Housing & Community Development

Stirring up the Mud: Using a Community-Based Participatory Approach to Address Health Disparities through a Faith-Based Initiative

Stirring up the Mud: Using a Community-Based Participatory Approach to Address Health Disparities through a Faith-Based Initiative
Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. Vol. 20.4

Kaplan, S.A.
11/01/2009

The paper provides a mid-course assessment of the Bronx Health REACH faith-based initiative four years into its implementation.

Does the Built Environment Affect the Utility of Walking? A Case of Path Choice in Downtown Boston.

Does the Built Environment Affect the Utility of Walking? A Case of Path Choice in Downtown Boston.
Transportation Research D: Transport and Environment, Vol. 14, pp. 343-352 

Guo, Z.
07/01/2009

There is a lack of consensus as to whether the relationship between the built environment and travel is causal and, if it is, the extent of this causality. This problem is largely caused by inappropriate research designs adopted in many studies. This paper proposes a new method (based on path choice) to investigate the causal effect of the pedestrian environment on the utility of walking. Specifically, the paper examines how the pedestrian environment affects subway commuters' egress path choice from a station to their workplaces in downtown Boston. The path-based measure is sensitive enough to capture minor differences in the environment experienced by pedestrians. More importantly, path
choice is less likely to correlate with job and housing location choices, and therefore largely avoids the self-selection problem. The results suggest that the pedestrian environment can significantly affect a person's walking experience and the utility of walking along a path.

Race, Gender and the Recession: Job Creation and Employment

Race, Gender and the Recession: Job Creation and Employment

C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D
05/01/2009

This report focuses on the effect of the recession and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on economically marginalized communities. The Network highlights four key areas of impact for women of color and their families: job creation and employment, housing and social services, education, and tax cuts to individuals.

Microfinance Meets the Market

Microfinance Meets the Market
February Journal of Economic Perspectives 23(1), Winter:  167-192.

Morduch, J., Cull, R. & Demirguc-Kunt, A.
02/01/2009

In this paper, we examine the economic logic behind microfinance institutions and consider the movement from socially oriented nonprofit microfinance institutions to for-profit microfinance. Drawing on a large dataset that includes most of the world's leading microfinance institutions, we explore eight questions about the microfinance "industry": Who are the lenders? How widespread is profitability? Are loans in fact repaid at the high rates advertised? Who are the customers? Why are interest rates so high? Are profits high enough to attract profit-maximizing investors? How important are subsidies? The evidence suggests that investors seeking pure profits would have little interest in most of the institutions we see that are now serving poorer customers. We will suggest that the future of microfinance is unlikely to follow a single path. The recent clash between supporters of profit-driven Banco Compartamos and of the Grameen Bank with its "social business" model offers us a false choice. Commercial investment is necessary to fund the continued expansion of microfinance, but institutions with strong social missions, many taking advantage of subsidies, remain best placed to reach and serve the poorest customers, and some are doing so at a massive scale. The market is a powerful force, but it cannot fill all gaps.

Making Ends Meet: Women and Poverty in New York City

Making Ends Meet: Women and Poverty in New York City

Mason, C.N. & Salas, D.
01/01/2009

 In March 2009, The Network in collaboration with the New York Women's Foundation will release a new report on women living in poverty in New York City.  The dynamic study will include qualitative data as well as narratives from women about the impact of poverty on communities and families.  The report will help inform funding priorities for the Foundation.

Siting, Spillovers, and Segregation: A Re-examination of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program

Siting, Spillovers, and Segregation: A Re-examination of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program
In Edward Glaeser and John Quigley, Eds. Housinmg Markets and the Economy: Risk, Regulation, Policy; Essays in Honor of Karl Case. Cambridge, Mass: Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, pp. 233-267.

Ingrid Ellen, Katherine O'Regan, Ioan Voicu
01/01/2009

The timing of this volume could not be more opportune. It is based on a 2007 conference to honor the work of Karl "Chip" Case, who is renowned for his scientific contributions to the economics of housing and public policy. The chapters analyze risk in the housing market, the regulation of housing markets by government, and other issues in U.S. housing policy. Chapters investigate derivative markets; the role that home equity insurance can play in reducing risk; the role that the regulation of government-sponsored enterprises has played in extending credit to home purchasers in low-income neighborhoods; and the growth in the market for subprime mortgages. The impact of local zoning regulations on housing prices and new construction is also considered. This is a must read during a time of restructuring our nation’s system of housing finance.

The Stafford Act and Priorities for Reform

The Stafford Act and Priorities for Reform
Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Berkeley Electronic Press, Vol. 6, issue 1: Article 13 

Moss, M., Schellhamer, C. & David A Berman.
01/01/2009

During the past fifty years, federal disaster policy in the United States has been shaped by an ongoing conflict between proponents who favor federal intervention following a disaster and those who believe disaster response should be the responsibility of state and local governments and charity. This article explores the existing federal disaster policy landscape within the United States with a focus on the Stafford Act, the cultural and political forces that produced it, and how the current system is ill equipped to aid in the response and recovery from major catastrophes. The Stafford Act defines how federal disasters are declared, determines the types of assistance to be provided by the federal government, and establishes cost sharing arrangements among federal, state, and local governments. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) carries out the provisions of the Stafford Act and distributes much of the assistance provided by the Act. With the establishment of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the threat of domestic terrorism, and large-scale natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, the limits of the Stafford Act and FEMA have been shown. We look at several areas where the shortcomings of the Stafford Act have emerged and propose directions for reform.

The Neighborhood Effects of Concentrated Foreclosures

The Neighborhood Effects of Concentrated Foreclosures
Journal of Housing Economics, 17(4): 306-319

Ellen, I.G., Schuetz, J. & Been, V.
04/01/2008

As the national mortgage crisis has worsened, an increasing number of communities are facing declining housing prices and high rates of foreclosure. Central to the call for government intervention in this crisis is the claim that foreclosures not only hurt those who are losing their homes to foreclosure, but also harm neighbors by reducing the value of nearby properties and in turn, reducing local governments’ tax bases. The extent to which foreclosures do in fact drive down neighboring property values has become a crucial question for policy-makers. In this paper, we use a unique dataset on property sales and foreclosure filings in New York City from 2000 to 2005 to identify the effects of foreclosure starts on housing prices in the surrounding neighborhood. Regression results suggest that above some threshold, proximity to properties in foreclosure is associated with lower sales prices. The magnitude of the price discount increases with the number of properties in foreclosure, but not in a linear relationship.

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