Monday, June 30, 2014

Research road trip

Developing Solutions through research
by Lisa Sturtevant, Ph.D., National Housing Conference




We’ve been taking our research on the road! One of the best ways we can connect our research with the work being done on the ground by advocates, developers, policymakers and other researchers is to present our work and participate in discussions about the nation’s housing challenges and promising solutions. Research staff has been on the road quite a bit over the past few weeks presenting our research, sharing our expertise, and collaborating with others working on housing issues. Just a few examples:
  • Research associate Janet Viveiros was invited to present at a two-day conference of users of the American Community Survey (ACS) data, where she highlighted our work analyzing ACS data for NHC’s Housing Landscape. Janet presented on a panel alongside researchers from NYU’s Furman Center, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and the Housing Assistance Council. Her presentation was very well-received and brought a new audience to Housing Landscape
  • As a result of our growing expertise on shared equity programs, inclusionary housing and permanent affordability, senior research associate Robert Hickey was asked by the Coalition for Smarter Growth to provide expert testimony to the District of Columbia’s Committee on Economic Development on a proposed bill around homeownership preservation and equity accumulation. Drawing on our extensive research on shared equity, Robert helped outline the case for designing balanced programs with long affordability periods and opportunities for modest equity growth to ensure future generations can benefit from affordable homeownership in a fast-growing city.  
  • Senior research associate Maya Brennan framed the critical links between affordable housing and educational outcomes as the lunch keynote speaker at a conference on housing and education policy sponsored by Housing Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Urban and Regional Development. In her presentation to housing and education practitioners and policymakers, Maya talked about the impacts of affordable and stable housing on education, and she helped bridge the gap of understanding in the housing and education communities. Read more on Maya’s experience in the Briefing Room section of this newsletter.   
  • I was invited to participate in a panel discussion and webcast around the Joint Center for Housing Studies’ 2014 release of State of the Nation’s Housing. Alongside the report’s lead author and representatives from the Ford Foundation, Center for Responsible Lending and National Multifamily Housing Council, I provided perspectives on the housing affordability challenges highlighted in the report. In the aftermath of the recession, the challenges of housing affordability have affected families higher up the economic ladder who have been confronted by rising housing costs—particularly on the rental side—stagnant wages, and a restructuring economy. The range of housing needs and the variation in housing affordability across the country (as we describe in our annual reports and online tool on housing needs) suggest a need for comprehensive solutions at the federal, state, regional and local levels that draw on both public and private resources.
We will continue to look for opportunities to share our research to help broaden the understanding of housing needs in the U.S. and to discuss promising and innovative solutions for ensuring all individuals and families have access to safe, decent and affordable housing. We hope to see you on the road this summer! And remember, you can always find our research reports, briefs and blogs at www.nhc.org.
   



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