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.
Models and Questions to Reform Exclusionary Zoning in New York
Most of New York’s peer states have stepped in to promote inclusive housing development. Their experiences can inform the choices of New York policymakers as they seek to solve New York’s housing crisis.
The Case Against Restrictive Land Use and Zoning
This policy brief broadly lays out the drawbacks of restrictive land use, then reviews the current state of New York’s zoning and explains the need for state intervention.
Advancing Racial Equity in Emergency Rental Assistance Programs
The NYU Furman Center, together with the Housing Initiative at Penn and the National Low Income Housing Coalition, recently co-authored a report describing these “first-generation” COVID rental assistance programs, based on a survey of 220 programs across the country. This brief draws upon the analysis from that survey, along with additional document review and interviews with selected program administrators. Based on these sources, the brief highlights several lessons about strategies states and localities can use to design and implement more equitable emergency rental assistance programs.
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.
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.
HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule: A Contribution and Challenge to Equity Planning for Mixed Income Communities
“What Works to Promote Inclusive, Equitable Mixed-Income Communities” is the fifth volume in the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s What Works series. This essay by Faculty Director Katherine O'Regan and Distinguished Fellow Ken Zimmerman provides a brief background on the legal basis of HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, explains the framework and theory behind the rule, and describes how a rule aimed at overcoming racial segregation can support the creation and preservation of mixed-income communities. The essay lay out key details of the rule and how they connect to more equitable and inclusive planning, and highlights potential connections and tensions for mixed-income strategies within the context of the rule. It then assesses the early experience of the AFFH approach, and the threat posed by HUD’s current suspension of the rule. The piece concludes with a discussion of implications for action (or at least attention) with respect to the rule, particularly with respect to mixed-income strategies.
Open Access School Climate and the Impact of Neighborhood Crime on Test Scores
Does school climate ameliorate or exacerbate the impact of neighborhood violent crime on test scores? Using administrative data from the New York City Department of Education and the New York City Police Department, this study finds that exposure to violence in the residential neighborhood and an unsafe climate at school lead to substantial test score losses in English language arts (ELA). Middle school students exposed to neighborhood violent crime before the ELA exam who attend schools perceived to be less safe or to have a weak sense of community score 0.06 and 0.03 standard deviations lower, respectively. The study finds the largest negative effects for boys and Hispanic students in the least safe schools, and no effect of neighborhood crime for students attending schools with better climates.
Gentrification and Fair Housing: Does Gentrification Further Integration?
This paper explores the long-term trajectory of predominantly minority, low-income neighborhoods that gentrified over the 1980s and 1990s. On average, these neighborhoods experienced little racial change while they gentrified, but a significant minority became racially integrated during the decade of gentrification, and over the longer term, many of these neighborhoods remained racially stable. That said, some gentrifying neighborhoods that were predominantly minority in 1980 appeared to be on the path to becoming predominantly white. Policies, such as investments in place-based, subsidized housing, are needed in many gentrifying neighborhoods to ensure racial and economic diversity over the longer term.
Housing and Educational Opportunity: Characteristics of Local Schools Near Families with Federal Housing Assistance
This report focuses on access to neighborhood elementary schools, highlighting disparities between families living in subsidized housing and those who do not. It describes the characteristics of the local public elementary schools to which children living in subsidized housing have access, including their student demographics, teacher characteristics and relative proficiency rates. The report shows that that families receiving all four major types of federal housing assistance lived near lower performing and higher poverty schools than other poor families with children as well as other renters with children.