborhood. This study found that neighborhoods with concentrated foreclosures see an uptick in crime for each foreclosure notice issued. These effects are pronounced in hardest hit neighborhoods; that is, those with concentrated foreclosures. The report suggests that policing and community stabilizing efforts should prioritize areas with concentrated foreclosures, especially those where crime rates are already moderate to high.

Economics of Housing Market Segmentation

Economics of Housing Market Segmentation
International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home

Ingrid Ellen
01/01/2012

Over the years, economists have debated the extent to which the assumption of a single housing market in a city or region is reasonable. Some have argued that in estimating housing prices, the housing market should be stratified into a series of separate submarkets, divided by structure type, neighbourhood, and potentially race and ethnicity. Still, even to the extent that these submarkets are distinct, they are clearly related. Households exhibit some flexibility in their choices, and prices in one sector clearly affect demand in other sectors to some degree. The debate about segmentation is really about degree – about how large the cross-price elasticity is between different types of housing.

Nonprofit Exemptions and Homeowner Property Tax Burden

Nonprofit Exemptions and Homeowner Property Tax Burden
Public Finance and Management 12(1): 21-50.

Calabrese, Thad, and Deborah A. Carroll
01/01/2012

This paper examines the question of whether there is any correlation between the prevalence of nonprofit organizations with property, plant, and equipment exempt from property taxation and the property tax burden for homeowners. Data from the Tax Foundation and Internal Revenue Service was used to analyze general-purpose local governments within larger counties (populations greater than 65,000) in the United States for years 2005 and 2006. Several econometric specifications were used to estimate homeowner property tax burden as a function of the value of nonprofit fixed assets, government tax structure characteristics, and a series of control variables. Our estimates suggest that county geographies with greater presence of nonprofits tend to have higher homeowner tax burdens on average. Specifically, the value of nonprofit tax-exempt fixed assets within a county geography that is 10% above the mean of $15.4 million is generally associated with a median property tax paid by homeowners as a % of household income that is between 0.0009% and 0.0154% above the mean or between $2 and $24 higher on average. The median property tax paid as a % of homeowner’s home value would be between 0.0006% and 0.0069% above the mean or between $3 and $12 higher on average. Overall, we find a strong, positive correlation between nonprofit fixed assets and property tax burden for homeowners at the local level.

Pathways to Integration: Examining Changes in the Prevalence of Racially Integrated Neighborhoods

Pathways to Integration: Examining Changes in the Prevalence of Racially Integrated Neighborhoods
Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research 14(3)33-53

Ellen, Ingrid, Katherine O’Regan and Keren Horn
01/01/2012

Few researchers have studied integrated neighborhoods, yet these neighborhoods offer an important window into broader patterns of segregation.  We explore changes in racial integration in recent decades using decennial census tract data from 1990, 2000, and 2010.  We begin by examining changes in the prevalence of racially integrated neighborhoods and find significant growth in the presence of integrated neighborhoods during this time period, with the share of metropolitan neighborhoods that are integrated increasing from just under 20 percent to just over 30 percent.  We then shed light on the pathways through which these changes have occurred.  We find both a small increase in the number of neighborhoods becoming integrated for the first time during this period and a more sizable increase in the share of integrated neighborhoods that remained integrated.  Finally, we offer insights about which neighborhoods become integrated in the first place and which remain stably integrated over time.

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