Urban Institute researchers monitor and assess housing market trends, affordable housing, homelessness, federal housing assistance, racial disparities and housing discrimination, and community revitalization. We recommended greater regulation and reforms for subprime mortgages before the housing market collapse and continue to follow its effects on families and neighborhoods. Our research informs decisionmakers with neighborhood-level data and evaluations of federal housing programs. Read more.
To assess whether federal housing assistance can encourage asset building and self-sufficiency, we need to know why families leave housing assistance and how they fare on their own. As a group, housing assistance leavers appear to be doing better than those still in public housing or receiving rent subsidies; they have higher incomes, are more likely to be married, and live in lower-poverty, safer communities. Dividing the unassisted highlights how those leaving assistance for negative reasons are worse off and how those leaving for positive reasons are struggling. Such findings suggest the need for targeted approaches to support both groups.
The September edition of At A Glance, HFPC’s reference guide for mortgage and housing market data, includes updated indicators related to non-agency securitization, regional affordability and access to credit, and the latest GSE risk-sharing deals.
States and non-profit organizations have used three approaches to successfully integrate enrollment and retention of health and human services programs:
1. Streamlining one program's eligibility determination based on data from other programs. This approach has helped uninsured children receive and retain health coverage, helped low-income seniors obtain SNAP, and produced state administrative savings.
2. Coordinated administration of multiple programs. Administrative savings resulted when multiple programs integrated their systems for case records, data matching, eligibility rules engines, on-line applications, and benefit payment.
3. Coordinating enrollment. Community colleges exemplify sites for enrolling consumers into multiple health and human services at once.
Human services programs can benefit from 90 percent federal funding for information technology investments that are complete by the end of 2015 and that: 1) build a service that helps both Medicaid and human services; or 2) build an interface that helps Medicaid use human services records to verify eligibility or "fast track" enrollment. Once the Affordable Care Act is fully phased in, Medicaid will be the country's most widely-used need-based program. Human services programs can use Medicaid records to streamline eligibility determination, despite limits on information sharing and differences between Medicaid and human services program rules, including household definitions.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency has proposed a thoughtful path to creating a single security for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, using the Common Securitization infrastructure, in its August Request for Input. While the proposal would benefit from a more definitive time frame, its many strong provisions make it likely to succeed and benefit taxpayers, borrowers and lenders. A key strength of the proposal is the structural provisions – which ensure that the securities backed by both entities will trade equivalently, ending the costly subsidies Freddie has been forced to pay to stay competitive. Ultimately, moving toward this single security should make the market more responsive to borrower and lender needs, boost competition, increase the availability of mortgage credit and potentially help pave the way for GSE reform.