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.
Flexibility and Conversions in New York City’s Housing Stock: Building for an Era of Rapid Change
The COVID-19 pandemic is just the latest crisis to bring rapid, lasting transformation to American cities. In places like New York City, demand for office spaces and hotels may never return to pre-pandemic levels, while the retail sector continues to decline with the rise of e-commerce. Given these shifting market conditions, conversions of commercial space into
apartments may be a critical tool for adaptation.
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.
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.
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.
Updating CRA Geography: It’s Not Just About Assessment Areas
In his recent paper, “Updating CRA Geography: It’s Not Just About Assessment Areas,” NYU Furman Center Senior Policy Fellow Mark A. Willis offers his suggestions on how to effectively modernize one crucial regulation authorized under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Published by the Penn Institute for Urban Research, the paper proposes a method to evaluate the CRA performance of large retail internet banks.
The core of the proposal involves separately weighing a bank’s CRA activity both within its AA from its CRA activities beyond the AA, with the latter evaluation consisting of tests for both the bank’s retail products and community development activities to ensure they are meeting the needs of Low and Moderate Income Households. By combining these evaluations together, the paper asserts that banks will be more confident in their ability to get CRA credit for conducting CRA activities in areas of high need that may be outside their AA.
Supply Skepticism: Housing Supply and Affordability
Growing numbers of affordable housing advocates and community members are questioning the premise that increasing the supply of market-rate housing will result in housing that is more affordable. This article is meant to bridge the divide, addressing each of the key arguments supply skeptics make and reviewing what research has shown about housing supply and its effect on affordability. It ultimately concludes, from both theory and empirical evidence, that adding new homes moderates price increases and therefore makes housing more affordable to low- and moderate-income families. It also emphasizes that new market-rate housing is necessary but not sufficient, and that government intervention is critical to ensure that supply is added at prices affordable to a range of incomes.