PROJECTHabitat for Humanity Cost of Home

In 2019, Habitat for Humanity International (Habitat) launched the Cost of Home campaign, a five-year advocacy effort to support access to affordable homes for 10 million people. Local and state Habitat organizations around the US have reported over 300 policy achievements that establish and implement policies and programs aligned with the goals of the Cost of Home campaign. These policy achievements fall into four broad categories:

  1. increasing the supply and preservation of affordable homes
  2. equitably increasing access to credit
  3. optimizing land use for affordable homes
  4. ensuring access to and development of communities of opportunity

The Urban Institute assessed elements of the Cost of Home campaign through deep dives into selected policies and built a typology of the full set of policy achievements.

Policy Assessment

The Urban Institute report Local and State Policies to Improve Access to Affordable Housing examines eight policies supported by the Cost of Home campaign. For each of these policies, the research team developed theories of change and examined the extent to which the policy achieves its stated goals or has the potential to do so. For our research, we interviewed local and state Habitat organizations, stakeholders, and policymakers and analyzed program and housing data. In this report, we discuss the promising initial outcomes and valuable insights that can inform the implementation of these policies in the locales studied and beyond.

Typology OF POLICY Achievements

The research team developed a comprehensive typology of the policy achievements the Cost of Home campaign has supported, which involved categorizing each policy and analyzing the intersections of various policy elements. The brief “Developing a Typology of Housing Policies” provides a detailed account of how we constructed this typology and describes the scope, mechanisms, location, and intended outcomes of the policies.

For those interested in delving deeper into this typology, we have made the list of policies accessible through Urban’s Data Catalog.

Other Work

The research team developed a human-centered narrative approach to illustrate how the Cost of Home campaign has delivered change to local and state Habitat organizations, other local advocates, stakeholders, and community residents. For this work, we produced a memo for Habitat summarizing our interviews with Habitat organizations and stakeholders and offering seven key takeaways.

Research Areas Greater DC
Cities Akron, OH Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX Raleigh-Cary, NC Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
Tags Campaigns, proposals, and reforms Community and economic development Community development finance and CDFIs Design and construction quality Economic well-being Equitable development Evictions Fair housing and housing discrimination Homelessness Homeownership Housing affordability Housing and the economy Housing finance reform Housing markets Housing stability Infrastructure Land use and zoning Multifamily housing Racial barriers to housing Racial homeownership gap Racial inequities in economic mobility Racial inequities in neighborhoods and community development Rental housing
Policy Centers Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center Research to Action Lab Office of Race and Equity Research Housing Finance Policy Center