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Leah Hendey

Research Associate
Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center

Leah Hendey, a Research Associate at the Urban Institute, has focused on a range of policy issues including the foreclosure crisis, performance measurement, child care, child obesity, and city indicators. Projects that involve contextual analyses using city and metropolitan indicators have allowed her to develop an understanding of major national datasets including Census data, the American Communities Survey, BLS Local Area Unemployment Statistics, CDC Natality data, FBI Uniform Crime Reporting data, and Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Data. Recently, Ms. Hendey has conducted research on the subprime and foreclosure crisis, using foreclosure data from the District of Columbia and for the evaluation of the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program and completed survey and report on foreclosure prevention counseling organizations in the Washington, D.C. area. She is also gathering and providing content for a knowledge-sharing website of the spillover effects of the foreclosure crisis on families and neighborhoods. Through her work with the Making Connections Survey, sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, she co-authored a cross-site report on early care and education patterns. Additionally, she has produced cross-site regression analyses on the patterns of asset- and debt-holding for low-income families in Making Connections Neighborhoods and is working on a new study investigating how these families have fared since the recession began. Since 2007, Ms. Hendey has become involved in the Urban Institute's work with the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP); she is a member of its Executive Committee and managed a school readiness and early grade success initiative for eight NNIP sites.

Before joining the Urban Institute, Ms. Hendey was a research fellow for the Center for Research on Children in the US (CROCUS), where she contributed to the evaluation of the universal pre-kindergarten program in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She received her Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University.



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Housing Security in the Washington Region (Research Report)
Leah Hendey, Peter A. Tatian, Graham MacDonald

This study examines critical gaps in affordable housing across a range of income levels in the Washington, DC region. More permanent supportive housing is needed to reduce chronic homelessness. The lack of affordable apartments, particularly for extremely low income renters, contributed to the number of homeless people and resulted in over half of all renters paying over 30 percent of their income on housing costs. Low income homebuyers also faced challenges because of high prices. These findings can help local governments and philanthropy direct scarce public and private resources to address the region's affordable housing needs.

Posted to Web: July 15, 2014Publication Date: July 15, 2014

Putting Open Data to Work for Communities (Research Report)
Kathryn L.S. Pettit, Leah Hendey, Brianna Losoya, G. Thomas Kingsley

The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) is a network of local organizations that collect, organize, and use neighborhood data to tackle issues in their communities. As the movement for government transparency has spread at the local level, more NNIP partners are participating in the call for governments to release data and are using open data to provide information for decisionmaking and community engagement. Local NNIP partners and open data advocates have complementary strengths and should work together to more effectively advance open government data that benefits all residents.

Posted to Web: June 12, 2014Publication Date: June 12, 2014

Washington, DC Metropolitan Area Housing Monitor - First Quarter 2012 (Research Report)
Rebecca Grace, Leah Hendey, Peter A. Tatian, Simone Zhang

The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area Housing Monitor – First Quarter 2012 and its accompanying County Profiles are co-published quarterly by NeighborhoodInfo DC and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. The Monitor gives a snapshot of sales market trends. Sales volumes continue at levels lower than when the foreclosure crisis began. About 5,000 homes were sold in the first quarter of 2012, a decrease from the year before. The median sales price rose 4.3% in one year to $321,000. The average home stayed on the market 12 weeks, a small decrease from one year earlier.

Posted to Web: November 21, 2013Publication Date: September 16, 2013

Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area Housing Monitor - Second Quarter 2012 (Research Report)
Rebecca Grace, Leah Hendey, Peter A. Tatian, Simone Zhang

The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area Housing Monitor – Second Quarter 2012 and its accompanying County Profiles is a quarterly publication co-published by NeighborhoodInfo DC and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. The Monitor gives a snapshot of sales market trends. Almost 7,000 homes were sold in the second quarter of 2012, an increase from the year before. The median sales price rose 4.6% in one year to $371,000. The average home stayed on the market 8 weeks, a 15.9% decrease from one year earlier.

Posted to Web: November 21, 2013Publication Date: September 16, 2013

A Brief Look at the Early Implementation of Choice Neighborhoods (Research Report)
Rolf Pendall, Leah Hendey

The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, a signature program in the Obama Administration’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, aims to redevelop distressed assisted housing developments and improve their neighborhoods. This brief introduces the first five implementation sites—in Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Seattle—and the plans for rebuilding them. Ranging from a few blocks to over two square miles, the sites vary greatly in their challenges, programs, and key actors. All five are making progress in this new phase of federal housing and community development and are addressing the challenge of coordination in their ambitious attempts to build mixed-income neighborhoods.

Posted to Web: October 25, 2013Publication Date: October 25, 2013

Strengthening Local Capacity For Data-Driven Decisionmaking (Research Report)
G. Thomas Kingsley, Kathryn L.S. Pettit, Leah Hendey

The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership used strategic planning to examine its model in the context of 15 years of local partner experiences and dramatic changes in technology and policy approaches. The process reviewed the functions and institutional arrangements of local data intermediaries and reflected on the continued need for local expertise to help communities use data for decisionmaking. The network outlines its own agenda to expand the use of data to improve local programs and policies, including advocacy for the broader national support system for community information.

Posted to Web: August 14, 2013Publication Date: August 14, 2013

Weathering the Recession: The Financial Crisis and Family Wealth Changes in Low-Income Neighborhoods (Research Report)
Leah Hendey, Signe-Mary McKernan, Beadsie Woo

This report looks closely at what happened to assets, debts and home equity for families living in low-income neighborhoods during the Great Recession, using data from the longitudinal Making Connections Survey. We find that both average savings and debt amounts increased between 2005/06 and 2008/09, but asset and debt levels remained lower for vulnerable families, and low-income families disproportionally lost equity during the crisis. Yet even in 2008/09, home equity was substantial and an important component of wealth ($66,000, more than four times as much as families had in savings) for the nearly half of families who were homeowners.

Posted to Web: August 07, 2012Publication Date: August 07, 2012

Changes in Wealth of Low-Income Neighborhood Residents: A Local View of the Financial Crisis (Fact Sheet/Opportunity and Ownership Project)
Leah Hendey, Signe-Mary McKernan, Beadsie Woo

Using longitudinal Making Connections Survey data on 2,500 families in low-income neighborhoods, this fact sheet finds that access to credit and residents’ perceptions of their neighborhood are all related to wealth holdings, even after controlling for household characteristics. Residents who believed their neighborhood had shared values increased their total debt and equity from 2005/06 to 2008/09. High rates of subprime lending were associated with less saving and borrowing, perhaps signaling less access to credit. Our findings suggest that both household and place characteristics matter to wealth families accrue and illustrate the importance of paying attention to place and local conditions.

Posted to Web: August 07, 2012Publication Date: August 07, 2012

CityScape Symposium on Residential Mobility (Presentation)
G. Thomas Kingsley, Christopher Hayes, Leah Hendey, Susan J. Popkin, Brett Theodos

There is a growing recognition that the influence of residential mobility in shaping urban outcomes has been both seriously undervalued and badly understood. On April 26, Metro Center hosted an all-day symposium to begin to remedy these deficiencies. The day was devoted to the presentation and discussion of seven new papers by leading researchers in this field, with topics ranging from the varied nature of the moves that occur in low-income neighborhoods to their effects on spatial patterns and the well-being of families and neighborhoods.

Posted to Web: May 10, 2012Publication Date: May 10, 2012

Public Housing Transformation and Crime: Making the Case for Responsible Relocation (Research Report)
Susan J. Popkin, Michael J. Rich, Leah Hendey, Christopher Hayes, Joe Parilla

Our analysis indicates a complex relationship between public housing transformation and crime in Chicago and Atlanta, though the efforts led to small net decreases in crime over a study period where crime declined significantly. In neighborhoods with public housing demolition, crime rates fell substantially, while in destination neighborhoods for households relocated with vouchers, they did not fall as much as expected. On average, neighborhoods with a modest or high density of relocated households saw higher crime rates than areas without relocated households. These findings suggest a need for thoughtful relocation strategies that support both assisted residents and receiving communities.

Posted to Web: April 05, 2012Publication Date: March 31, 2012

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