This article examines the heightened and uncertain cost of servicing delinquent mortgage loans as a major contributor to the current excessively tight credit box. This is an update to the December 16, 2014 brief “Servicing Is an Underappreciated Constraint on Credit Access.” While the Federal Housing Finance Agency has made great strides in lowering the costs and reducing uncertainty for lenders, some further refinements are

February 9, 2016
Journal Article
 

For decades, policymakers have struggled to address the challenges of financing long-term services and supports, with little success. To better understand new insurance-based alternatives and their effects on people age 65 and older, we analyze several proposals, including mandatory and voluntary options. Although none of these new plans is ideal, each would be an improvement over today’s ineffective financing system, which

February 8, 2016
Brief
 

Medicaid pays for much of the care received at home and in nursing homes by older adults with health problems who need long-term services and supports (LTSS). New LTSS insurance programs with dedicated premiums or taxes would prefund at least some LTSS expenditures and reduce spending by Medicaid, which is financed through general tax revenues and strains government budgets. New insurance programs could also provide older adults

February 8, 2016
Brief
 

This paper assesses the effects of past Medicaid eligibility expansions to parents (1997-2009) using data from the National Health Interview Survey, and considers implications for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion. We find that expanding Medicaid eligibility increases insurance coverage, reduces unmet needs due to cost and OOP spending, and improves mental health status among low-income parents. Moreover, our

February 5, 2016
Journal Article
 

Recent proposals for reforming the current system of education tax credits and deductions take the constructive approach of seeking improvement in a system many would prefer to eliminate. Detailed proposals reviewed for the Strengthening Federal Student Aid report agree that the existing system is too complicated, and most suggest consolidating the credits and deductions into one credit. All proposals that address income

February 3, 2016
Brief
 

Amid concerns about student debt and default, many experts are calling for an income-driven student loan repayment system that will better protect students and significantly reduce defaults. Our review of detailed proposals related to income-driven repayment in the Strengthening Federal Student Aid report reveals how alternative designs would lead to different outcomes for borrowers and for taxpayers, suggesting some important

February 3, 2016
Brief
 

Reviewing proposals for improving the complex array of federal student aid programs, we find agreement on some broad policy directions but considerable differences of opinion about the details. Many advocates support automatically placing student borrowers into income-driven repayment plans, which set payments at some percentage of discretionary income. And virtually no one argues against consolidating tuition tax credits and

February 3, 2016
Research Report
 

Forward Cities is a cross-city learning collaborative that fosters inclusive innovation and entrepreneurial development in Cleveland, Detroit, Durham, and New Orleans. In the first stage of the two-year initiative, community leaders identified focus neighborhoods, or corridors, to direct and coordinate resources to increase entrepreneurship. Through Forward Cities, participants increased their focus on supporting minority

February 2, 2016
Research Report
 

In rapidly urbanizing developing countries, the prevalence large-scale informality within urban economies increases social vulnerabilities, stifles worker productivity and dampens regional economic growth. With the prospect of better jobs attracting millions into cities each year, rising urban poverty levels are encouraging international nonprofits to allocate greater resources toward urban programs. Our fieldwork in Pakistan

January 29, 2016
Research Report
 

This brief explores the self-reported health of residents living in neighborhoods served by the first five Choice Neighborhoods implementation grantees. We examine health of residents living in the five target developments and residents living within the five Choice boundaries (“surrounding neighborhood”) during the baseline survey. It lays the groundwork for understanding how redevelopment may affect the health of target

January 28, 2016
Brief
 

This report examines recent wildfires in the United States, summarizing their frequency, trends, and costs. It documents the increase in large wildfires and shows their concentration in western states. Cost and budget issues linked to wildfires are also examined. The report recommends ways to reduce the frequency and costs of wildfires along with measures to enhance the resilience of local communities to wildfires. Also noted is

January 28, 2016
Research Report
 

501(c)(4) “social welfare” organizations are the second-most common type of nonprofit organization registered with the Internal Revenue Service. They are also the legal home of some of the most powerful political interest groups in the country. In 2013, the US Treasury Department proposed regulations that attempted to clarify the rules governing 501(c)(4) political activity. In light of such attention and the still-looming

January 28, 2016
Research Report
 

This brief describes the well-being of children and families living in the five Choice Neighborhoods. It explores how families in the target developments used services provided at the time of the baseline survey. Services include home-based infant and parenting services, early childhood education, and programs addressing educational and health challenges for parents and children. The brief lays the groundwork to understand how

January 28, 2016
Brief
 

The failure of several co-ops and United Healthcare’s announcement that it is losing money on marketplace plans and is considering withdrawing from many or all marketplaces in 2017 have raised some concerns. However, the marketplace experience of co-ops and United indicate that they have not been major players in many areas and their exits will not be overly disruptive. Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers, Medicaid insurers, and

January 27, 2016
Brief
 

In House v. Burwell, the House of Representatives claims that the cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) paid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to low-income enrollees (incomes below 250 percent of the federal poverty level) in Marketplace coverage were inappropriate because Congress had not specifically appropriated funds for them. We estimate the ramifications of eliminating federal reimbursement of CSRs using the Urban Institute’s

January 26, 2016
Brief
 

The Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections is a nine-person, bipartisan, blue-ribbon panel created by Congress to examine challenges in the federal corrections system and develop practical, data-driven solutions. Informed by over a year of fact-finding, rigorous data analysis, and testimony from and discussions with key experts and stakeholders, the independent Task Force’s recommendations to the US Congress, the

January 26, 2016
Research Report
 

The January 2016 edition of At A Glance, the Housing Finance Policy Center's reference guide for mortgage and housing market data, includes figures describing agency issuance activities in 2015, updated origination forecasts from the government-sponsored enterprises and Mortgage Bankers Association, and the latest measures of credit availability nationally and by metropolitan area.

January 21, 2016
Research Report
 

This brief summarizes findings from two reports focusing on preschool participation among low-income children and low-income children of immigrants in Silicon Valley. The first report is a demographic analysis of preschool enrollment for low-income children in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties and explores the relevant characteristics of these children and families. Among other important findings, it highlights the high

January 21, 2016
Brief
 

This report explores the barriers to preschool participation faced by low-income immigrant families in Silicon Valley. Findings emerge from interviews and meetings with experts and stakeholders from early childhood and immigrant-serving organizations in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, and from a systematic review of existing reports and data. Several of the identified barriers are common among low-income families broadly,

January 21, 2016
Research Report
 

This report describes the unique preschool participation patterns and demographic characteristics of low-income families in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, focusing on characteristics that could help identify which barriers most often prevent preschool participation. In addition, we examine the geographic distribution of preschool enrollment, focusing on areas with the lowest preschool participation. This report is one of

January 21, 2016
Research Report
 

In 2015, Urban conducted case studies examining health care stewardship in five states: Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, and Vermont. Stewardship demands active pursuit by governments of systemwide improvements, beyond typical public health and purchasing roles. This means developing a strategic framework for a health policy that reaches all citizens, building support among stakeholders, regulating and monitoring health care

January 20, 2016
Brief
 

In 2015, Urban conducted case studies examining health care stewardship in five states: Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, and Vermont. Stewardship demands active pursuit by governments of systemwide improvements, beyond typical public health and purchasing roles. This means developing a strategic framework for a health policy that reaches all citizens, building support among stakeholders, regulating and monitoring health care

January 20, 2016
Brief
 

In 2015, Urban conducted case studies examining health care stewardship in five states: Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, and Vermont. Stewardship demands active pursuit by governments of systemwide improvements, beyond typical public health and purchasing roles. This means developing a strategic framework for a health policy that reaches all citizens, building support among stakeholders, regulating and monitoring health care

January 20, 2016
Brief
 

In 2015, Urban conducted case studies examining health care stewardship in five states: Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, and Vermont. Stewardship demands active pursuit by governments of systemwide improvements, beyond typical public health and purchasing roles. This means developing a strategic framework for a health policy that reaches all citizens, building support among stakeholders, regulating and monitoring health care

January 20, 2016
Brief
 

In 2015, Urban conducted case studies examining health care stewardship in five states: Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, and Vermont. Stewardship demands active pursuit by governments of systemwide improvements, beyond typical public health and purchasing roles. This means developing a strategic framework for a health policy that reaches all citizens, building support among stakeholders, regulating and monitoring health care

January 20, 2016
Brief