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SSRC Library

The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Reynolds, Kathryn; Lo, Lydia; Boshart, Abby; Galvez, Martha, M.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2021

    Among the many pressing issues for the Biden administration to tackle are the challenges of instituting national housing policies that address housing stability and affordability and that ensure affordable housing is built and preserved in neighborhoods of opportunity. These challenges are not new, and some issues, particularly for renters and communities of color, have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this brief, we present the results of a scan of housing policy platforms from organizations that represent a range of ideological perspectives for federal policy proposals to improve housing stability, affordability, and choice. We identify federal reforms that meet the following criteria: (1) they have some empirical basis to suggest they could be effective at advancing these goals; (2)  they appear in more than one published housing policy platform; and (3) they were prioritized by housing experts we engaged in the Opportunity for All workshop series. In this brief, we discuss each of the proposed federal policy reforms and their evidence base, and explore...

    Among the many pressing issues for the Biden administration to tackle are the challenges of instituting national housing policies that address housing stability and affordability and that ensure affordable housing is built and preserved in neighborhoods of opportunity. These challenges are not new, and some issues, particularly for renters and communities of color, have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this brief, we present the results of a scan of housing policy platforms from organizations that represent a range of ideological perspectives for federal policy proposals to improve housing stability, affordability, and choice. We identify federal reforms that meet the following criteria: (1) they have some empirical basis to suggest they could be effective at advancing these goals; (2)  they appear in more than one published housing policy platform; and (3) they were prioritized by housing experts we engaged in the Opportunity for All workshop series. In this brief, we discuss each of the proposed federal policy reforms and their evidence base, and explore considerations for federal policymakers when implementing the reforms. (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Brennan, Maya; Sahli, Ellen; Elliott, Diana; Noble, Eleanor
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2021

    The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the precarious situation of renters in the US and the routine risk of eviction when hardship strikes. Millions of renters faced financial hardship even before the pandemic, and these hardships and eviction risks are connected to structural racism. Racial disparities in incomes, homeownership rates, and personal savings all disproportionately protect white households and leave households of color—especially Black mothers—exposed. Anticipating that renters’ risks of financial hardship and eviction will continue after eviction moratoria end, this essay envisions a federal program that assists renters in resolving discrete, indefinite, and structural hardships without loss of housing or accrual of high-cost debt. This essay is part of the Opportunity for All project. (author abstract)

    The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the precarious situation of renters in the US and the routine risk of eviction when hardship strikes. Millions of renters faced financial hardship even before the pandemic, and these hardships and eviction risks are connected to structural racism. Racial disparities in incomes, homeownership rates, and personal savings all disproportionately protect white households and leave households of color—especially Black mothers—exposed. Anticipating that renters’ risks of financial hardship and eviction will continue after eviction moratoria end, this essay envisions a federal program that assists renters in resolving discrete, indefinite, and structural hardships without loss of housing or accrual of high-cost debt. This essay is part of the Opportunity for All project. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Meschede, Tatjana; Morgan, Jamie; Aurand, Andrew; Threet, Dan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2021

    The report examines who is likeliest to benefit from the $25 billion annual tax expenditure on the mortgage interest deduction (MID) and finds that most benefits flow to higher-income, disproportionately white homeowners. The authors outline how resources dedicated to the MID could instead be used to support low-income renters and homeowners, through expanding rental assistance, investing in affordable rental housing production, supporting small-dollar mortgage lending, and creating stabilization programs to keep low-income families stably housed. (author abstract)

    The report examines who is likeliest to benefit from the $25 billion annual tax expenditure on the mortgage interest deduction (MID) and finds that most benefits flow to higher-income, disproportionately white homeowners. The authors outline how resources dedicated to the MID could instead be used to support low-income renters and homeowners, through expanding rental assistance, investing in affordable rental housing production, supporting small-dollar mortgage lending, and creating stabilization programs to keep low-income families stably housed. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Popkin, Susan J. ; Levy, Diane K. ; O'Brien, Mica; Boshart, Abby
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2021

    Repairing the aging, deteriorating public housing stock is a major challenge facing the Biden administration. We draw on three decades of research to highlight shortcomings in past public housing redevelopment programs such as HOPE VI and Choice Neighborhoods, including the loss of critically needed units and a lack of meaningful resident engagement in planning for redevelopment, relocation, and services. But future public housing redevelopment efforts can go beyond the mixed-income approach of past and ongoing initiatives and promote racial equity. We call for repealing the Faircloth Amendment to allow increased production of public housing units, strengthening existing place-based strategies, meaningfully engaging residents in all aspects of the redevelopment process, and raising public housing funding to a level that will preserve and expand this vital resource for affordable housing. (author abstract)

    Repairing the aging, deteriorating public housing stock is a major challenge facing the Biden administration. We draw on three decades of research to highlight shortcomings in past public housing redevelopment programs such as HOPE VI and Choice Neighborhoods, including the loss of critically needed units and a lack of meaningful resident engagement in planning for redevelopment, relocation, and services. But future public housing redevelopment efforts can go beyond the mixed-income approach of past and ongoing initiatives and promote racial equity. We call for repealing the Faircloth Amendment to allow increased production of public housing units, strengthening existing place-based strategies, meaningfully engaging residents in all aspects of the redevelopment process, and raising public housing funding to a level that will preserve and expand this vital resource for affordable housing. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bergman, Peter ; Chetty, Raj ; DeLuca, Stefanie ; Hendren, Nathaniel ; Katz, Lawrence ; Palmer, Christopher
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2020

    Low-income families in the United States tend to live in neighborhoods that offer limited opportunities for upward income mobility. One potential explanation for this pattern is that low-income families prefer such neighborhoods for other reasons, such as affordability or proximity to family and jobs. An alternative explanation is that families do not move to high-opportunity areas because of barriers that prevent them from making such moves.

    We test between these two explanations using a randomized controlled trial with housing voucher recipients in Seattle and King County. We provided services to reduce barriers to moving to high-upward-mobility neighborhoods: customized search assistance, landlord engagement, and short-term financial assistance. The intervention increased the fraction of families who moved to high-upward-mobility areas from 14% in the control group to 54% in the treatment group. Families induced to move to higher opportunity areas by the treatment do not make sacrifices on other dimensions of neighborhood quality and report much higher levels of...

    Low-income families in the United States tend to live in neighborhoods that offer limited opportunities for upward income mobility. One potential explanation for this pattern is that low-income families prefer such neighborhoods for other reasons, such as affordability or proximity to family and jobs. An alternative explanation is that families do not move to high-opportunity areas because of barriers that prevent them from making such moves.

    We test between these two explanations using a randomized controlled trial with housing voucher recipients in Seattle and King County. We provided services to reduce barriers to moving to high-upward-mobility neighborhoods: customized search assistance, landlord engagement, and short-term financial assistance. The intervention increased the fraction of families who moved to high-upward-mobility areas from 14% in the control group to 54% in the treatment group. Families induced to move to higher opportunity areas by the treatment do not make sacrifices on other dimensions of neighborhood quality and report much higher levels of neighborhood satisfaction.

    These findings imply that most low-income families do not have a strong preference to stay in low-opportunity areas; instead, barriers in the housing search process are a central driver of residential segregation by income. Interviews with families reveal that the capacity to address each family’s needs in a specific manner from emotional support to brokering with landlords to financial assistance was critical to the program’s success. Using quasi-experimental analyses and comparisons to other studies, we show that more standardized policies increasing voucher payment standards in high-opportunity areas or informational interventions have much smaller impacts.

    We conclude that redesigning affordable housing policies to provide customized assistance in housing search could reduce residential segregation and increase upward mobility substantially. (author abstract)

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