Each year the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program provides $140 million for independent living services to assist youth as they age out of foster care and enter adulthood. Under this formula grant program, states are provided allocations and allowed to use up to 30 percent of program funds for room and board for youth ages 18 to 21 who have left care. This report describes how states are using these funds to provide housing assistance to these vulnerable youth and explores how the assistance provided through this program fits in with other sources of housing assistance available in the states examined.
Opponents of MID reform warn that reducing the deduction would undermine the value of owner-occupied homes and impede the recovery of the depressed housing market. The best available evidence predicts far less dire effects and suggests that some reforms could actually bolster the housing market recovery. However, the results are far from definitive. As debate continues, the Urban Institute plans to further explore behavioral and market changes, strengthening the evidence upon which policymakers can rely.
Despite the Great Recession and slow recovery, the American dream of working hard, saving more, and becoming wealthier than one's parents holds true for many. Unless you're under 40. Stagnant wages, diminishing job opportunities, and lost home values may be painting a vastly different future for Gen X and Gen Y. Today's political discussions often focus on preserving the wealth and benefits of older Americans and the baby boomers. Often lost in this debate is attention to younger generations whose wealth losses, or lack of long-term gains, have been even greater.
For more than a decade, the Urban Institute has been following the experiences of CHA families as they were relocated and their buildings were demolished and replaced with new, mixed-income housing. In this brief, the author distills a decade's worth of research and outlines lessons from this research that have important implications for cities across the nation grappling with how to improve their most troubled communities and provide decent, affordable housing for vulnerable families in an era of shrinking resources.
This brief provides an overview of the Urban Institute research on CHA families since 2001. It describes how most former residents now live in better housing in safer neighborhoods. Those who got intensive case management and supportive services through the Chicago Family Case Management Demonstration have significantly lower rates of depression, better physical health, and higher rates of employment. However, even with these gains, many adults struggle with extremely high rates of debilitating chronic illnesses that prevent them from finding full-time employment and many children still grapple with the fallout from growing up with chronic violence.
Chicago's Plan for Transformation improved housing quality for residents in our study; most reported living in extremely distressed units in 2001 but by 2011, just 25 percent reported such severe problems. Although their neighborhoods are still poor and racially segregated, they have higher rates of collective efficacy, less social disorder, and fewer signs of physical disorder. Many respondents are experiencing material hardship, including food insecurity and trouble paying bills and utilities. Voucher holders, in particular, are moving frequently with no perceptible improvement in housing or neighborhood quality. In fact, voucher holders report more housing problems than residents in public housing.
Demonstration participants, who were particularly vulnerable and hard to house in 2007, received intensive supportive services focused on improving family stability, mental health, and self-sufficiency. Our analysis finds significant gains in employment for working-age Demonstration participants living in traditional public housing (and subject to the CHA work requirement). In contrast, the health of Panel Study respondents—comparable CHA residents who did not receive intensive services— deteriorated steadily over the past decade. Despite these overall positive results, chronic disease remains a major challenge and mortality rates for these CHA residents are shockingly high.
Youth in our study who lived through CHA's Plan for Transformation remain in crisis. Many exhibit the short-term effects of growing up around violence, including high rates of criminal and delinquent behaviors. In 2011, fear and violence was affecting youth whose families had relocated with vouchers more than it was affecting those who had relocated to mixed-income or public housing. To manage their exposure to violence, some youth socially isolate themselves, or their families continue to seek refuge by moving. Still, some children are witnesses, victims, and perpetrators of violence as they leave their protective networks and enter new communities.
After more than a decade of physical and social transformation and $1 billion, the Chicago Housing Authority's singular Plan for Transformation offers valuable lessons for federal policymakers and local housing authorities trying to improve their most troubled neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for public housing residents, an Urban Institute research and policy synthesis explains.
Promise Neighborhoods is a place-based initiative intended to turn neighborhoods of concentrated poverty into neighborhoods of opportunity. They do this by providing high-quality schools along with a continuum of services spanning from early childhood through college and enhance family and community supports. The Promise Neighborhoods Initiative model has a strong commitment to results-based planning and improvement using real-time data. This guidance document recommends data collection strategies and data system structures to ensure Promise Neighborhoods can manage and produce measurable results. While this guidance document is written specifically for Promise Neighborhoods, these recommendations can be applied to other place-based initiatives.