Category Archives: Housing

The Chicago Family Case Management Demonstration

Source: Susan J. Popkin, Brett Theodos, Caterina Gouvis Roman, Elizabeth Guernsey, Urban Institute, July 8, 2008

From the abstract:
The Chicago Family Case Management Demonstration is an innovative initiative designed to meet the challenges of serving the Chicago Housing Authority’s (CHA) “hard to house”; residents. It involves a unique partnership of city agencies, service providers, researchers, and private foundations, all with a deep commitment to finding solutions for the most vulnerable families affected by the CHA’s Plan for Transformation. The rigorous evaluation allows for continuous learning and mid-course corrections, and helped the team develop a validated model that other housing authorities can use. This report highlights the lessons learned during the first year implementation of the Demonstration.
See also:
The Experiences of Public Housing Agencies That Established Time Limits Policies Under the MTW Demonstration
A Study of Closing Costs for FHA Mortgages
Foreclosures in the District of Columbia

Using the Housing We Have

Source: John Weicher, Urban Institute, July 16, 2008

From the abstract:
The success of welfare reform has shifted many policy analysts’ attention to providing incentives for former welfare recipients to remain in the labor force that they have recently joined. Toward that end, Gregory Acs and Margery Austin Turner want to ensure that working pays more than welfare. Acs and Turner offer proposals to assist low-income workers generally, and also specific proposals to provide them with housing assistance. My comments focus on the housing proposals. Acs and Turner recommend expanding the supply of modest housing through construction subsidies, with additional subsidies in high-cost areas, and a new, large household-based housing subsidy. I think these subsidies, while certainly well intentioned and carefully designed, are somewhat unnecessary and counterproductive.

A Sociolegal History of Public Housing Reform in Chicago

Source: Lisa Alexander, Univ. of Wisconsin Law School Working Paper No. 1061, June 2008

From the abstract:
This essay summarizes and compares Alexander Polikoff’s Waiting for Gautreaux: A Story of Segregation, Housing, and the Black Ghetto and Mary Pattillo’s Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City to convey the contributions and limitations of each book. Both works provide a rich sociolegal history of public housing reform in Chicago and illustrate the challenges Chicago has faced in implementing recent HOPE VI public housing reforms. I compare Polikoff’s forty-year battle to desegregate public housing in Chicago with Pattillo’s insightful observations of class dynamics between the new middle-class African-American power brokers of housing reform and public housing residents. Through this comparison, I seek to show that Polikoff’s long-term prescriptions for public housing reform are based upon a conception of the inner city that may no longer be entirely accurate. This comparison also conveys the social complexity inherent in HOPE VI reform efforts, a complexity often overlooked in the prevailing policy and academic debates.

Baby Boomers Face Massive Loss of Retirement Wealth Due to Housing Market Meltdown

Source: Dean Baker and David Rosnick, Center for Economic and Policy Research, June 2008

From the press release:
Former GAO Comptroller General David Walker testified today before the House Budget Committee about a proposed commission to cut Social Security and Medicare for future retirees. However, as Congress debates this issue, they must take into account the financial situation of near retirees. A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) shows that, due to the collapse of the housing bubble, the vast majority of near retirees have accumulated little or no wealth. This means that they will be almost completely reliant on Social Security and Medicare to support them in their retirement years.

The study, “The Housing Crash and the Retirement Prospects of Late Baby Boomers,” analyzed the wealth holdings of families headed by people between the ages of 45 and 54 in 2004 and projected the wealth of these families in 2009. The findings are presented by income quintile under three scenarios- real house prices remain at current levels, real house prices fall by 10 percent, or real house prices fall by 20 percent. In all three scenarios, the vast majority of these families will have little or no housing wealth in 2009.

Race, Ethnicity, and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis

Source: Economic Policy Institute, June 12, 2008

Presentations by:
Graciela Aponte, Debbie Bocian, Wilhelmina Leigh, Gregory Squires

The subprime mortgage crisis, with its links to the broader housing sector and to financial markets, is at the top of the national policy agenda. As Congress and the Federal Reserve consider proposals for reform, it is important to consider how and why this crisis came to have a disproportionate impact on communities of color. This panel discussed the reasons for this disparate impact and how policy reforms can be best tailored to serve the communities hardest hit by the crisis.

Full-length video and audio
View part 1
View part 2
View part 3 (Q&A)
Part 1: [listen/stream] [download MP3]
Part 2: [listen/stream] [download MP3]
Part 3 (Q&A): [listen/stream] [download MP3]

The State of the Nation’s Housing 2008

Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, 2008

The nation is in the throes of a housing downturn that is shaping up to be the worst in a generation, finds The State of the Nation’s Housing report issued today by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. While the falloff in housing starts, new home sales, and existing home sales already rivals the worst downturns in the post World War II era, home price declines and mortgage defaults are the worst on records that date back to the 1960s and 1970s.

The study presents a dispiriting picture of how severe and structurally ingrained housing affordability challenges have become. By 2006, 17.7 million households–about 15.8 percent of all households–were spending more than half their income on housing, an increase of 3.8 million just since 2001. Even 34 percent of households with incomes equivalent to 1-2 times the federal minimum wage, and 15 percent with incomes equivalent to 2-3 times this wage, spend more than half their incomes on housing. With the economy spinning out a growing proportion of full and part-time jobs with wages in these ranges, prospects for a meaningful reduction in affordability problems remain dim.
See also:
SON 2008 Press Release
SON 2008 Fact Sheet
SON 2008 Media Advisory
SON 2008 Appendix Tables (Microsoft Excel)
SON 2008 Sources (Microsoft Excel)
SON Archive
Subprime mortgages are nearly double for Hispanics and African Americans – EPI Snapshot, June 11, 2008

America’s Rental Housing: the Key to a Balanced National Policy

Source: Harvard University Joint Center for Housing, April 30, 2008

From the press release:
The report entitled “America’s Rental Housing: The Key to a Balanced National Policy” examines recent mortgage market events in the context of long-standing affordability problems that plague millions of renters. Fueled by record foreclosures and sluggish home sales, the share of households owning a home is declining, while the number of renter households jumped by nearly one million last year, or more than four times the pace of renter growth over the 2003 to 2006 period. Despite the growing signs of economic weakness, monthly rents last year reached a record high of $775.

The report also observes that rising foreclosures and the resulting turmoil in credit markets raises the costs of financing rental housing construction and preservation. Last year, completions of multifamily units for rent fell to 169,000 units – just two thirds of the 2002 figure and only one-third of the 1986 record high. The blighting influence of vacant and foreclosed properties also will accelerate the abandonment of low-cost rental properties in distressed neighborhoods, further limiting the supply of affordable housing.
See also:
Fact Sheet
Written Summary
PowerPoint Presentation
William C. Apgar
Senior Scholar, Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies (1.9MB)
Recording of April 30, 2008 Release
audio recording includes:
Opening Remarks
PowerPoint Presentation
Panel Discussion
Question & Answer
Urban Land Institute

Comparison of Ownership vs. Rental Costs in 100 U.S. Cities Demonstrates that Rental Options Should Be a Consideration in Housing Proposals

Source: Hye Jin Rho, Danilo Pelletiere, and Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research, May 2008

From a press release:
As Congress debates solutions to the mortgage meltdown and ever more homeowners find themselves facing foreclosure, a report released today by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) shows that in many bubble-inflated markets, homeownership remains a costly and risky proposition.

The study, “Ownership, Rental Costs and the Prospects of Building Home Equity: A Comparison of 100 Metropolitan Areas,” evaluates the median house price and fair market rent, as determined by HUD, for the 100 largest metropolitan areas. The study extends the methodology from an earlier study, “The Cost of Maintaining Home Ownership in the Current Crisis: Comparisons in 20 Cities,” to the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Rethinking U.S. Rental Housing Policy

Source: Bruce Katz and Margery Austin Turner, Brookings Institution, Opportunity 08, April 24, 2008

From the summary:
Despite the fact that one-third of all Americans–representing 36 million households–live in rental housing, rental policy often takes a back seat to home-ownership policy in Washington. To ensure that low- and moderate-income Americans can afford rental housing, Bruce Katz says that the next president needs to help supplement incomes through tax credits, empower local governments to expand and preserve the supply of affordable housing and deal with the subprime mortgage crisis.

See also:

Position Paper
Fact Sheet