Housing & Community Development

How to House the Homeless

How to House the Homeless
Russell Sage Foundation Press

Ellen, I.G. & O'Flaherty, B. (eds.).
06/01/2010

How to House the Homeless, editors Ingrid Gould Ellen and Brendan O’Flaherty propose that the answers entail rethinking how housing markets operate and developing more efficient interventions in existing service programs. The book critically reassesses where we are now, analyzes the most promising policies and programs going forward, and offers a new agenda for future research. How to House the Homeless makes clear the inextricable link between homelessness and housing policy. Contributor Jill Khadduri reviews the current residential services system and housing subsidy programs. For the chronically homeless, she argues, a combination of assisted housing approaches can reach the greatest number of people and, specifically, an expanded Housing Choice Voucher system structured by location, income, and housing type can more efficiently reach people at-risk of becoming homeless and reduce time spent homeless. Robert Rosenheck examines the options available to homeless people with mental health problems and reviews the cost-effectiveness of five service models: system integration, supported housing, clinical case management, benefits outreach, and supported employment. He finds that only programs that subsidize housing make a noticeable dent in homelessness, and that no one program shows significant benefits in multiple domains of life. Contributor Sam Tsemberis assesses the development and cost-effectiveness of the Housing First program, which serves mentally ill homeless people in more than four hundred cities. He asserts that the program’s high housing retention rate and general effectiveness make it a viable candidate for replication across the country. Steven Raphael makes the case for a strong link between homelessness and local housing market regulations—which affect housing affordability—and shows that the problem is more prevalent in markets with stricter zoning laws. Finally, Brendan O’Flaherty bridges the theoretical gap between the worlds of public health and housing research, evaluating the pros and cons of subsidized housing programs and the economics at work in the rental housing market and home ownership. Ultimately, he suggests, the most viable strategies will serve as safety nets—“social insurance”—to reach people who are homeless now and to prevent homelessness in the future. It is crucial that the links between effective policy and the whole cycle of homelessness—life conditions, service systems, and housing markets—be made clear now. With a keen eye on the big picture of housing policy, How to House the Homeless shows what works and what doesn’t in reducing the numbers of homeless and reaching those most at risk.

Sustainable neighbourhood development: Insights from Southern California

Sustainable neighbourhood development: Insights from Southern California
Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 37(3) 387 – 407

Garde, A., Saphores, J.D., Matthew, R. & K. Day.
01/01/2010

We examine the diffusion of sustainable planning and design concepts into neighbourhood development projects, based on findings of a survey of planners in all 180 cities of five Southern California counties. Sustainable neighbourhood development has particular significance in Southern California owing to the regions’s rapid growth. We compare ‘typical’ and ‘innovative’ neighbourhood developments to determine whether sustainable planning and design concepts are being incorporated in these projects. Although planners agree that ‘innovative’ projects are more likely than ‘typical’ projects to incorporate sustainable planning and design concepts, sustainability is not a high priority even in innovative neighbourhood projects. Our respondents identified significant barriers to and limited opportunities for encouraging sustainable neighbourhood development. These trends in planning and design appear likely to continue unless strong policy and other mechanisms are adopted to encourage sustainable neighbourhood development. The paper concludes with recommendations to promote more sustainable neighbourhood development.

The High Cost of Segregation: The Relationship Between Racial Segregation and Subprime Lending

The High Cost of Segregation: The Relationship Between Racial Segregation and Subprime Lending
November 2009

Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy
11/18/2009

This study examines whether the likelihood that borrowers of different races received a subprime loan varied depending on the level of racial segregation where they live. It looks both at the role of racial segregation in metropolitan areas across the country and at the role that neighborhood demographics within communities in New York City played.

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.

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