PRRAC Update  

April 18, 2013 




Welcome to the PRRAC Update!  Every other Thursday, PRRAC sends out a brief digest of news, recent publications, and other points of interest related to our work in housing, education, and health. We welcome feedback and encourage you to forward to others. To join the PRRAC email list, click here.    



New research on housing mobility:  The Inclusive Communities Project (ICP) in Dallas has contributed to the expanding research on effective housing mobility strategies with an innovative new report that looks at neighborhood outcomes for low income families with housing choice vouchers, based on the degree of housing mobility assistance received.  The report assesses neighborhood outcomes for voucher families in three ways:  first, using the "CDFI Distress Index" developed by the Treasury Department for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund; second, using HUD's 2011 "Housing Choice Voucher Marketing Opportunity Index," and third, an index of high crime "'hot spots" developed by the Dallas Police Department. For each of these new indices, the report finds that clients receiving housing mobility assistance (either mobility counseling or other forms of assistance like higher rents) had dramatically different neighborhood outcomes than families not receiving mobility assistance, especially for African American families.  Moreover, the more mobility assistance families received, the stronger the results.  Other policy-relevant findings included:  Housing mobility counseling assistance appeared to be more effective in helping families move to "better" neighborhoods than geographic restrictions on voucher use alone; and higher rents alone did not lead to significant differences in location outcomes - but higher rents combined with counseling led to significantly improved location outcomes.  The ICP's housing mobility program is funded primarily by the "Walker Housing Fund," originally established as part of the Dallas public housing desegregation case settlement.  ICP's Betsy Julian and Demetria McCain are also members of PRRAC's national Board. 


Other News and Resources


Increasing School Segregation in Maryland - a report from the Civil Rights Project: Maryland's public school students are increasingly segregated by race and class, in spite of growing diversity in student enrollment statewide, according to a report released today by The Civil Rights Project at UCLA. The report, Settle for Segregation or Strive for Diversity? A Defining Moment for Maryland's Public Schools shows that over half (54.2%) of the state's black students attended intensely segregated schools (90-100% minority) during the 2010-2011 school year, a large increase from one-third (33.5%) in 1989. At the same time, nearly a quarter of Maryland's black students (22.9%) attended "apartheid" schools (99-100% minority) in 2010, up from 19.1% in 1989.  The report makes a number of policy recommendations, including more affirmative fair housing policies and incentives for interdistrict school integration programs.  PRRAC is a member of the Baltimore Regional Housing Campaign, which has advocated for reform of state housing policies to promote community and school integration.    


From Urban Institute's Metrotrends blog:  an exploration of mega-trends in segregation by metro-area size and diversity - a fascinating research summary that raises more questions than it answers...




Philip Tegeler

Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Washington, DC