Category Archives: Housing

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
(subscription required)

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
(subscription required)

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.

HUD Took Over a Town’s Housing Authority 22 Years Ago. Now the Authority’s Broke and Residents Are Being Pushed Out.

Source: Molly Parker, The Southern Illinoisan, December 14, 2018

As recently as last year, HUD had told officials in Wellston, Missouri, that they would get their local housing authority back. Then federal officials changed their minds. Wellston will join a growing list of HUD oversight failures, including the Illinois cities of East St. Louis and Cairo.

Prosperity Now Scorecard

Source: Prosperity Now Scorecard, 2018

The Prosperity Now Scorecard is a comprehensive resource featuring data on family financial health and policy recommendations to help put all U.S. households on a path to prosperity. The Scorecard equips advocates, policymakers and practitioners with national, state, and local data to jump-start a conversation about solutions and policies that put households on stronger financial footing across five issue areas: Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Homeownership & Housing, Health Care and Education.

The Scorecard assesses all states on their relative ability to provide opportunities for residents to build and retain financial stability and wealth. The state outcome rankings are a measure of financial prosperity and how that prosperity is shared and safeguarded. The Scorecard ranks the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 62 outcome measures in the five Issue Areas. Data for an additional four measures are published, but states are not ranked on these measures due to insufficient data at the state level. The overall state outcome rank is determined by the rankings each state receives for outcome measures within each issue area. The issue area grades in the Scorecard are distributed on a curve, based on how each state fares compared with all other states.

The Scorecard also separately assesses states on the strength of 53 policies to expand economic opportunity. Taken together, these 53 policies provide a comprehensive view of what states can do to help residents build and protect wealth in the issue areas described above. Unlike the outcome measures, the strength of states’ policies are assessed based on fixed criteria arrived at through consultation with issue experts and Prosperity Now’s own knowledge of policies that are promising, proven or effective in helping families build and protect financial stability and wealth.

In addition to the outcome and policy measures used to assess states, the Scorecard provides additional data to understand financial stability and prosperity in states and communities. For 44 outcome measures, trend data are available for states to track progress over time. The Scorecard also allows you to drill down to the local level—city, county, Congressional district, tribal area and metro area—on up to 26 measures. Additionally, for 21 outcome measures at the state level and 11 at the local level, the Scorecard includes outcome measure estimates disaggregated by race and ethnicity. The Scorecard also disaggregates 14 outcome measures at the state level by disability status, providing for the first time in 2018 a glimpse into the financial challenges facing people with disabilities. While these additional data do not factor into a state’s overall performance in the Scorecard, we provide the data to allow for a more meaningful analysis of financial security and stability in the United States.

Related:
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Donald Trump Asked, “What Do You Have to Lose?” This Illinois Town Found Out.

Source: Tim Murphy, Mother Jones, July/August 2018

How a small town got caught up in Ben Carson’s crusade against fair housing.

Related:
In Small-Town America, the Public Housing Crisis Nobody’s Talking About
Source: Molly Parker, ProPublica and The Southern Illinoisan, April 6, 2018

The shuttering of public housing complexes in two small Midwestern towns raises big questions for residents, HUD and Congress.

Out of Reach 2018

Source: Andrew Aurand, Dan Emmanuel, Diane Yentel, Ellen Errico, Jared Gaby-Biegel, Emma Kerr, National Low Income Housing Coalition, June 2018

From the press release:
…. The Out of Reach report shows the Housing Wage for every state, metropolitan area, and county in the country. The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest rental home without spending more than 30% of his or her income on housing costs. The report compares the Housing Wage to average renter wages and minimum wages, as well as wages in the fast-growing occupations, nationally. The report also shows how many hours an individual must work each week for all 52 weeks per year at the prevailing minimum wage to afford a modest one- and two-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent. Out of Reach 2018 also provides Housing Wages for ZIP codes in metropolitan areas. ….

Related:
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Why there are so many unsheltered homeless people on the West Coast

Source: Margot Kushel, The Conversation, June 14, 2018

One-quarter of homeless people in the U.S. live in California, despite Californians making up only 12 percent of the population.

Not only is homelessness more common on the West Coast but it is also more visible, because a higher proportion of homeless people are unsheltered. In the U.S., 24 percent of homeless people sleep outside, in vehicles or somewhere else not meant for human habitation. But that varies greatly from place to place: In California, 68 percent of homeless people are unsheltered, compared to just 5 percent in New York. ….

…. What’s to blame for such high numbers of unsheltered homeless on the West Coast? The reason isn’t drug use, mental health problems or weather. Rather, it is due to the extreme shortage of affordable housing. ….