POLICY

Issues

 
 
 
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+ Accessibility

Affordable, accessible, and appropriate housing is a critical and integral part of making any community more livable for people with disabilities.

The State of Housing in America in the 21st Century: A Disability Perspective looks at the state of housing for people with disabilities with the intent to provide recommendations that can improve housing opportunities.

Disability.gov provides online resources for finding homes accessible to those with disabilities.

Priced Out 2014: The Housing Crisis for People with Disabilities is a study that compares the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments of people with significant and long-term disabilities to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Fair Market Rents for modestly priced rental units.

+ Affordability

Housing Landscape 2016: An Annual Look at the Housing Affordability Challenges of America’s Working Households focuses on housing affordability for working households. It notes that nearly one in four working households spends more than half of its income on housing costs and that situation is worsening. This increase was driven largely by eroding affordability for working renters whose incomes have eroded while rents increased.

Out of Reach 2017. National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual report, Out of Reach, documents the gap between renters’ wages and the cost of rental housing. The report’s Housing Wage is the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest and safe rental home without spending more than 30% of his or her income on housing costs. It is based on HUD’s Fair Market Rent (FMR), which is an estimate of what a family moving today can expect to pay for a modest rental home in the area. This year’s Housing Wage clearly indicates that housing costs are too high for low-wage workers. The 2017 national Housing Wage is $21.21 per hour for a two-bedroom rental home, or more than 2.9 times higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The 2017 Housing Wage for a one-bedroom rental home is $17.14, or 2.4 times higher than the federal minimum wage. A full-time worker earning the minimum wage needs to work 117 hours per week for all 52 weeks of the year to afford a two-bedroom rental home or 94.5 hours per week for a one-bedroom rental home. While low-wage workers have seen pay increases over the past two years (Economic Policy Institute, 2017; Gould, 2017), they still struggle to find rental homes they can afford.

Poverty and Income in San Diego County 2016 by the Center on Policy Initiatives shows that in the San Diego region, a growing number of individuals and families are falling into poverty, with children and ethnic minorities particularly hard hit.

Paycheck to Paycheck Report 2017 is an interactive database from the Center for Housing Policy that presents wage information for more than 70 occupations and home prices and rents for more than 200 metropolitan areas. The data reveals the gap between wages and the costs of housing, both rental and owned.

California’s High Housing Costs, Causes and Consequences. California’s Home Prices and Rents Higher Than Just About Anywhere Else. Housing in California has long been more expensive than most of the rest of the country. Beginning in about 1970, however, the gap between California’s home prices and those in the rest country started to widen. Between 1970 and 1980, California home prices went from 30 percent above U.S. levels to more than 80 percent higher. This trend has continued. Today, an average California home costs $440,000, about two-and-a-half times the average national home price ($180,000). Also, California’s average monthly rent is about $1,240, 50 percent higher than the rest of the country ($840 per month). (2015)

Worst Case Housing Needs 2017. The U.S. Department of Urban Development report Worst Case Housing Needs provides national data and analysis of the critical problems facing low-income renting families. The report draws on data from the American Housing Survey (AHS), which is funded by HUD and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The AHS has been conducted every 2 years since 1973 and debuted a major redesign in 2015 that included a new national and metropolitan area longitudinal sample. The AHS is a key source of national data on housing markets, conditions, and dynamics.

+ Affordable Housing & Crime

Effects of Affordable Housing on Crime. In Memphis Murder Mystery Revisited: Do Housing Voucher Households Cause Crime?Researchers at New York University’s Furman Center tracked voucher holders and their impact on neighborhood crime.

Movin’ Out: Crime Displacement and HUD’s HOPE VI Initiative 2011. The purpose of this project was to conduct an evaluation of the impact on crime of the closing, renovation, and subsequent reopening of selected public housing developments under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s HOPE VI initiative. Three central research questions thus guide this report:

  • Does the closing of a large high-poverty public housing development under HOPE VI influence patterns of crime in and around that development, and if so, how?
  • Does crime displacement or diffusion of benefits result during the time that the development is closed for rebuilding, and does crime return to previous levels when the development reopens?
  • Do different methodologies for examining crime displacement and diffusion of benefits from public housing developments yield similar results, and which is most appropriate for studying displacement in this context?

They found minimal evidence of crime displacement in adjacent neighborhoods to the HOPE VI developments.

+ Affordable Housing Policy

Affordable Housing Dilemma: Preservation vs. Mobility Debate from the National Low Income Housing Coalition researches the history and academic research on this topic. It concludes that after two decades of a clear bias in both academia and policy toward poverty dispersal, the pendulum has moved to where there is an attempt to balance the approaches. The two-part report focuses on the literature and conclusions from interviews with informants of the various perspectives.

Are We There Yet? A report by Reconnecting America, tracks access to opportunity in metropolitan areas across the country addressing questions like how can we ensure that every child – regardless of what zip code they are born into or the color of their skin has access to opportunities to improve their lives and contribute to America’s prosperity?

Understanding the Recently Enacted 2017 State Legislative Housing Package Written by the California Budget & Policy Center, this blog post summarizes the new policies put in place by each of the 15 bills in the housing package and follows our earlier analysis of key strategies included in the package, as well as our analyses of costs and housing cost-burden throughout California. October 2017.

Rent Burden in the Housing Choice Voucher Program This report examines trends in housing cost burden for HCV participants between the years of 2003 and 2015. We examine cross-sectional data in each of these years and conduct a cohort analysis of those participants who initially leased a unit in 2003 or 2008. During an era when insufficient affordable housing is being built and affordable rental units are becoming more scarce, much of the housing cost burden faced by HCV participants is attributable to renting units above local payment standards, combined with changes in income that do not keep pace with rising rents. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – October 2017

+ Community Land Trusts

The purposes of a Community Land Trust are to provide access to land and housing to people who are otherwise denied access; to increase long-term community control of neighborhood resources; to empower residents through involvement and participation in the organization; and to preserve the affordability of housing permanently. Though the program specifics vary among different CLTs, the basic model is the same. CLTs offer a balanced approach to ownership: the nonprofit trust owns the land and leases it for a nominal fee to individuals who own the buildings on the land. As the home is truly their own, it provides the homeowners with the same permanence and security as a conventional buyer, and they can use the land in the same way as any other homeowner.

Investing in Community Land Trusts: A Conversation With CLT Funders: The philanthropic community has played a particularly important role in advancing CLT’s, providing ongoing support making much of the growth possible. In this report The National Housing Institute interviewed 15 funders from 13 foundations whose scope ranges from local, to state, to regional and national.

San Diego Community Land Trust exists to create permanently affordable home ownership opportunities for low-income households by fostering stewardship of land as a community asset.

Investing in Community Land Trusts: A Conversation with CLT Funders. Over the past four decades, the community land trust movement has grown steadily in the US. Today there are approximately 240 CLTs in 45 states and DC. Their growth has accelerated in the past few years as CLTs have become embraced by community builders, organizers, advocates of affordable housing, asset building, smart growth and transit-oriented development, local governments and the philanthropic community. Especially important has been the philanthropic community whose initial and ongoing support has made much of this growth possible. Why have funders embraced CLTs? To answer that question, NHI interviewed 15 funders from 13 foundations whose scope ranges from local, to state, to regional and national.

+ Economic Value and Impact

2012 San Diego Economic Forecast Conference: A report by Beacon Economics

Building California’s Future. California is an economic behemoth. It generates $2.3 trillion in goods and services annually and employs nearly 11 percent of the nation’s civilian workforce.By almost any measure, the Golden State is home to the United States’ most powerful and diverse state economy. This report from the State Treasurer’s office examines how we can build a better economic future for California.

Creating Jobs and Stimulating Economic Development. Research shows that affordable housing development also drives local economic growth according to the Center on Housing Policy. A fact sheet The Role of Affordable Housing in Creating Jobs and Stimulating Local Economic Development summarizes the different ways in which affordable housing can contribute to rising employment and economic recovery.

Economic Impact Study from the National Association of Home Builders. The Local Economic Impact of Typical Housing Tax Credit Developments presents estimates of the economic impacts of building 100 apartments in both a typical family housing tax credit development, and a typical elderly tax credit development. Ultimately the National Association of Home Builders model produces impacts on income and employment in 16 industries and local government, as well as detailed information about taxes and other forms of local government revenue.

+ Homelessness

Cost Analysis of Permanent Supportive Housing vs. Homelessness, A study of the San Diego County REACH program proved that it was more cost effective to provide permanent supportive housing than to leave someone on the streets or in shelters. The cost analysis of a housing-first program for homeless persons in San Diego County found that the net cost of services, $417 over two years, was substantially lower than the total cost of services ($20,241).

Evidence Matters issue examines several key topics in the fight to end homelessness. The lead story, “Tackling Veteran Homelessness With HUDStat,” focuses on the critical problem of homelessness among U.S. veterans. Other articles discuss the importance of data collection and the role that housing and supportive services play in improving health outcomes for chronically homeless individuals.

Federal Funding Essential to Finding and Aiding Homeless Students, In recent years, there has been an unparalleled rise in the number of homeless students in the United States. A report from the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness illustrates successful strategies funded through the federal stimulus dollars to deal with growing numbers of homeless students.

Who Counts: Assessing the Accuracy of the homeless count. This report views Greater Los Angeles Homeless Counts from 2007 through 2017 as a body of work rather than discrete annual snapshots and assesses the extent to which the Counts present a consistent body of evidence and the extent to which there are inconsistencies among Counts, or with other data, indicating a need to strengthen the Count methodology. The objective is to strengthen the reliability of the Count as a tool for understanding and combating homelessness. November 2017

No Safe Place: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty is committed to solutions that address the causes of homelessness, not just the symptoms, and works to place and address homelessness in the larger context of poverty.

+ Housing & Health

Housing and Health: New Opportunities for Dialog and Action: was developed by the National Center for Healthy Housing for improving those aspects of housing that impact health. This dialogue could help ensure that housing policy and neighborhood design make the maximum possible contribution to the health of children, older adults, and other community members. The framework includes a number of recommendations and policies.

Building the Case: Low-income Housing Tax Credits and Health: Safe, secure, affordable housing provides a foundation that allows individuals, families, and communities to thrive. While there are multiple mechanisms to encourage the production and preservation of affordable housing, a robust body of evidence supports the positive impact that affordable housing can have on economic security, educational attainment, the overall quality of neighborhoods, and job development. A newer area of research has focused on the linkages between affordable housing and health behaviors and outcomes. The evidence is building that housing affordability, neighborhood conditions, and conditions within the home are all important determinants of health

+ Housing Discrimination

In the Sale and Rental of Housing, no one may take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap:

  • Refuse to rent or sell housing
  • Refuse to negotiate for housing
  • Make housing unavailable
  • Deny a dwelling
  • Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
  • Provide different housing services or facilities
  • Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental
  • For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting) or
  • Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing.

HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity 2016 Report to Congress on the status of fair housing and incidence of fair housing complaints. The mission of the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) is to eliminate housing discrimination, promote economic opportunity, and achieve diverse, inclusive communities by leading the nation in the enforcement, administration, development, and public understanding of federal fair housing policies and laws. FHEO enforces laws that protect people from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status. In addition, FHEO ensures fair housing compliance by housing providers that receive HUD funding.

Fair Housing Act of 1968: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has played a lead role in administering the Fair Housing Act since its adoption in 1968. The Fair Housing Act describes prohibited actions and provides guidance in real estate/home-related advertising, leasing and sales. Amendments passed in 1988 greatly increased the Department’s enforcement role.

CA Department of Fair Employment and Housing: The Department of Fair Employment and Housing is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. The mission of the DFEH is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations and from hate violence and human trafficking.

+ Housing Supply

Annual Housing Report – 2017: This Annual Housing Report describes the affordable housing activities of the Enterprises during 2016 and meets the reporting requirements of the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992, as amended (Safety and Soundness Act). The Report begins by describing FHFA’s preliminary review of the Enterprises’ 2016 housing goals performance. Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) – October 30th 2017.

State of the Nations Housing 2017. The Joint Center on Housing Studies at Harvard University annually releases its State of the Nation’s Housing Assessment of the nation’s housing outlook and summarizes important trends in the economics and demographics of housing.

Stretched Thin. Drawing on the Consumer Expenditure Survey and other reports, the National Housing Conference’s Stretched Thin: The Impact of Rising Housing Expenses on America’s Owners and Renters finds that housing expenses have increased faster than any other category of expenses for both homeowners and renters and exceed increases in income.

2017 National Rental Housing Landscape – Renting in the Nation’s Largest Metros. This study examines rental housing trends from 2006 to 2015 in the 53 metropolitan areas of the U.S. that had populations of over one million in 2015 (“metros”), with a particular focus on the economic recovery period beginning in 2012. NYU Furman Center – October 2017.

+ Inclusionary Housing / Zoning

The inclusion of affordable units in a residential or mixed-use project has been proven to add diversity and social value without compromising the quality or the market appeal of development.

Inclusionary zoning is a mandatory approach that requires developers to make a portion of the housing units in their project affordable to low- and moderate-income households. Inclusionary housing is a market-based policy and its success depends a great deal on market conditions. If a community is experiencing little growth or new development, adoption of an inclusionary zoning policy will not result in the creation of many new affordable homes.

Inclusionary Housing Publications is a compendium of reports and research on inclusionary housing. Communities that anticipate future growth may wish to begin the process of designing an inclusionary zoning policy that can be implemented when the market picks up.

The Effects of Inclusionary Zoning on Local Housing Markets: Lessons from the San Francisco, Washington DC and Suburban Boston Areas helps to advance the current understanding of inclusionary zoning by answering the following questions about programs in three metropolitan areas: what kinds of jurisdictions have adopted inclusionary zoning programs; how much affordable housing has been produced by these programs, and what factors have influenced production levels; what effects have inclusionary zoning programs had on the price and production of market-rate housing in these markets?

Home Sweet Home? Legal Challenges to Inclusionary Ordinances and Housing Elements examines recent legal challenges to local inclusionary ordinances in California. Building Industry Ass’n of Cent. California v. City of Patterson (“Patterson”) and Palmer/Sixth Street Properties L.P. v. City of Los Angeles (“Palmer”) have together upended previous understandings about the validity of, and appropriate analysis applied to, inclusionary housing ordinances. Complying with Patterson and Palmer while still producing affordable housing has become more difficult in the state. (2009)

+ Housing, Schools, and Educations Achievement

Do Federally Assisted Households Have Access to High Performing Public Schools? A PRRAC report, examines the lack of coordinated efforts between housing and education policymakers. It also explores the lack of study of the schools that voucher holders or other assisted households actually reach. The report describes the elementary schools nearest to households receiving four different forms of housing assistance in the country as a whole, in each of the 50 states, and in the 100 largest metropolitan areas. The report cites San Diego as being among the metropolitan areas with the highest rankings for locating assisted households near quality schools.

Housing Instability and Mobility. The Center on Housing Policy explores the relationship between changing a family’s residence and its effect on school outcomes in Should I Stay or Should I Go? Exploring the Effects of Housing Instability and Mobility on Children.

Positive Impacts of Affordable Housing. In The Positive Impacts of Affordable Housing on Education: A Research Summary the Center on Housing Policy reviewed the academic literature on the various ways in which production, rehabilitation or other provisions of affordable housing may lead to improved education for children.

Housing Costs Less than Transporting Children to School. A report by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, Beds Not Buses: Housing vs. Transportation for Homeless, underscores the value of providing permanent affordable housing as a strategy to counter homelessness, particularly among families with school-age children. The report compares the estimated costs of transporting homeless students to their schools with the costs of providing housing vouchers.

Reducing Child Poverty in California: A Look at Housing Costs, Wages, and the Safety Net. This report examines how high housing costs and low wages contribute to poverty among young children ages 0–5 and considers additional policy approaches that could mitigate need among this population. Our related interactive allows for a deeper exploration of how these potential changes could affect California’s diverse counties. (Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) – November 2017)

+ Transit Oriented Development

A Model Housing Transportation Plan from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development tackles the challenge of how to build affordable housing in an underdeveloped inner-city neighborhood within walking distance of an underutilized public rail station. The recommended strategy is to create a coordinated public/private – national/local partnership for an affordable housing trust fund to attract local private development.

Linking Transit Oriented Development, Families, Schools. The Center for Cities & Schools at the University of California, Berkeley is currently exploring ways of making more equitable, “family-friendly” transit-oriented development a reality. Linking Transit-Oriented Development, Families and Schools includes San Francisco Bay Area case studies that examine the relationships between, families, and schools—with special consideration of the increasing educational opportunities available for children.

Community Investment in Transit Oriented Development. Weaving Together Vibrant Communities through Transit-Oriented Development presents strategies for implementing successful transit oriented development initiatives, especially those that benefit low and moderate-income individuals and communities.

Transportation Impact on Housing Affordability. In How Transportation Reform Could Increase the Availability of Housing Affordable to Families with a Mix of Incomes near Public Transit, Job Centers, and Other Essential Destinations, the Center on Housing Policy authors argue that to make substantial progress in addressing these difficult challenges, the housing community needs to look beyond the normal housing policy levers to seek reform of the federal transportation funding system.

Public Transit’s Impact On Housing Costs. The Center on Housing Policy published Public Transit’s Impact on Housing Costs: A Review of the Literature to examine housing costs before and after transit and the impact on ridership of various forms of housing.

Maintaining Diversity in America’s Transit Rich Neighborhoods: Tools for Equitable Neighborhood Change. Transit investment frequently changes the surrounding neighborhood. While patterns of neighborhood change vary, housing often becomes more expensive, neighborhood residents become wealthier and vehicle ownership becomes more common. And in some of the newly transit-rich neighborhoods, a new transit station can set in motion a cycle of unintended consequences in which core transit users—such as renters and low-income households—are priced out in favor of higher-income, car-owning residents who are less likely to use public transit for commuting.

Families and Transit Oriented Development: Creating Complete Communities for All TOD focused on accommodating families can both attract new populations to live near transit and help retain existing residents in these locations, making neighborhoods and regions both more competitive globally and attractive locally. In order to meet these goals, TOD must be planned as part of a “complete community,” a place where all households have convenient access to quality housing, education, employment opportunities, open space and recreation, retail, places of worship, health care and transportation.

Locating Affordable Housing Near Transit: A Strategic Economic Decision: makes the economic case for locating affordable housing near transit. The brief explores the economic benefits of affordable housing and transit, the benefits of living near transit, and the efficiencies that come from bringing the two together.