Thursday, November 26, 2015

Research review and opportunities in 2016

Solutions through research 
by Lisa Sturtevant, Ph.D. 


This has been an incredibly productive year for NHC’s Center for Housing Policy! I hope you had a chance to see our reports as they were released this year, but if you didn’t, here is a review of some of our key work.

In our continuing commitment to describing housing affordability across the U.S. and to offer new ways to talk about affordability challenges, we released Housing Landscape, our annual summary of the severe housing cost burdens of low- and moderate-income working households, and Paycheck to Paycheck, our interactive tool that allows you to explore housing affordability for a range of occupations.

Research and best practices around building inclusive communities is a key part of the Center’s work. This year, we released reports on strategies for developing flexible inclusionary zoning programs and issues and opportunities around using public land to help subsidize affordable housing development. We also released an online Inclusive Communities Toolkit that includes case studies and resources on local land use, zoning, financial and other tools for creating inclusive communities.

The Center has a long history of examining issues related to the intersection of housing and other issues, such as health, education and economic well-being. This year, in response to new health care legislation and growing recognition of housing’s role as a social determinant of health, the Center has produced a number of reports on housing and health, including a review of the research on the impacts of stable and affordable housing on health outcomes, a summary of the Affordable Care Act and new opportunities for the housing and health communities to work together, a brief summarizing new research on the effect of homelessness on children’s health and case studies of programs that have combined housing and health services.          

With our re-energized focus on local housing issues, we have expanded our analyses of local housing needs through housing needs assessments in the Roanoke, Va. metro area and in Arlington County, Va. These projects allowed us to work directly with local jurisdictions that are examining their housing needs and developing housing plans, allowing us to contribute our expertise and learn from an on-the-ground planning process. We continue to analyze key trends affecting housing demand nationally, including our analysis of the housing needs of the changing veteran population.

We continue to explore forward-looking ideas around local and regional affordable housing issues. We have done this in 2015 with Matters@HAND, a series of monthly articles for a local association of nonprofit developers.

As we look ahead to 2016, we have taken some time to plan our research agenda so that we are able to not only pursue interesting projects but also do research that serves those working to expand housing opportunities. In fact, “opportunity” is the theme for our work in the year ahead. Some of the projects we have planned include a review of recent research on economic mobility, an assessment of opportunity mapping and indices, more best practices and resources around state and local policies that are effective at promoting fair and inclusive housing and opportunities for connecting housing and health organizations. Stay tuned – and stay connected to NHC’s research!



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