Challenges and Opportunities for Hotel-to-Housing Conversions in New York City
As the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath, policymakers in New York City and Albany have debated whether and how to support the conversion of hotels into housing—and especially affordable housing—as part of a solution to the city’s ongoing housing crisis. To better understand what opportunities for hotel conversion exist in New York City, this paper examines the legal regime governing hotel conversions to identify the most important regulatory barriers to such adaptive uses.
Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act: An Initial Analysis of Short-Term Trends
On June 11th, 2019, the New York State Legislature enacted the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act (HSTPA). Three days later, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the act into law, making most of the law’s provisions effective immediately on June 14th, 2019. HSTPA made significant changes to the state’s rent stabilization system and expanded protections for New York State renters. The primary purpose of the legislation was to limit the size of rent increases and to prevent rent increases from leading to the deregulation of rent stabilized apartments. While many applauded the reforms as a tool to protect housing affordability and stability for renters, others contended that the law changes would lead to disinvestment in multifamily housing, decrease the tax base for the city, and result in a long-term decline in the quality and safety of housing. In an effort to contribute information about the impact of the rent law changes, this brief describes the changes in a few key housing indicators after HSTPA and, given that most of these predicted effects would likely take years to materialize, identifies future areas for research.
Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance Programs in 2021: Analysis of a National Survey
A new report published in partnership with the National Low Income Housing Coalition and The Housing Initiative at Penn examines the program design and implementation challenges of emergency rental assistance (ERA) programs created or expanded in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout. The research uses survey responses from 64 of the 140 ERA programs launched by April 8th, 2021, and compared select results to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance Dashboard. Some key trends of the survey include implementation challenges surrounding tenant and landlord responsiveness, lowered barriers that allowed vulnerable populations to participate, and increased efforts to advance racial equity by targeting disadvantaged groups or communities. This report captures key trends from the earliest ERA implementors, and additional rounds of surveys will inform how program characteristics evolve and translate into outcomes.
Reforming Housing Assistance to Better Respond to Recipient Needs
This paper reviews evidence on the effectiveness of the three main federal vehicles for providing housing assistance to low-income families, lays out current challenges and potential improvements to each program, and proposes further research to fully inform future policy initiatives. Changes are recommended for current federal housing assistance programs to more effectively serve people living in poverty. These include improving how programs take into account regional and state-level variations in the cost and availability of housing, reassessing the level and duration of assistance and to whom it should be targeted, and broadening the set of homes available to recipients of housing assistance beyond those located in areas that are low-income and predominantly Black or Hispanic.
Rent Regulation for the 21st Century: Pairing Anti-Gouging with Targeted Subsidies
Rent regulation is designed to protect low-income renters against sudden rent increases that threaten their housing stability. However, market distortions and the lack of means testing or targeting limit the effectiveness of many rent regulation systems. This policy brief outlines an approach combining anti-gouging regulations with shallow, targeted subsidies to maximize the benefits of rent regulation for low-income households.
How to Address Homelessness: Reflections from Research
In the latest issue of The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Katherine O’Regan, Ingrid Gould Ellen, and Sophie House surveyed existing research–including several articles in the special, homlessness-focused volume of The ANNALS in which their commentary was published–that tackles the question of how to prevent and eradicate homelessness in the United States. The review highlights how new research developments can facilitate a shift towards "upstream," or preventative, homelessness interventions, while making necessary "downstream" emergency services more equitable and effective. With a critical eye toward the creation and perpetuation of racial disparities, the article examines four categories of policy responses: addressing root causes, preventing homelessness, providing services, and facilitating sustained exits from homelessness.
Rent Payments in a Pandemic: Analysis of Affordable Housing in New York City
In partnership with the New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH) and its members, as well as with feedback and support from the Housing Crisis Research Collaborative, the Furman Center compiled a novel data set of detailed information on rent charges and payments at the tenant level. Using these data, this report examines how rent payments and rental arrears (accumulated rent owed) changed for tenants residing in this sample provided by affordable housing owners and managers.
Learning from Emergency Rental Assistance Programs: Lessons from Fifteen Case Studies
In January 2021, the Housing Initiative at Penn (HIP), the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), and the NYU Furman Center released the results of a survey of 220 COVID-19 rental assistance programs. The survey examined key characteristics of these programs and explore how certain characteristics correlated with programs’ ability to efficiently distribute funds. Through 15 in-depth case studies, this brief tells the story of how several programs evolved over time, and the rich learning that occurred in each jurisdiction. The 15 rental assistance programs chosen represent jurisdictions ranging from small and rural to large and urban for in-depth structured interviews. The brief focuses on the key challenges these program administrators discussed, the innovative strategies they used to address these challenges, and the lessons current and future program administrators can take away.
COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance: Analysis of a National Survey of Programs
The report examines program decisions against outcome metrics, such as a ratio of actual number of applicants to expected number of applicants and funds obligated as a share of total program funds. A survey launched in August 2020, and ran through October 2020, collecting information from program administrators, many of whom provided follow-up responses to requests for outcome data in December 2020 and January 2021.
Through the Roof: What Communities Can Do About the High Cost of Rental Housing in America
Housing affordability continues to be a major concern for residents across the country. In this report, the authors look at what local governments can do to mitigate rising costs of rental housing in the U.S. The report reviews the root causes of high rent burdens and the consequences, including the impact of housing choice vouchers and modest increases in income. It also discusses why housing costs rise, looking more closely at housing markets and the factors that contribute to rising rent burdens. The report then reviews government policy responses at the local, state, and federal level before laying out a framework that municipalities can use to help provide citizens affordable housing options. It serves as a helpful tool for local officials considering new housing strategies or those interesting in improving existing policies.