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.
If you have gotten a mortgage lately, the odds are good that it is backed by taxpayers. Indeed, the government supports nearly nine out of 10 loans made today. Few think this is a good situation, but addressing it will be more difficult than simply getting the government out of the way, as many assume.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has created new opportunities for health and human services programs to integrate eligibility determination, enrollment, and retention. Using two large microsimulation models—the Transfer Income Model, Version 3, and the Health Insurance Policy Simulation Model—we find considerable overlaps between expanded eligibility for health coverage and current receipt of human services benefits, particularly with Earned Income Tax Credits, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. In an appendix, we identify specific data sharing strategies that seek to increase participation, lower administrative costs, and prevent errors.
This paper looks at alternative rental assistance programs that fall somewhere between HCVs and emergency assistance, a program that could target families with housing instability whose incomes are very low, but not extremely low. This would allow HCVs to serve extremely low income households, but offer alternative to waiting for emergency assistance. The paper begins with an overview of federal and local rental assistance programs and their incapacity to address the growing need for affordable housing. Then, it reviews the existing literature on alternative forms of rental assistance. Finally, it outlines the recommended components for a demonstration to rigorously test the impacts of one alternative assistance program: a flat, shallow subsidy. This paper is sponsored by the What Works Collaborative, a foundation-supported partnership that conducts timely research and analysis to help inform the implementation of an evidence-based housing and urban policy agenda. The What Works Collaborative has funded a handful of incubator projects that complete the first steps toward larger-scale research projects that can be funded in the future. The goal of this incubator project is to outline a proposed demonstration to test alternative rental assistance programs to help families afford housing and decrease residential instability.
The February 2014 edition of At A Glance, the Housing Finance Policy Center's monthly chartbook, provides timely metrics on the state of the housing market and the role of public policy in housing finance. This month’s issue includes a new series on loan product type composition over time, illustrating the prevalence of 30 year fixed-rate, 15 year fixed-rate, and adjustable-rate mortgages.
At year end 2013 the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act expired. Unless Congress extends it, debt on principal residences that has been forgiven or written down after 2013—through short sales, deeds-in-lieu, foreclosures or loan modifications will generally be treated as taxable income. We argue that the act is an important facilitator of principal-reduction modifications. Failure to renew is likely to generate little net revenue.