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September 10, 2015

FEATURED STORY

Q&A WITH WILLIAM FREY ON THE DIVERSITY EXPLOSION, HOUSING, AND COMMUNITIES

The United States is in the midst of a diversity boom that could rival or even surpass that seen during the baby boom of the last half of the 20th century, according to William Frey's book Diversity Explosion. How Housing Matters spoke with Frey for his perspective on how housing programs will have to change in order to address the needs of the next generation and why the diversity boom may break down microsegregation.

Read more on How Housing Matters

NEWS ROUNDUP HIGHLIGHTS

Opinion: Edsall on the state of racial integration

Thomas B. Edsall, in an op-ed article in the New York Times, paints a picture of the history of racial and economic segregation in the United States—and the uncertain progress the country has made toward becoming integrated. He discusses how economic and sociological research has analyzed the mechanisms behind segregation and found that small racial preferences can be exaggerated on the neighborhood level. For instance, researchers have identified a racial “tipping point"—a point at which a racially mixed neighborhood can suddenly become homogeneous. While some say the surge in concentrated poverty is a sign that segregation is retrenching, others argue neighborhoods are more ethnically diverse than ever. Edsall believes substantial progress has been made but that the nation is still far from achieving true integration.

Read more in the New York Times (9/9)

Cottage neighborhood offers walkability and affordability

The Sitka, Alaska, Community Development Corporation recently unveiled plans for a 13-cottage neighborhood on the footprint of the Old City Shops property. Caitlin Woolsey says of her vision for the community, “Imagine a condominium where every room is a separate house.” The architecture student’s design includes small cottages located on land held in trust to provide affordable housing for median-income Sitka residents. The project’s design seeks to attract multigenerational owners, ranging from young families to the aging population, and offers a pedestrian-friendly environment. Randy Hughey, the corporation's board president, plans to maintain affordability by limiting cottage owners’ profits from sales and maintaining separate deeds on homes and land.

Read more in KCAW (9/8)

A Review of Gentrification Research Paints a Complex Picture

Building a case on the complexity of existing research findings, Richard Florida contends that today’s gentrification is largely fueled by the growing interest in urban living, particularly driving up costs in major cities such as New York and San Francisco. Creating broadly inclusive cities remains a challenge. A review of existing research, published by the San Francisco Federal Reserve, delves into how the displacement associated with gentrification really works. Whereas early studies of gentrification connected it with displacement, research by Lance Freeman and Frank Braconi has found that lower-income residents are actually less likely to move if they live in a gentrifying neighborhood, and that gentrification led to racial, economic, and educational diversity. Other studies, however, suggest that some residents benefit from gentrification while others do not, reporting that it brings positive effects to middle-class and well-educated black residents while leaving behind those who did not complete high school. 

Read more in CityLab (9/8)

urban schools use the community to improve school quality

Under pressure to improve 62 New York City schools rated as low performing by the New York State Education Department, the De Blasio administration has launched a strategic initiative centered on community involvement and inclusion. By using door-to-door outreach and offering community services at schools, the administration expects to improve student test scores and graduation rates. A key component of the administration’s strategy is increasing parental involvement through training parents and hiring staff to support these outreach efforts. The strategy is centered on the belief that parental involvement will decrease absenteeism and discipline problems while increasing academic support at home and motivating parents to petition politicians for resources and funding.

Read more in the New York Times (9/8)

Asheville's private sector comes together to address housing challenges

In recent years, Asheville, North Carolina, has experienced substantial job growth and become a popular tourist destination. However, the recession stalled the development the city needed to support its rising profile. Housing supply is not keeping up with job growth—a 2014 report found that the region’s vacancy rate was less than 1 percent for apartments—and wages are not keeping pace with housing prices. Members of Asheville’s Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Board, local developers, and the county’s Economic Development Coalition came together on August 27 to discuss how the private sector could address the region’s affordable housing challenges in its work. Potential strategies include encouraging large employers to provide grants to homebuyers and help their employees with other housing costs.

Read more in the Citizen-Times (9/6)

Editorial: underpinnings of Segregation need to be dismantled

The New York Times editorial board believes that the growth of concentrated poverty is a sign that the mission of the Fair Housing Act has not been fulfilled. Recent research from Rutgers’s Paul Jargowsky demonstrates that neighborhoods have been growing more impoverished and economically segregated. The board argues that all levels of government are creating racial and economic segregation through their policies. In particular, the board cites the following as causes: locating federally subsidized public housing in places with paltry education or employment opportunities, discriminatory practices in wealthy neighborhoods, and zoning laws. The board believes HUD’s new rule that more explicitly addresses fair housing issues, coupled with the Supreme Court's ruling on disparate impact, have the potential to address these issues. But how successful they will be in dismantling the “architecture of segregation” remains to be seen.

Read more in the New York Times (9/5)
>>> View All News Roundups
 

RESEARCH SUMMARIES

COMMON sense reforms On Reverse mortgages CAN reduce defaults

The reverse mortgage industry has been dogged by high default rates, but a new study shows that simple reforms to the system can substantially reduce risks to consumers while preserving access to this financial tool. An analysis of the financial characteristics of consumers seeking counseling on reverse mortgages shows that low credit scores, late payments on other mortgages, tax liens, and a large property tax burden all increase the likelihood that a person will default. The researchers simulated how different regulations would affect the market for reverse mortgages and offered modifications to the program that would lower the risk of default without significantly limiting the reverse mortgage market.

Read more on How Housing Matters

New research puts FOCUS ON Concentrated Poverty, not Gentrification

Research from City Observatory argues that fears about gentrification should be replaced by concern about poverty concentration. By examining census data, Joseph Cortright and Dillon Mahmoudi show that poverty has become increasingly concentrated since 1970: the number of people living in high-poverty neighborhoods has doubled, and the number of such neighborhoods has nearly tripled. These trends are alarming because when poverty is concentrated, its negative impacts are amplified. Concentrated poverty is also more intractable and tends to persist over time. The authors also analyzed gentrification—defined as a neighborhood changing from high poverty to below-average poverty—and found it is a rare occurrence. The authors therefore believe policymakers should focus their energy on alleviating poverty rather than safeguarding neighborhoods against gentrification.

Read more on How Housing Matters
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UPCOMING EVENTS

HUD at 50: History in the making

Sept. 17, 2015 | Washington, DC | U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

is housing stability essential for family wellbeing?

Sept. 21, 2015 | Washington, DC | Abt Associates

EXPANDING Housing and Services for lgbt older people

Sept. 24, 2015 | Webinar | Enterprise Community Partners

21st-Century School Integration

Sept. 24-25, 2015 | Washington, DC | The National Coalition on School Diversity
>>> View All Events
 

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About How Housing Matters

The How Housing Matters online portal and e-mail newsletter is an effort of the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing with support from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation through its How Housing Matters to Families and Communities Initiative. How Housing Matters provides news, research, and practical information on how a high-quality, stable, affordable home in a vibrant community contributes to individual and community success.
 

CONTACT the EDITORS

Executive Editor: Stockton Williams 
Managing Editor: Maya Brennan
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