Demons of density: Do higher-density environments put people at greater risk of contagious disease?
This paper studies the relationship between density and COVID during three distinct waves of the pandemic in New York City. Unlike prior work, this paper's analysis uses individual Medicaid claims records, which include a rich array of demographic characteristics and pre-existing medical conditions and cover a near universe of low-income New Yorkers. In brief, the results suggest that living in higher density neighborhoods did not heighten the risk of COVID hospitalization.
Planning for Opportunity: How Planners Can Expand Access to Affordable Opportunity Bargain Areas
There is strong evidence that living in high-opportunity neighborhoods can improve children's long-term educational and economic outcomes; translating this into practical advice for planners is difficult. Planning discussions rarely consider how much that opportunity costs, even though planners must grapple with the typically higher cost of providing housing in opportunity areas. This paper argues for a streamlined measure called the school–violence–poverty (SVP) index based on three contemporary metrics that research shows enhance economic mobility for children: school quality, violent crime, and poverty.
Can Emergency Rental Assistance Be Designed to Prevent Homelessness? Learning from Emergency Rental Assistance Programs
Homelessness prevention efforts face an overarching challenge: how to target limited resources far enough downstream to capture those at greatest risk of homelessness, but far enough upstream to stabilize households before they experience a cascade of negative outcomes. This paper asks: how did the COVID-19 emergency rental assistance programs launched in hundreds of localities across the United States respond to this challenge?
Advancing Choice in the Housing Choice Voucher Program: Source of Income Protections and Locational Outcomes
The housing choice voucher program, the largest low-income housing subsidy program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), provides assistance to over 5 million people in approximately 2.3 million households. But, one of the program’s elusive goals is to provide more - and better - locational choices for recipient households. Surveying data between 2007 and 2017, this paper evaluates how source of income laws in 31 jurisdictions impact where voucher holders live. These laws prohibit discrimination based on the source of income a tenant uses to pay rent. The authors find consistent evidence that adopting such laws result in greater neighborhood improvements among existing voucher holders who move. More specifically, voucher holders who move after a law has been enacted live in areas with lower poverty rates and more racially diverse populations.
Not a New Story: Place‐ and Race‐Based Disparities in COVID‐19 and Influenza Hospitalizations among Medicaid‐Insured Adults in New York City
For all that is unprecedented about COVID-19, the race-based health disparities in the pandemic's early days are sadly familiar. In this study, the authors compare the geographic and racial/ethnic disparities during the first three waves of the COVID-19 pandemic (first wave: January 1–April 30, 2020; second wave: May 1–August 31, 2020; third wave: September 1–December 31, 2020) to the 2016 and 2017 influenza seasons using New York State Medicaid claims data. Ultimately, the study concludes that while geographic and racial/ethnic disparities evident during the first wave of the pandemic were similar to those of previous waves of influenza, the later waves of COVID-19 hospitalizations reflected far less severe disparities. This is one of the first papers to examine how the characteristics of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 changed over the course of 2020, and in turn demonstrates how COVID-19-related racial/ethnic disparities decreased over time.
The Academic Effects of Chronic Exposure to Neighborhood Violence
Since the pandemic began, the city has experienced a significant increase in gun violence and homicide which can lead to emotional distress, behavioral changes, and detrimental cognitive effects for students. This paper examines the differences between students with varying levels of crime exposure and finds that increased exposure results in lower English Language Arts (ELA) and math exam scores. The paper’s regression models suggest that exposure to violence had an adverse effect on reading and math test scores for students, and the effects increased with the number of violent crimes. The results provide some support for the theory that students can become sensitized to violence through increased exposure, meaning that children in more violent communities see the largest decline in test scores with each additional exposure to violent crime. The study also finds racial and gender differences, with Black and female students experiencing the largest test score losses as exposure to violent crimes increased.
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.
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.
Early Evidence on Eviction Patterns after the rollout of NYC’s Universal Access to Counsel
One of the primary eviction prevention measures jurisdictions across the country have taken is to expand access to free legal counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction. In 2017, New York City became the first jurisdiction to enact “Universal Access to Counsel” (UAC), guaranteeing free legal representation to all low-income tenants facing eviction in the City’s housing courts. Research, however, has yet to rigorously evaluate claims either defending and criticizing UAC. This paper aims to address this gap by examining the effectiveness of legal representation in preventing evictions in the private rental market.
Localized Commercial Effects from Natural Disasters: The Case of Hurricane Sandy and New York City
This paper considers the localized economic impacts of an extreme event, Hurricane Sandy, on a dense and diverse economy, New York City. It isolates establishments that are more dependent on local customers--retail establishments--to test whether or not they are more vulnerable to hurricane-induced flooding than other entities with geographically dispersed consumer bases. The paper exploits variation in micro-scale exposure to pre-storm risk and post-storm inundation to identify the impact of storm-induced flooding on establishment survival, employment and sales revenues. Results indicate that the neighborhood economic losses from Sandy were significant, persistent, and concentrated among retail businesses that tend to serve a more localized consumer base.