MORE TO EXPLORE: Housing

The Interplay Between Low-Income Housing and Air Pollution in Urban india

Client
World Bank
Faculty
Natasha Iskander
Team
Sasha Massey, Whitley Richards, Melissa Serrano, Jingyi Wu
The World Bank, an international financial institution, aims to end extreme poverty and foster income growth by providing financial assistance and support to various countries. The World Bank’s New Delhi office engaged a Capstone team to investigate the relationship between air pollution and affordable housing construction in India. Air pollution in India’s urban areas has reached emergency levels with thick fog reducing visibility and posing adverse health effects. The team focused on analyzing the construction methodologies used for low-income housing and the correlation between the construction of affordable housing and air pollution. The team evaluated existing research to uncover relevant stakeholders, standard affordable housing approaches, best practices from other countries, and steps that can minimize future air pollution caused by construction. The team provided World Bank with a report detailing an innovative and eco-friendly brick development methodology and policy recommendations to promote affordable housing approaches that will minimize carbon dioxide emissions.
Capstone Year

Combating Gentrification and Financing Affordable Housing in Tanzania

Client
United Nations Capital Development Fund
Faculty
Paul Smoke
Team
Ying Huang, Shayan Malik, Meredith McNair
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is the UN’s capital investment agency, aimed at promoting investment in the public and private sectors through banks and local governments, to scale up innovative financing mechanisms for the world’s poorest people. UNCDF enlisted a Capstone team to conduct extensive research on gentrification and the lack of affordable housing in Mwanza, Tanzania. The team traveled to Mwanza where they collected quantitative data and interviewed several stakeholders, including representatives from the central and local governments, NGOs, and low-income residents. The team researched affordable housing finance models and anti-displacement strategies from around the world. The research culminated in a report that analyzed the problem of gentrification in Mwanza and the stakeholders involved, and recommended international affordable housing strategies that could be applied effectively in Mwanza.
Capstone Year

Investigating the Implications of Establishing of a Community Land Trust

Client
We Stay/Nos Quedamos
Faculty
Alan Cohn
Team
Monica Flores, Joyce Li, Yixin Li, Karlo Ludwig, Stephan Petryczka
We Stay/Nos Quedamos (NQ), a New York-based nonprofit community development corporation, is committed to promoting healthy and sustainable growth. NQ is pursuing the establishment of a community land trust to address the lack of affordable housing in the South Bronx and create a more intentional and equitable community fabric in the area. NQ engaged a Capstone team to aid in the establishment of the land trust by assessing the formation’s logistical, legal, and societal implications. The team conducted a literature review of land trust formation legal and financial frameworks and completed a series of case studies from around the country. The team recommended which geographic clusters of vacant lots NQ should target for its initial affordable housing developments, how to form strategic external partnerships, and best practices in developing a governance structure for the prospective land trust.
Capstone Year

Developing a Model of Adaptive Reuse in Jackson, Mississippi

Client
Mississippi Center for Justice
Faculty
Alan Cohn
Team
Shengdi Chen, Joanna Farley, Xin Ge, Emily Riquelme
The Mississippi Center for Justice (MCJ) is a nonprofit, public interest law firm that collaborates with communities to promote justice in the areas of housing, health, education, economic security, and disaster recovery. MCJ engaged a Capstone team in addressing issues surrounding "blighted" properties—vacant and abandoned properties that have a negative impact on the surrounding neighborhoods—in the Jackson and Mississippi Delta regions. The team conducted a literature review, case studies, and in-depth interviews with stakeholders to identify barriers and opportunities and establish a model that will mitigate the negative impact of blighted properties on communities, while simultaneously addressing the need in low- and middle-income housing areas. The team presented a set of strategies for overcoming barriers and maximizing opportunities for adaptive reuse and presented a final report containing recommendations for a structure and system that can guide MCJ’s efforts.
Capstone Year

Improving Health Outcomes Via Affordable Housing Provision

Client
New York State Homes and Community Renewal and Enterprise Community Partners
Faculty
Rona Affoumado
Team
Cristian Ariza, Sabina Braverman, Nadia Chait, Olga Deschenko, Mary Nadolny
New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) is dedicated to building and protecting affordable housing and increasing home ownership statewide. Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) is a nonprofit organization that collaborates with partners nationwide to finance, build, and advocate for affordable housing. In Brooklyn, HCR and Enterprise partner with developers and several hospitals to provide affordable housing that also improves health outcomes. HCR and Enterprise jointly engaged a Capstone team in developing recommendations for building affordable housing that improves health outcomes of residents and informing their evaluation of housing proposals. The team first completed a literature review and a case study of housing and health. The team then researched population health challenges and resources in the targeted communities. Finally, the team provided a summary of project ideas for the developers, an overall report on the population health challenges in Central Brooklyn with recommendations for housing interventions, and a customized version of Enterprise’s Health Action Plan for Central Brooklyn.
Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year

Diversifying Revenue Streams to Sustain Senior Center Operations

Client
West Side Federation for Senior & Supportive Housing
Faculty
Corey Blay
Team
Katherine Kostreva, Hui Qian, Michelle Sabbagh
The West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing (WSFSSH) aims to provide safe and affordable housing for older adults with supportive services that enhance their dignity and independence. The Department for the Aging (DFTA) awarded WSFSSH a grant to develop two senior centers in the South Bronx, but the grant alone will not sustain the centers. WSFSSH enlisted a Capstone team to investigate options for diversifying revenue streams and assessing non-DFTA options for funding the operating costs of the two centers. The team conducted research on social impact investments, developed benchmarks and metrics to assess potential external programs, outlined a summary of potential partners, and recommended the most viable cross-sector partnerships. Through a literature review, information synthesization, and key stakeholder interviews, the team provided WSFSSH with a strategic action plan that covers analysis of monetization strategies, criteria for partnerships, and specific recommendations for the most valuable partnering opportunities.
Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year

Process Evaluation of a Pretrial Housing Program

Client
Women’s Community Justice Project
Faculty
Erica Foldy
Team
Pamela Dicent, Miriam Hunte, Jessica Murphy, Benjamin Schanback, Emma Spalti
The Women’s Community Justice Project (WCJP), a joint initiative among five agency leaders serving women, offers stable housing and services to women at their arraignments for the duration of their pretrial release. The project has diverted dozens of women from Rikers Island through housing provided by partner organizations. WCJP enlisted a Capstone team to evaluate its intervention process at arraignment, to review similar models around the country, and to track the progression of this nascent program. The team conducted interviews with the leadership and staff of WCJP and its partners, analyzed program-generated data, and assembled a literature review. Their final report included an in-depth process evaluation of the program’s referral and intake procedures, as well as recommendations to ensure the sustainability of WCJP’s services.
Capstone Year

Developing a Measurable and Impactful Grant-Making Process

Client
Victory Housing
Faculty
Kevin Hansen
Team
Michelle Avila, Sarah Dadson, Audrey Lapiner, Bora Lee
Victory Housing, the nonprofit housing development arm of the Archdiocese of Washington, provides affordable housing and related support services for mixed-income seniors and low-income families in DC and Maryland. Victory Housing uses donated funds to disseminate one-time grants to residents and hourly staff in times of need. Historically, Victory Housing has not had a formal process for defining emergency needs, selecting recipients and award amounts, distributing funds, or measuring impact. Victory Housing enlisted a Capstone team to develop a grant-making process that is measurable and impactful. The team conducted an assessment of key stakeholders to determine levels of need and to assess the feasibility of a grant-making process for the organization. Utilizing data from interviews, surveys, and industry research, the team provided targeted recommendations for Victory Housing to conduct systematic grant-making, assess the impact of these grants, and leverage their successes toward future fundraising and program development.
Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year