Category Archives: Housing

Regional Analysis of Declining Rental Affordability

Source: Shannon Brobst, Regional Financial Review, September 2019
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Rental affordability is a growing concern in the U.S. as many households struggle to find an affordable place to live. As a result, proposals for rent control and inclusionary zoning are gaining traction. This paper examines the root causes over the long term at the regional level and discusses policy implications.

What New Orleans Can Teach Other Cities About Reducing Homelessness

Source: Teresa Wiltz, Stateline, October 15, 2019

….After Katrina, homelessness skyrocketed, from about 2,000 people experiencing homelessness in 2005 to nearly 12,000 in 2007, according to Unity of Greater New Orleans (Unity GNO), a nonprofit designated by the federal government to lead the city’s efforts to provide housing and services to the homeless.

But in 2011, the city launched an all-out offensive on homelessness, slashing the number of homeless residents by more than 80%, from close to 6,700 in 2011 to fewer than 1,200 in 2018. Factoring in the city’s efforts to reduce homelessness since 2007, the overall number has been slashed 90%…..

….City officials did it by fighting homelessness on a variety of fronts: They adopted a “housing first” policy: providing homes and services to New Orleans’ neediest, without requiring that they resolve mental health or substance abuse issues first. They expanded a health care clinic for the homeless and started conducting weekly check-ins to connect more people to counseling and other services.

They designated 200 housing vouchers for veterans and set aside 55 units for them in a converted convent. They successfully lobbied Congress for 3,000 extra housing vouchers in 2008. And last year, the city opened a 100-bed, “low-barrier” shelter where people don’t have to be sober to be admitted.

In tackling the problem, the city relied almost exclusively on federal funds, according to Andreanecia Morris, executive director of HousingNOLA, a partnership of city officials, homeless advocates and dozens of nonprofits and public and private organizations…..

Can Dirty Work be Satisfying? A Mixed Method Study of Workers Doing Dirty Jobs

Source: Stephen Deery, Deanna Kolar, Janet Walsh, Work, Employment and Society, Volume 33 Issue 4, August 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
It has been argued in this journal that sociologists can make an important contribution to the understanding of why workers report feeling satisfied with their work, particularly where job quality is poor. Utilising a mixed method approach, this article explores how employees derive satisfaction from dirty work. The term ‘dirty work’ refers to tasks and occupations that are perceived as disgusting, distasteful or degrading. The research was conducted among workers specialising in the cleaning of abandoned social or public housing apartments in high crime areas in the UK and the USA. The study identifies a number of different mechanisms through which workers are able to make work both more satisfying and establish a sense of self-worth from the tasks they perform, even though dirt and physical taint are central to the job.

‘Can’t pay their bills with love’: In many teaching jobs, teachers’ salaries can’t cover rent

Source: Erin Richards and Matt Wynn, USA TODAY, June 5, 2019

New teachers can’t afford median rent almost anywhere. Our city-by-city analysis validates a theme in teacher strikes. But that’s not the full story.

Related:
Low relative pay and high incidence of moonlighting play a role in the teacher shortage, particularly in high-poverty schools
The third report in “The Perfect Storm in the Teacher Labor Market” series
Source: Emma García and Elaine Weiss, Economic Policy Institute, May 9, 2019

What this series finds:
The teacher shortage is real, large and growing, and worse than we thought. When indicators of teacher quality (certification, relevant training, experience, etc.) are taken into account, the shortage is even more acute than currently estimated, with high-poverty schools suffering the most from the shortage of credentialed teachers.

What this report finds:
The perceived financial hardships in teaching are real. This report adds to the compelling evidence in Sylvia Allegretto and Larry Mishel’s recent research showing that teachers are paid a lot less than other comparable college graduates. After accounting for education, experience, and other factors known to affect earnings, teachers’ weekly wages in 2018 were 21.4 percent lower than their nonteaching peers. In 1996 that weekly wage penalty was 6.3 percent. Our report identifies other indicators that teacher pay is too low and declining. For example, in the 2015–2016 school year, 59.0 percent of teachers took on additional paid work either in the school system or outside of it—up from 55.6 percent in the 2011–2012 school year. A majority of moonlighters (44.1 percent) were taking on second jobs within the school system, such as coaching, student activity sponsorship, mentoring other teachers, or teaching evening classes; 18.2 percent were working outside of the school system; and 5.7 percent were receiving compensation based on student performance. For these teachers, moonlighting makes up a substantial 7.0 percent share of their combined base salary and extra income. Financial stress is greater for teachers in high-poverty schools. Relative to teachers in low-poverty schools, teachers in high-poverty schools are paid less ($53,300 vs. $58,900), receive a smaller amount from moonlighting ($4,000 vs. $4,300), and the moonlighting that they do is less likely to involve paid extracurricular or additional activities for the school system that generate extra pay but also help them grow professionally as teachers (data are for 2015–2016). Data suggest a relationship between low salaries and quitting. Teachers who ended up quitting before the 2012–2013 school year had lower base salaries ($50,800 vs. $53,300) and were more likely to be supplementing their base pay with work outside the school system in the year before they quit (18.4 percent vs. 16.3 percent).

State of the Union: Millennial Dilemma

Source: Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, May 2019

The annual Poverty and Inequality Report provides a unified analysis that brings together evidence across such issues as poverty, employment, income inequality, health inequality, economic mobility, and educational access to allow for a comprehensive assessment of where the country stands. In this year’s issue, the country’s leading experts provide the latest evidence on how millennials are faring.

Contents include:

Executive Summary
David B. Grusky, Marybeth Mattingly, Charles Varner, and Stephanie Garlow
With each new generation, there’s inevitably much angst and hand-wringing, but never have we worried as much as we worry about millennials. We review the evidence on whether all that worrying is warranted.

Racial and Gender Identities
Sasha Shen Johfre and Aliya Saperstein
The usual stereotypes have it that millennials are embracing a more diverse and unconventional set of racial and gender identities. Are those stereotypes on the mark?

Student Debt
Susan Dynarski
Often tagged the “student debt generation,” millennials took out more student loans, took out larger student loans, and defaulted more frequently. Here’s a step-by-step accounting of how we let this happen.

Employment
Harry J. Holzer
Labor force activity has declined especially rapidly among young workers. The good news: We know how to take on this problem.

Criminal Justice
Bruce Western and Jessica Simes
The imprisonment rate has fallen especially rapidly among black men. Does this much-vaunted trend conceal as much as it reveals?

Education
Florencia Torche and Amy L. Johnson
The payoff to a college degree is as high for millennials as it’s ever been. But it’s partly because millennials who don’t go to college are getting hammered in the labor market.

Income and Earnings
Christine Percheski
When millennials entered the labor market during the Great Recession and its aftermath, there were uniformly gloomy predictions about their fate. Does the evidence bear out such gloomy predictions?

Social Mobility
Michael Hout
Millennials have a mobility problem. And it’s partly because the economy is no longer delivering a steady increase in high-status jobs.

Occupational Segregation
Kim A. Weeden
Are millennial women and men working side by side in the new economy? Or are their occupations just as gender-segregated as ever?

Poverty and the Safety Net
Marybeth Mattingly, Christopher Wimer, Sophie Collyer and Luke Aylward
Millennial poverty rates at age 30 are no higher than those of Gen Xers at the same age. But this stability hides a problem: Millennials are replacing a falloff in earnings with large increases in government assistance programs.

Housing
Darrick Hamilton and Christopher Famighetti
Housing reforms during the civil rights era helped to narrow the white-black homeownership gap. But those gains have now been completely lost … and the racial gap in young-adult homeownership is larger for millennials than for any generation in the past century.

Social Networks
Mario L. Small and Maleah Fekete
Millennials are not replacing face-to-face networks with online ones. Rather, they’re a generation that’s found a way to do it all, forging new online ties while also maintaining the usual face-to-face ones.

Health
Mark Duggan and Jackie Li
It might be thought that, for all their labor market woes, at least millennials now have health care and better health. How does this story fall short?

Policy
Sheldon Danziger
A comprehensive policy agenda that could help millennials … and other generations too.

Pervasive Penality: How the Criminalization of Poverty Perpetuates Homelessness

Source: Chris Herring, Dilara Yarbrough, Lisa Marie Alatorre, Social Problems, Advance Article, March 29, 2019(subscription required)

From the abstract:
A growing literature examines the extent to which the criminal justice system perpetuates poverty and inequality. This research examines how anti-homeless laws produce various forms of police interactions that fall short of arrest, yet have wide-ranging impacts on the urban poor. Our analysis draws on a citywide survey of currently and recently homeless people, along with 43 in-depth interviews, to examine and reveal the mechanisms through which consistent punitive interactions, including move-along orders, citations, and destruction of property, systematically limit homeless people’s access to services, housing, and jobs, while damaging their health, safety, and well-being. Our findings also suggest that anti-homeless laws and enforcement fail to reduce urban disorder, but create instead a spatial churn in which homeless people circulate between neighborhoods and police jurisdictions rather than leaving public space. We argue that these laws and their enforcement, which affected the majority of study participants, constitute a larger process of pervasive penality—consistent punitive interactions with state officials that rarely result in arrest, but that do material and psychological harm. This process not only reproduces homelessness, but also deepens racial, gender, and health inequalities among the urban poor.

Public Housing Work Requirements: Case Study on the Chicago Housing Authority

Source: Diane K. Levy, Leiha Edmonds, Samantha Batko, Marcus Gaddy, Urban Institute, April 16, 2019

From the abstract:
This report presents a case study of the Chicago Housing Authority’s (CHA’s) work requirement policy, one of a small number of work requirements implemented by housing authorities. The report describes the CHA work requirement, the policy’s implementation and how it has changed, and perceptions of implementation and outcomes from key CHA and service provider staff and residents. The CHA work requirement has been in place for nearly 10 years, allowing us to analyze implementation over time and outcomes.

Public housing authorities – US: Increased federal funding to bolster capital fund bond programs

Source: Dmitriy Plit, Florence Zeman, Kendra M. Smith, Moody’s, Sector Comment, February 27, 2019
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Legislation signed by President Donald Trump this month includes a spending increase for the Public Housing Capital Fund, which provides public housing authorities (PHAs) with funds topay debt used to finance new developments and improvements. The capital fund program, run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will receive $2.78 billion, approximately a 1% increase compared to $2.75 billion in fiscal year 2018. The funding bump is credit positive for the PHA sector, coming on top of an approximately 42% increase last year after mostly flat funding from fiscal 2013-17.

U.S. Municipal Housing 2019 Sector Outlook: Stable For Now

Source: S&P Global Ratings, January 23, 2019
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S&P Global Ratings’ 2019 outlook for the U.S. public finance (USPF) housing sector is stable, with a few exceptions in certain subsectors. The outlook reflects stronger financial metrics, including asset growth, revenue diversification, and resilient strategy and management in most of the sector. We expect housing issuance volume to continue increasing this year as housing finance agencies (HFAs) expand their issuance of mortgage revenue bonds and more community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and public housing authorities (PHAs) enter the public markets. While S&P Global Ratings forecasts slower economic growth in 2019, last year ended with positive employment information. The combined strength of jobs, number of hours worked, and wages points to a strong income gain to end the year. Adding to that, the continued rise in the labor force participation rate of prime-age workers suggests that there is potentially more room to expand.