On September 1, 2015, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) proposed changes to the certifications that lenders make when submitting a loan for FHA insurance. The step is a much-needed attempt to better target the significant liability that lenders face for mistakes in loan files. The author discusses why the effort is important and what changes are needed for it to succeed.

September 3, 2015
Note
 

This mixed-methods multiyear (2010–14) study, the Illinois–New York Child Care Research Partnership Study: Phase 1, analyzed the experiences of a new cohort of child care subsidy clients residing in four sites in Illinois and New York. The study used longitudinal state administrative data from child care payment records in combination with newly collected telephone survey and qualitative interview data from subsidy clients to

August 31, 2015
Research Report
 

In July 2015, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) proposed a rule with far-reaching implications for servicing FHA loans [RIN 2502-AJ23], but it has received surprisingly little attention. The proposed rule would strictly limit the maximum period for filing insurance claims with the FHA. As reflected in this brief, we are concerned that this rule will negatively impact access to credit for prospective FHA borrowers

August 28, 2015
Brief
 

In the this report, we draw on the 2013 National Survey of Nonprofit-Government Contracts and Grants to examine the challenges inherent in nonprofit-government contract and grant administration process for California organizations. This study finds that California nonprofits widely report dissatisfaction with the complexity of reporting and application requirements; the limits on program and organizational overhead expenses,

August 27, 2015
Brief
 

Every year, the Urban Institute produces hundreds of reports, briefings, webcasts, and blog posts. In this publication, Urban’s State and Local Finance Initiative has brought together the latest evidence-based research, data, and solutions with direct relevance for analysts charged with crafting and deliberating over state budgets. Topics include: Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, criminal justice and corrections, social

August 21, 2015
Research Report
 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is revisiting its prohibition against unilaterally reducing the principal balance of loans, a practice known as principal reduction. This paper evaluates how many GSE borrowers would likely benefit from a principal reduction program today. We conclude that even with aggressive measures to improve take-up, the impact of any principal reduction program through the GSEs will likely be modest. The

August 18, 2015
Brief
 

We examine the relationships between housing subsidies, the mortgage interest and real estate tax deductions, and income inequality and find that housing subsidies to low-income families reduce income inequality while the mortgage interest and real estate tax deductions increase it. On net, the distribution of post-tax, post-transfer income is slightly more equal than it would be in the absence of these three programs.

August 18, 2015
Brief
 

This brief describes the opportunities to use housing as a platform for resident services, the challenges to coordinating services effectively in public and assisted housing, and the strategies and recommendations to ensure that service coordination is evidence based. It primarily highlights insights from the Urban Institute’s Housing Opportunity and Service’s Together (HOST) demonstration established in 2010 to test a whole-

August 13, 2015
Brief
 

This study examines the role of employers in the integration of immigrants with a focus on workplace practices. A review of the literature and interviews with key informants revealed integration practices employers are undertaking and uncovered the factors that foster and hinder the adoption of such practices. Immigrant-serving organizations, labor unions, and community colleges are instrumental in employers’ decisions to adopt

August 11, 2015
Research Report
 

Many major media outlets take as a given that the earnings of middle-class workers have not increased much for many years. The most commonly cited figure is the small 6 percent increase in median real hourly pay between 1979 and 2013. However, this paper finds that real median yearly compensation rose 38 percent over these years. This large discrepancy results from how data are examined in this paper: using yearly rather than

August 11, 2015
Research Report
 

With the Supreme Court deciding the King v. Burwell case in favor of the government, premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies for the purchase of private health insurance policies remain available to residents in all states, including those with federally facilitated health insurance marketplaces (FFMs). Now that this important issue is settled, policymakers can move forward to complete the implementation of the law and

August 11, 2015
Research Report
 

Using data from the Current Population Survey from 2000 to 2014, this report presents results from an evaluation of the effects of the ACA on the labor supply of nonelderly adults. Results indicate that neither the ACA as a whole, or the Medicaid expansions in particular, had any adverse effect on labor supply. For adults with a high school education or less, employment is 1.8 percentage points higher than what would be expected

August 6, 2015
Research Report
 

A new analysis shows that the 2014 increase in national health expenditures is mostly attributable to 10.6 million Americans gaining health coverage, not an increase in the price of health services or health care spending per insured American. The report, prepared by researchers at the Urban Institute with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, illustrates that without the recent Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage

August 5, 2015
Brief
 

Surveying senior hospital and health plan executives, we find that, contrary to common assumptions in the policy community, Medicare Advantage plans nominally pay hospitals only 100–105 percent of traditional Medicare rates and, in real economic terms, possibly less. Respondents broadly identified three primary reasons for near–payment equivalence: statutory and regulatory provisions that limit out-of-network payments to

August 1, 2015
Journal Article
 

The Urban Institute and partners Weber Shandwick and American Institutes for Research have developed a new collection of outreach and educational materials for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) called Living Well, to help Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) beneficiaries understand their preventive benefits. The toolkit is intended to help state and local agencies, health clinics and other

July 30, 2015
Research Report
 

A health insurance marketplace renewal process that accounts for both enrollee convenience and the changing value of financial assistance from year to year will likely play an important role in maintaining overall enrollment and long-term sustainability for state-based marketplaces. Through marketplace enrollment data and interviews with marketplace officials, insurer representatives and navigators, this paper examines how six

July 28, 2015
Research Report
 

Federal and state income taxes play an important role in providing income support for low-income households by administering refundable tax credits, such as the earned income tax credit (EITC). Using the Urban Institute’s Net Income Change Calculator (NICC), which provides state- and federal-level information on tax and transfer programs in 2008, I calculate the value of TANF and SNAP as well as state and federal income taxes

July 23, 2015
Research Report
 

Although the average income of older Americans has grown rapidly over recent decades, 6.5 million adults ages 65 and older—14 percent of the older population—do not have enough income to meet their needs. Older African Americans, Hispanics, people who did not complete high school, people with disabilities, and unmarried adults are especially likely to experience financial hardship. Older low-income adults receive most of their

July 22, 2015
Research Report
 

The Housing Finance Policy Center’s latest measure of the availability of mortgage credit, the Housing Credit Availability Index (HCAI), reveals that credit availability started to slowly increase from Q3 2013 to Q1 2015, after years of post-crisis credit tightening, moving from 4.6 percent of purchase loans that are likely to default to 5.7 percent. This loosening was sparked by GSE-backed and FHA, VA and RD loans. Significant

July 21, 2015
Brief
 

This paper examines the child care arrangements of mothers who work evenings, nights, or irregular schedules rather than regular daytime hours. Low-income working mothers in nonstandard schedules show greater use of any type of child care than low–income standard-schedule mothers and are more likely to use multiple child care arrangements. Partners are important sources of child care for mothers working nonstandard hours, and

July 16, 2015
Research Report
 

The recent reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) and the passage of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act provide a unique opportunity to support the child care needs of low-income parents who need education and training by strengthening each system’s approach to these families and by forging partnerships between the child care and workforce development systems. This brief documents opportunities and

July 16, 2015
Brief
 

The recent reauthorization of the Child Care Development Fund and passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) provide a unique opportunity to support the child care needs of low-income parents who need education and training by strengthening each system’s approach to these families and by forging partnerships between the workforce development and child care systems. This brief documents potential opportunities

July 16, 2015
Brief
 

Postsecondary education plays a vital role in generating opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to improve their prospects, and financial aid is critical to making this education accessible. Providing information early could help overcome the lack of awareness of financial aid, limited understanding of the system, and the tendency to overestimate the price of college. This study examines approaches to

July 16, 2015
Research Report