Category Archives: housing

New(ish) Article: “The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment”

New Article: Raj Chetty et al., The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment, 106 Am. Econ. Rev. 855 (2016). Abstract below:

The Moving to Opportunity (MTO) experiment offered randomly selected families housing vouchers to move from high-poverty housing projects to lower-poverty neighborhoods. We analyze MTO’s impacts on children’s long-term outcomes using tax data. We find that moving to a lower-poverty neighborhood when young (before age 13) increases college attendance and earnings and reduces single parenthood rates. Moving as an adolescent has slightly negative impacts, perhaps because of disruption effects. The decline in the gains from moving with the age when children move suggests that the duration of exposure to better environments during childhood is an important determinant of children’s long-term outcomes. (JEL I31, I38, J13, R23, R38)

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New Report: “America’s Rental Housing 2017”

New Report: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, America’s Rental Housing 2017 (2017).

News Coverage: “How ‘Not in My Backyard’ Became ‘Not in My Neighborhood’”

News Coverage: Emily Badger, How ‘Not in My Backyard’ Became ‘Not in My Neighborhood’, N.Y. Times, Jan. 3, 2018.

News Coverage: “Low-income residents struggle with high heating bills, frozen pipes as frigid temperatures linger”

News Coverage: Katie Zezima, Low-income residents struggle with high heating bills, frozen pipes as frigid temperatures linger, Wash. Post, Jan. 5, 2018.

New Article: “North Dakota Case Study: The Eviction Mill’s Fast Track to Homelessness”

New Article: Breezy A. Schmidt, North Dakota Case Study: The Eviction Mill’s Fast Track to Homelessness, 92 N.D. L. Rev. 595 (2017). Abstract below:

Eviction has become a serious issue in the United States that must be addressed. North Dakota is no exception. The high rate of evictions is rooted in the application of archaic laws to modern landlord-tenant relationships. Part I of this Article will introduce the social and economic factors that contribute to injustices in the application of landlord-tenant laws. Parts II and III of this Article will review the origins and evolution of eviction laws in England, the United States and North Dakota. Part IV will fully discuss sociological and economic issues in modern landlord-tenant relationships generally and in North Dakota. Part V of this Article will analyze evictions in North Dakota. Part VI will explore solutions to eviction problems in North Dakota. Part VII will summarize how archaic laws applied to modern landlord-tenant relationships has caused serious socio-economic problems that are best resolved by substantial shifts in fundamental policies underlying the law and firm enforcement of the law.

News Coverage: “Hundreds of thousands of poor Americans will soon be able to move to better areas, thanks to this judge”

News Coverage: Tracy Jan, Hundreds of thousands of poor Americans will soon be able to move to better areas, thanks to this judge, WonkBlog, Dec. 28, 2017.

New Article: “Disparate Impact and the Limits of Local Discretion after Inclusive Communities”

New Article: Stacy E. Seicshnaydre, Disparate Impact and the Limits of Local Discretion after Inclusive Communities, 24 George Mason L. Rev. (2017). Abstract below:

In upholding the disparate impact theory of liability under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the Court simultaneously made sweeping pronouncements in favor of residential integration and issued safeguards protecting the legitimate exercise of local discretion in the area of housing policy. Some commentators see these pronouncements as irreconcilable. This Article harmonizes the Court’s competing pronouncements using history, precedent, and the Inclusive Communities opinion itself.

The Court eases the tension between federal mandates and local prerogatives by articulating a vision of FHA disparate impact liability as a targeted “barrier removal” mechanism rather than a blunt instrument “displac[ing] valid governmental and private priorities.” As I have explored in earlier work, this is the vision largely implemented by the lower courts for forty years. Justice Kennedy cited this work in acknowledging that “the heartland of disparate-impact suits target[s] artificial barriers to housing.”

In particular, the Court’s safeguards address three interrelated concerns implicating how disparate impact theory might curb the legitimate exercise of local discretion and lead to unintended consequences, particularly in the siting of affordable housing. The Court disapproves challenges to racial imbalances alone without identifying policies causing the imbalances; challenges based on second guessing valid local priorities; and “abusive” challenges to legitimate neighborhood revitalization efforts.

Justice Kennedy’s opinion does not privilege local government discretion over fair housing objectives. It merely gives local governments running room to tackle the objective in a manner suited to the jurisdiction. Thus, the question is not whether local governments may work to overcome segregation, but how. This concept is reinforced by Justice Kennedy’s use of the term “valid” in referring to the governmental priorities requiring deference. A priority tending to perpetuate segregation and racial isolation cannot possibly be valid, under any construction of the Fair Housing Act text, purpose, regulations, and Inclusive Communities opinion.

Moreover, revitalization activities are not immune from challenge if they perpetuate racial isolation and limit housing choices. Strategies consisting solely of placing low-income housing in distressed neighborhoods function as barriers to integration; the remedy for segregation is not more segregation. On the other hand, a city’s revitalization activities are consistent with the FHA if they expand housing choices and ultimately serve as redress for practices that have perpetuated racial isolation.

The only principled reading of Justice Kennedy’s opinion, therefore, is that the exercise of local discretion to overcome housing barriers and “mov[e] the Nation toward a more integrated society” is legitimate and entitled to deference. Local discretion used to erect housing barriers and perpetuate racial isolation, even under the auspices of “community revitalization,” is not legitimate and is subject to challenge.

News Coverage: “Into the trees: Rural housing shortages push some into forests, parking lots”

News Coverage: Alden Woods, Into the trees: Rural housing shortages push some into forests, parking lots, Arizona Republic, Dec. 3, 2017.

Op-ed: “When Affordable Housing Meets Free-Market Fantasy”

Op-ed: Zelda Bronstein, When Affordable Housing Meets Free-Market Fantasy, Dissent Magazine, Nov. 27, 2017. _DSC0316

News Coverage: “Amid booming economy, homelessness soars on US West Coast”

News Coverage: Gillian Flaccus & Geoff Mulvihill, Amid booming economy, homelessness soars on US West Coast, Assoc. Press, Nov. 9, 2017.