A Renter Safety Net: A Call for Federal Emergency Rental Assistance
For decades, escalating housing costs have outpaced income growth for middle- and lower-income earners. As a result, millions of American households struggle to accumulate a savings buffer with the little income they have leftover after paying rent, and are therefore left vulnerable to evictions or forced moves when unexpected financial shocks occur. In this chapter, authors Ingrid Gould Ellen, Paulette Goddard Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and Faculty Director of the NYU Furman Center, Amy Ganz, Deputy Director of the Economic Strategy Group, and Katherine O’Regan, Professor of Public Policy and Planning at NYU Wagner and Faculty Director of the NYU Furman Center, document the costly externalities that such housing instability poses and propose the creation of a Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program to provide one-time, short-term financial help to low-income renters who face unexpected financial shocks.
Breaking Barriers, Boosting Supply
The Urban Institute’s "Opportunity for All" project aims to promote federal strategies that support strong and inclusive neighborhoods. In one of the project’s briefs, “Breaking Barriers, Boosting Supply,” Furman Center Faculty Director Ingrid Gould Ellen and the Urban Institute’s Solomon Greene advocate for the federal government to tie state funding opportunities to local affordable housing goals. They highlight the potential for national policy reform to incentivize communities to take action in improving land use and zoning regulations, ultimately allowing for more affordable housing and healthier, more diverse neighborhoods.
Allocation of the Limited Subsidies for Public Housing
This brief analyzes the effects of public housing preference categories in the allocation of federal housing assistance. By simulating waiting list scenarios at housing authorities in three different cities, researchers demonstrate the limits of preference categories to change the allocation of units between different types of households (i.e. families, non-disabled elderly, and disabled). Income-based preferences are far more effective in changing the concentration of poverty within developments and, in certain conditions, exposure to poverty at the neighborhood level.
Renovating Subsidized Housing: The Impact On Tenants’ Health
Many public and subsidized housing developments in the US are aging and in need of significant repairs. Some observers worry that their poor condition threatens the health of residents. This study evaluated a recent renovation of public housing that was undertaken through the transfer of six housing developments from the New York City Housing Authority to a public-private partnership. It examined whether the renovation and transfer to private managers led to improvements in tenants’ health over three years, as measured by Medicaid claims. While it did not find significant improvements in individual health outcomes, it found significant relative improvements in overall disease burden when measured using an index of housing-sensitive conditions.
Do Housing Vouchers Improve Academic Performance? Evidence from New York City
This paper examines whether—and to what extent—housing vouchers improve educational outcomes for students whose families receive them. Using data from New York City, the nation's largest school district, the authors match over 88,000 school‐age voucher recipients to longitudinal public school records. Results indicate that students in voucher households perform better in both English Language Arts and Mathematics in the years after they receive a voucher.
The Effects of Small Area Fair Market Rents on the Neighborhood Choices of Families with Children
This paper reports and extends the quantitative findings of the Small Area Fair Market Rent Demonstration Evaluation, focusing on the important subgroup of families with children. The authors test whether varying housing assistance subsidy caps with ZIP Code rent levels (that is, introducing Small Area Fair Market Rents or SAFMRs) increases the likelihood that voucher-holder families with children locate in higher opportunity neighborhoods, as proxied by poverty rates, the proficiency levels of local elementary schools, jobs proximity, and environmental hazards. Five years after implementation, Small Area FMRs do not appear to affect overall move rates, but they meaningfully affect the locational outcomes among families with children who move.
Do Vouchers Protect Low-Income Households from Rising Rents?
Using restricted administrative data on the voucher program, the authors examine the experience of voucher holders in metropolitan areas with rising rents. While some of the authors' models suggest that rising rents in metropolitan areas are associated with a slight increase in rent-to-income ratios among voucher holders, poor renters in general see significantly larger increases in rent-to-income ratios. The authors see little evidence that rising rents push voucher holders to worse neighborhoods, with voucher holders in central cities ending up in lower-poverty neighborhoods as rents rise. It appears that vouchers may help low-income households remain in neighborhoods as they gentrify.
NYCHA’s Road Ahead: Capital and Operating Budget Needs, Shortfalls, and Plans
This brief contextualizes NYCHA’s budget and its plans to address budget shortfalls. First, we focus on the capital budget, describing NYCHA’s new plan and the barriers that exist to implementing NYCHA 2.0. Next, we turn to the operating budget, and describe and assess the budget deficit, as well as NYCHA’s existing plans to address the shortfall.
The Challenges of Balancing Rent Stability, Fair Return, and Predictability under New York’s Rent Stabilization System
This brief lays out some of the challenges of balancing affordability and a reasonable rate of return; explains how New York City’s local governing body (the Rent Guidelines Board) incorporates building operating cost data to make rent adjustments; scans approaches used in other jurisdictions; and explores the potential consequences of eliminating rent increase mechanisms designed to be supportive of investment in repairing and improving the housing stock.
How NYCHA Preserves Diversity in New York’s Changing Neighborhoods
A new fact brief published by the NYU Furman Center outlines the critical role that the public housing plays in preserving racial, ethnic, and economic diversity in the city’s gentrifying and higher-income neighborhoods. The brief builds on previous work by the NYU Furman Center outlining NYCHA’s outsized role in housing the lowest-income New Yorkers. That crucial role in the affordable housing landscape combined with the geographic distribution of public housing developments in gentrifying neighborhoods means that many of the city’s neighborhoods owe their diversity to NYCHA’s public housing developments.