an excellent article from New York Times
“Your money is no good here.” It may sound like a line spoken by the barkeeper in an old-timey Western movie.
— Read on www.stlamerican.com/content/tncms/live/
A great article by leadership of Empower Missouri about housing discrimination based upon source of income. If people can pay rent, have decent credit, and are good tenants, that is all that should matter. Written by Paul Dribin
The finding comes from research commissioned by HUD. The results to me are discouraging for the following reasons:1. Public health advocates have said that better housing will result in better health care outcomes. That is not the case in this study.2. There must be something in the lifestyle of poor people that results in poorer health. What are the dietary, smoking issues.Here is a synopsis of the report:Does HUD Assistance Affect Child Health Outcomes?July 11, 2018 About 4 million of the 10 million Americans who receive US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) assistance are children. How healthy are these children? Housing policymakers and public health professionals increasingly recognize that housing is an important social determinant of health, particularly among children, as research shows that housing can significantly shape their emotional, psychological, and behavioral health and development. To fill the gap in research that previously relied on anecdotal evidence and case studies, a recent HUD study sought to identify the prevalence of health conditions and health care use among HUD-assisted children.The study provided prevalence estimates of the health of children ages 17 and younger in HUD-assisted households with those living in eligible but unassisted households and the general population. HUD assistance was defined as participation in one of HUD’s three primary subsidy programs: public housing, housing choice vouchers, and assisted multifamily housing. The authors linked responses from the National Health Interview Survey and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey over 14 years (1999–2012) to longitudinal HUD administrative data. The study explored differences in demographics, health status, health care use, and learning-related health status among the three groups, but the differences were not tested for statistical significance. The findings have important policy implications that suggest aligning housing assistance programs with health policy to potentially improve cost-effectiveness and health outcomes.Key findings • Most HUD-assisted children were black (52.2 percent) and lived in a single-parent, female-headed household (74.6 percent); 31.9 percent lived in large metropolitan centers. • Although 86.8 percent of HUD-assisted children had insurance coverage through public health insurance programs, they appear to have worse health status than the general population of children. • Most HUD-assisted children (84.4 percent) had a well-child checkup in the past year. Lower rates were reported for unassisted low-income households (80.2 percent) and the general population (76.8 percent). • The percentage of children with unmet medical needs because of unaffordability was similar among HUD-assisted children (3.5 percent) and children in the general population (4.4 percent). • HUD-assisted children (21.2 percent) are more likely to have asthma than children in unassisted, low-income renter households (17.7 percent). • 5 percent of HUD-assisted children had been told by a school or health professional that they had a learning disability.Photo by Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock
There are sometimes audible gasps in a room as Richard Rothstein talks about his book, The Color of Law, and the United States government’s work to create, encourage, and enforce racial segregation in housing in the 20th century.
Excellent interview with richard rothstein about housing segregation
— Read on shelterforce.org/2018/05/22/the-not-so-hidden-truths-about-the-segregation-of-americas-housing/
I particularly like that they talk about income subsidy as well.
There are major new research efforts ongoing that focus on evictions. I see this becoming the next social justice issue. Some people claim the volume of evictions is greater than ever. I don’t know how that claim can be made.
Evictions are bad for both the tenant and landlord. Focusing on eviction as the problem would be like focusing on stopping death or some terrible illness. Most evictions are justified. The problem is poverty and poor life choices rather than focusing on some mechanical solution to evictions like mediation etc. By the time a case gets to eviction it is a lost cause.
Poverty plays a major role in evictions but not always the way one would think. If poverty was the sole cause, public housing where tenants pay almost no rent would have a lower rate of eviction. In fact the rate is higher. Families that are traumatized, poor, and who make poor choices have the greatest chance of losing their unit. Anything that creates restrictions for landlords will simply drive up the rent for other tenants. Written by Paul Dribin
Here is an article copied from Why Housing Matters. It is a very comprehensive statement of the importance of housing to other endeavors such as health and education. It is well worth taking a look at. The data was originally gathered by the MacArthur Foundation. Written by Paul Drib in
Why Educators, Health Professionals, and Others Focused on Economic Mobility Should Care about Housing
November 30, 2017
Cities striving to improve residents’ lives often focus on such issues as schools, parks, jobs, or health. Often overlooked is something equally fundamental. Trace the lineage of many social welfare issues, and you will likely uncover a history of substandard, unaffordable housing. Research increasingly shows that safe and affordable housing in strong and thriving neighborhoods is a launching pad to upward mobility for families.
For more than a decade, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has supported research on the role of housing as a platform for opportunity among families. The following summary of findings from more than 20 studies shows that housing shapes our lives in critical and long-lasting ways. Through this and other work, our understanding has expanded, providing greater nuance and insight into the pathways through which housing makes a difference in people’s lives and in communities. These pathways include housing stability, affordability, quality, and location.
The findings are organized for educators, health professionals, and economic development experts who regularly see the direct impact of poor-quality, unaffordable housing but who may not realize housing’s role in those outcomes.
Why educators should care about housing
Safe, stable, and affordable housing during childhood sets the stage for success in school. Children are profoundly affected by their environments during key developmental stages. Chaos in their neighborhood, frequent moves, exposure to pollutants, and unhealthy conditions leave a deep and lasting imprint. When housing consumes too much of a household’s budget, kids may not have enough nutritious food to eat to be ready to learn. Teachers see the ramifications of these conditions in the classroom.
MacArthur Foundation-supported research shows the following:
1 Adolescents living in poor-quality housing have lower math and reading scores and lower math skills in standardized achievement tests, even after adjusting for parenting and other factors.
2 Among young children in high-poverty neighborhoods, substandard housing is the strongest predictor among several housing-related conditions of behavioral or emotional problems.
3 Improving housing stability has long-term benefits for children. Any residential move during childhood is associated with a nearly half-a-year loss in school. Each additional move is associated with small declines in social skills. A majority of US children move at least once during childhood, and a sizable group moves three or more times. The negative effects, however, fade with time.
4 Moving three or more times in childhood is associated with lower earnings, fewer work hours, and less educational attainment later in life.
5 Between ages 6 and 10 is a particularly sensitive time to move. At that age, any move, voluntary or not, is linked to lower educational attainment and lower earnings later in life. (See here for results at other ages.)
6 Families who spend 30 percent of their household income on rent spend more on child enrichment than those who spend either more or less than that on rent.
7 Homelessness is linked to behavioral problems in children, though it is relatively rare and often a one-time experience.
8 Too few families can move to high-performing neighborhood schools, even with housing vouchers to help with rent. One-third of public housing families and one-fourth of families using housing vouchers live near schools that are ranked in the bottom 10th in their state.
9 The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) does better than housing vouchers in placing families near high-performing schools, though the LIHTC serves slightly better–off families.
Why health care professionals should care about housing
Both neighborhood and health disparities are stark in the United States. One’s zip code is as important as one’s genetic code in determining health status or life expectancy. The disparities are linked because where you live offers access to what makes you healthy or unhealthy, from housing without lead or asthma triggers to grocery stores with fresh vegetables, to parks and sidewalks, and access to jobs. Physicians, nurses, and public health experts recognize this, and they are doing more to ensure that the residents they serve live in homes and neighborhoods that promote their health and well-being.
MacArthur Foundation-supported research shows the following:
2 Housing affects mothers’ health. Poor housing conditions and overcrowding (even just perceived overcrowding) are associated with more depression and hostility among Latino mothers in the Bronx.
3 Moving to low-poverty neighborhoods can improve physical and mental health for adults, including decreased diabetes and obesity.
4 Neighborhood pollution has clear health consequences. Reducing prenatal exposure to pollutants from traffic congestion alone could mean 8,600 fewer preterm births annually, for an annual savings of at least $444 million.
5 Among Latinos living in public housing in the Bronx, the prevalence of cardiovascular disease is significantly higher than for either Section 8 voucher holders or low-income Latinos in general. Nationwide, public housing residents tend to live in poorer neighborhoods than do voucher holders.
6 Neighborhood social cohesion reduces the risk of depression or hostility among low-income Latinos in New York City.
7 About 10 percent of low-income children in a nationally representative survey of urban families were homeless at one point in their childhoods. These children relied more on emergency rooms for health care and had more behavioral problems.
8 Housing for homeless families and rental assistance for food-insecure families improves health outcomes of vulnerable children and lowers health care spending.
Why people focused on ensuring greater economic security and mobility should care about housing
Housing is a launching pad to successful lives. High-quality housing in strong neighborhoods positions residents to capitalize on opportunities. And investing in communities reaps benefits beyond the neighborhood in lower social, health, and economic costs for the city and region. Cities nationwide are working to reverse entrenched poverty and providing needed opportunities for all residents. The findings below demonstrate the connection between housing, neighborhood, and upward mobility.
MacArthur Foundation-supported research shows the following:
1 Improving neighborhood social cohesion and access to jobs and reducing environmental hazards have a strong effect on health, earnings, and well-being.
2 Housing affordability and stability encourage work. Families using housing vouchers were working more consistently after five years than similar low-income families without vouchers.
3 Policies that focus on moving families to better neighborhoods are not enough to address every problem related to poverty. Families need additional supports to overcome their circumstances.
4 Siblings who lived in public housing as teenagers fared better than their siblings who spent less time in public housing. They earned more as young adults and were less likely to be incarcerated. More room in family budgets to invest in children may be one reason for the better results.
5 Improving housing stability for children has long-term benefits. Moving three or more times in childhood—especially between ages 6 and 10—lowered later earnings nearly 52 percent.
7 Racial segregation and a tight rental market constrain housing choice for low-income families and may be one reason voucher holders live near lower-performing schools.
8 Inclusionary zoning policies expand access to more economically diverse neighborhoods and better-performing schools, though inclusionary zoning is only a small slice of the affordable housing pie.
9 For low-income seniors, reverse mortgages can be a lifeline. The most effective strategy to reduce default rates is escrowing funds for property tax and insurance payments for borrowers with low FICO credit scores.
These findings underscore the need to invest in healthy, affordable housing for all Americans. Opportunities are shaped by a person’s housing, neighborhood, and environment. Policies that address housing and neighborhood’s role in creating and sustaining opportunities or disadvantage may be one of the most effective ways to fight poverty and promote upward economic mobility.
This article was originally published on the MacArthur Foundation’s website, and has been reproduced in a modestly modified form with permission from the Foundation.
Housing and healthcare are one and the same. I don’t need to restate the obvious; people with poor housing options tend to be less healthy, and people who are less healthy tend to live in substandard housing.
I am putting some ideas together to address this. Think of this scenario which often happens. A patient cannot be released from the hospital in a timely manner because they are homeless. The daily cost in the hospital is $3000. Wouldn’t it make sense for hospitals to subsidize the rent for these individuals and get supportive services for them? A second issue. Many readmissions to hospitals could be avoided if people lived in decent housing. As I said, I will be putting a project together to address this. Paul Dribin
Research clearly shows that poor people who move to a more affluent neighborhood do better in life. Unfortunately most affordable housing in St. Louis and elsewhere is constructed in lower income neighborhoods. HUD, under the Obama administration had tried to address this problem.
Up until now, Section 8 fair market rents were set for an entire metropolitan area. Therefore the rent structure in Wellston was the same as in Ladue. On an initial limited basis, HUD is changing the policy and determining fair market rent by zip code, therefore allowing higher rents in more affluent areas. Where tested, the concept has seemed to work.
To be sure, the policy has detractors. Housing authorities complain the policy is too bureaucratic. Housing practitioners are concerned that the policy if fully implemented would drain inner city neighborhoods of population and good tenants. These are both valid issues, but I believe the policy should be tried. The Trump administration unfortunately is eliminating the new rule that would implement it. Written by Paul Dribin
The answer to this question is how you structure the problem. The National Low Income Housing Coalition has done the most work of any organization on this issue on a national level. They pose the problem by taking the median rental rate in the community and factoring in the minimum wage income. Not surprisingly they concluded that virtually now where in the United States is housing affordable.
There are several problems with this approach. The minimum wage is not a good indication of a community's earning capacity. Many minimum wage workers are students, part time workers, and those new to the work force. Many live with parents or double or triple up. Also most minimum wage workers don't remain at that pay level for a long time, as they move up the ladder. The minimum wage was never intended to be a living wage, rather just a starter for low skilled workers. Many minimum wage workers also work 2 or more jobs.
A better gauge of housing affordability is the relationship between the median income and the median rent. This gives us kind of an average, not perfect, but much better. Let's look at some numbers as a point of comparison:
St. Louis Metro Area
Median Income- $52243 for a family of 4 in the City of St. Louis
Median Rent -2 bedroom- $1291
Therefore the monthly median income of $4354 can afford a monthly rent of $1306 at the 30% threshold. This represents 100.01% of the median rent.
One may conclude that on the whole rent is affordable in the St Louis area for the median household.
Median rent-2 bedroom-$3166
Therefore the monthly income of $5654 can support a monthly rent of $1696 at the 30% threshold. This represents 54% of the median rent.
The Boston market on the whole is not affordable.
This approach seems to be useful in making comparisons among communities. It also does not relieve our community of our responsibility to provide affordable housing. After all, median income is a statistic. There are thousands of people in our metro area who cannot afford the median rent and do not have access to adequate rental housing.
Written by Paul Dribin