How Can We Measure Housing Security? Suggestions for HUD’s New Effort

The Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Policy Development and Research has begun the work of developing a composite measure of housing security, a commendable and important effort.

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To Make Progress on Housing, Break Down Those Walls!

High-cost cities and counties face an array of serious housing challenges. One solution? Local government agencies should focus on breaking down barriers between different agencies and policy domains to achieve active collaboration.

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What Does Homelessness in the U.S. Really Look Like?

Can we believe our perceptions of homelessness based on what we see on the streets? A decade of research provides a definitive answer: no.

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Want to Have an Impact on Housing Policy? Go Local!

Local decisions affect the density at which housing can be built and the complexity, duration, and cost of the land entitlement process, which in turn affect the cost of housing.

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Tags: housing

Expenses - the Neglected Half of the Household Budget Equation

To get a full picture of the economic challenges facing Americans of different incomes, we need to consider incomes and expenses together, especially rising expenses for housing, education and health care.

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The Private Housing Market: Friend or Foe?

The high cost of housing combined with low and unreliable incomes can lead to a destabilizing cycle of missed rent payments and evictions for poor households. What policies could address this challenge?

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What a New Study Tells Us about Homebuyer Education and Counseling

For generations, homeownership has been a gateway to the middle class and a cornerstone of the American Dream. Homeownership is one of the primary pathways to building wealth and financial security for U.S. families. However, as the recent collapse and uneven recovery of the housing market revealed, homeownership poses risks, both to borrowers and to the broader economy. Homebuyer education and counseling are intended to help individuals navigate the complexities of the housing market, make good home purchase and mortgage decisions, improve their financial management skills, and achieve sustainable homeownership and enhanced financial health. Despite the potential for homebuyer education and counseling, a lack of evidence exists on the question of its effectiveness.

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Local Governments Lead the Way on Affordable Housing, Minimum Wage Reform

Across a range of social policy issues, cities and counties are becoming more active in developing local policy responses tailored to the needs of their residents. Building on an analogy to local policymaking on the minimum wage, my latest column focuses on the important role of high-cost cities and counties in developing comprehensive local housing strategies to increase the overall supply of housing and ensure the availability of housing affordable to people at all income levels. 

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Can a Policy Innovation Help Families in Public Housing Build Assets and Increase Their Earnings?

Imagine if all recipients of federal rental assistance had access to a savings account that grew as their earnings grew. This shift could potentially lead to a range of benefits, including increased earnings; investments in education, homeownership and small businesses that materially enhance households' well-being; and improvements in mental health. Of course, we don't know for sure whether these outcomes would occur - like all significant policy changes, this policy innovation would need to be rigorously tested. But it's an idea that merits further exploration, especially since any increases in earnings induced by the policy change would generate increased rent revenue that could help offset program costs.

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