PRRAC Update  

June 4, 2015    



Potential progress on housing mobility:  HUD has issued an "Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" to expand the use of the successful "Small Area Fair Market Rent" methodology for setting Housing Choice Voucher Rents in certain metro areas with high levels of Section 8 voucher concentration and clustering.  Small Area FMRs, which originated from a 2007 civil rights lawsuit in Dallas, use average rents in zip codes to set allowable HCV rents, rather than the current 40% or 50% percentile of all rents in the metropolitan area (a methodology which has had foreseeable segregative consequences).  The use of SAFMRs has been demonstrated to expand housing choices for voucher families in Dallas, and HUD is now developing a formula to identify metropolitan areas that are most in need of differential rents (the new system would replace HUD's current system for expanding choice in highly concentrated regions, which hasn't been working).  


Meanwhile, in Connecticut, legislators have formally approved a bill supporting housing mobility counseling (a good model for other states to follow).  In the new legislation, supported by the Open Communities Alliance, Connecticut also joins several other states in adopting "opportunity mapping" as an affordable housing tool. 


Register today for the National Housing Mobility Conference in Chicago on July 16!    

An excellent opportunity to hear about the latest research and learn what some of the leading programs are doing to deliver new housing and educational opportunities to low income families and children.  See the agenda and register here today.  The conference will kick off with an early evening reception on July 15, sponsored by the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance and Hope Fair Housing Center.  



Other Resources and events

Fair housing incentives really do matter:  A new study commissioned by the HUD Office of Policy Development and Research, "Effect of QAP Incentives on the Location of LIHTC Properties" finds that state Low Income Housing Tax Credit allocation plans that include point systems, setasides, and threshold requirements to promote location of developments in high opportunity, lower poverty areas, actually tend to lead to more balanced development outcomes over time.  The bad news is that there aren't enough states with these kinds of strong fair housing incentives.  We hope the report will encourage the Treasury Department to take a stronger leadership role to promote fair housing in the LIHTC program.


Even more evidence on the importance of place:  Following the powerful recent research of Raj Chetty and colleagues (see our last PRRAC update), and echoing Heather Schwartz's 2010 research in Montgomery County Maryland, the "New York City Center for Economic Opportunity" has released a report comparing income and educational outcomes for public housing residents in New York City who are living in different types of neighborhoods.  Controlling for selection bias and other factors, the report found that residents living in higher income neighborhoods have higher incomes themselves, as compared to residents in developments in low income neighborhoods - and that children in public housing located in higher income neighborhoods attend higher performing schools, and have higher standardized test scores. The report, prepared by Abt Associates in partnership with the Furman Center at NYU, is available here.


Building One America "Summit on Suburbs and Diverse Middle Class Communities" is coming up on July 23 and July 24, at Georgetown Law School.   Register here (for early registration discount before June 19 enter EARLY2015 on the registration form).


Helpful advice from Teaching Tolerance: "Speak Up: Responding to Everyday Bigotry"  




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