Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), or secondary housing units on residential lots, have the potential to increase housing supply in single-family neighborhoods without drastically altering the character of those neighborhoods. ADUs can also provide a wealth-building opportunity for cost-burdened homeowners. However, while many cities have enacted laws allowing for ADU construction, some common regulations

November 25, 2020
Research Report
 

The November 2020 edition of At a Glance, the Housing Finance Policy Center’s reference guide for mortgage and housing market data, includes updated figures describing the cash-out refinance share, effective guarantee fees charged on new acquisitions, loans in serious delinquency, and mortgage insurance activities.

November 24, 2020
Research Report
 

Federal student loans help many college students access and complete postsecondary degrees that would not have been attainable otherwise. But years of well-intentioned policymaking have left the student loan system a complicated mess that is difficult for borrowers to navigate and leads to unfair and inefficient distributions of taxpayer dollars. Significant structural changes are needed for the program to

November 24, 2020
Brief
 

Homeownership is the primary contributor to wealth building for Black households and continues to hold promise for building multigenerational wealth and housing stability for households of color. However, wealth is not accruing equitably to Black homeowners due to a long history of structural barriers and added costs. Households with little to no wealth are far more vulnerable during economic cycles, and the

November 23, 2020
Research Report
 

Government agencies want to operate efficient and effective services. Agency staff often understand the importance of learning and improvement to increase their services’ value for taxpayers, improve communities, reduce waste, fix problems, support families, and many other essential functions. Even when staff want to improve their results, it can be difficult to figure out where to focus, and especially how to

November 23, 2020
Brief
 

This resource outlines a menu of actionable strategies for local leaders for workforce-related recovery efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding recession. These strategies focus on evidence-based interventions and approaches which promote inclusive recovery. We categorize these strategies by goal, type of action, and phase of pandemic reopening so local leaders can choose options best

November 18, 2020
Research Report
 

Housing is a foundation for economic mobility and opportunity, but many Americans struggle to afford a place to live. And racist policies and practices—historical and ongoing—have created entrenched inequities in access to homeownership, housing quality, and resource-rich neighborhoods. The COVID-19 pandemic has made these problems worse. Record levels of job losses, tightening credit markets, and a growing risk

November 18, 2020
Research Report
 

Governors in most states have executive clemency authority that allows them to change the terms of someone’s criminal justice system involvement, including by issuing pardons or by granting commutations to adjust the sentences of people in prison. Though many clemency deliberations are independent case-by-case assessments, in some cases, governors can also extend clemency eligibility categorically to groups of

November 18, 2020
Research Report
 

This report presents updated figures in 2020 dollars for the lifetime benefits earned and the lifetime taxes paid by hypothetical workers participating in Social Security and Medicare. For a single male earning average wages every year and retiring in 2020 at age 65, lifetime Social Security and Medicare benefits would equal about $570,000 and, for a couple with average and low wages, about $1,113,000. Those

November 17, 2020
Research Report
 

The effects of where people live, and the social determinants of health are under-recognized and under-appreciated in our national response to effectively treat and prevent Alzheimer’s. To better understand these issues, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s and the Urban Institute analyzed the social determinants of health present in the counties most impacted by Alzheimer’s among Latinos and Blacks in the Medicare program.

November 17, 2020
Research Report
 

Communities cannot end homelessness among veterans if more veterans enter homelessness (“inflow”) than exit into housing (“outflow”). The Built for Zero initiative is guided by a desire to help communities create a lasting end to homelessness, which requires expanding the collective approach to homelessness beyond crisis interventions applied after someone becomes homeless. Four Built for Zero communities were

November 16, 2020
Research Report
 

Between July 2018 and June 2019, we worked with local program partners in New York City to conduct a mixed methods evaluation of a domestic violence pilot program in Queens, designed to improve the borough’s response to domestic violence. Generally, we found that the program made substantial progress in its first 16 months, connecting 101 participants to services. However, it can be refined in certain ways. In

November 16, 2020
Brief
 

The Affordable Care Act requires private nongroup insurers to cover 10 essential health benefits in each plan they offer. The law requires these benefits be provided to ensure that enrollees have adequate coverage for medically necessary services. Plus, the law prohibits insurers from placing annual or lifetime limits on this array of required benefits. Prior to the implementation of the requirements in 2014, it

November 16, 2020
Brief
 

Despite the media’s focus on the challenges of telecommuting parents, 42 million parents in the US—including the vast majority of those with low incomes—have not had an adult in their household move to telework during the COVID-19 pandemic. These parents can face challenging tradeoffs between working to support their family, protecting their family from COVID-19, and ensuring their children have the care and

November 16, 2020
Fact Sheet
 

In February 2016, the City and County of Denver and eight private investors closed on the city’s first social impact bond, an $8.6 million investment to fund a supportive housing program for 250 of the city’s most frequent users of the criminal justice system. The city will make outcome payments over five years based on the initiative’s goals of housing stability and a decrease in days spent in jail by

November 13, 2020
Brief
 

Agriculture is crucial for Africa’s development and there is wide consensus that inclusive agricultural transformations are needed across the continent. However, progress has not kept pace with ambition. Even when governments design and approve policies based on the best available evidence, they often struggle to implement them. To help policymakers, donors, and other stakeholders identify, understand, and

November 11, 2020
Research Report
 

NOTE: This is a corrected version of the analysis originally published October 29, 2020. The Tax Policy Center (TPC) has analyzed the macroeconomic effects of former vice president Joe Biden’s tax proposals. We find the tax proposals would boost US gross domestic product (GDP) 0.2 percent in 2021, reduce GDP 0.3 percent in 2030, and increase GDP by small but rising amounts by 2040 and beyond. The resulting net

November 10, 2020
Brief
 

The US Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments on California v. Texas on November 10, 2020. The plaintiffs in this case seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a major piece of legislation that extended subsidized health insurance coverage and introduced new consumer protections like the elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions to millions of people across the country. In this brief, we

November 9, 2020
Brief
 

This fact sheet, using data from the Urban Institute’s Coronavirus Tracking Survey, finds 3.1 million adults lost employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) between March/April and September 2020 – but these losses were not matched by a corresponding increase in uninsurance. The public and private health insurance coverage options bolstered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are mitigating the impact of ESI losses

November 9, 2020
Fact Sheet
 

Police body-worn cameras (BWCs) can help improve transparency, accountability, and policing behaviors. This study extends prior BWC research by using a panel analysis design with a measure of treatment duration to examine how the effects of BWCs change over time. Using data from the Milwaukee Police Department (n = 1,009), we propose and test two competing hypotheses: the program maturity hypothesis suggests

November 6, 2020
Journal Article
 

Every government health program should operate under the same budget constraint that applies to other government programs. Failure to do so represents bad budgeting and economic, social, and health policy; redistributes income in perverse ways; and makes health care allocation extremely inefficient. No excuses for this failure to act—largely centered on fear of creating losers, distrust of all decisionmakers,

November 6, 2020
Brief
 

NOTE: This is a corrected version of the analysis originally published October 15, 2020. This brief updates estimates of the revenue and distributional effects of former vice president Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign tax proposals. Biden’s spending proposals would also have important distributional and economic effects, but we have not estimated their cost and distributional effects. Our modeling assumptions are

November 6, 2020
Brief
 

COVID-19 is one of the greatest health crises of our time. In April of this year, data began to reveal an alarming trend: Black families and other families of color face a much higher risk of contracting and dying from the virus. Public officials have focused on the underlying health issues disproportionately affecting these communities, such as diabetes and hypertension, as contributors to the larger impact of

November 5, 2020
Testimony
 

A growing number of US cities are organizing common application systems for families seeking free public preschool for their children, and many use the deferred acceptance (DA) algorithm to assign students to schools that receive more applications than they have seats. In this report, we examine the steps taken to use a common application system and centralized lottery within the District of Columbia’s public

October 30, 2020
Research Report
 

In response to unsheltered homelessness, communities often turn to punitive responses: issuing ordinances that criminalize homelessness, clearing homeless encampments, and arresting people. This results in people becoming trapped in a cycle of homelessness and jail. The solution to this cycle is Housing First, an evidence-based strategy that has been proven to help people stay in housing and improve their

October 30, 2020
Research Report