Donate
Quarterly-Partner-Newsletter-November-2020-Q4

Guest post written by Kristen Tauber, Research Analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The views stated here are those of the author and are not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Introduction

Housing mobility programs, like the one administered by the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership, assist people in moving from disinvested neighborhoods to ones with more resources and opportunities. My coauthors, Dionissi Aliprantis and Hal Martin, and I study what features of housing mobility programs help combat racial segregation. We recently presented our findings at the first BRHP in Conversation event on October 26 to an audience of housing mobility practitioners, emerging housing mobility programs, and other members of the housing industry.

Residential segregation is one of the many roadblocks to racial equity in America, and public housing policy reaches some of the people most impacted by it.

We start by defining success in terms of the original goal of housing mobility programs: to improve racial equality.

This was the purpose of the Gautreaux Assisted Housing Program, the first mobility program that began in Chicago in 1976. Housing mobility programs since Gautreaux have evolved to focus on economic desegregation in cities. The difference between these programs is the inclusion of race as part of the eligibility criteria for participation.

Our work investigates four important choices practitioners make when designing housing mobility programs: 1. how to define an opportunity area, 2. what geographic scope the program should use, 3. who to support with a housing voucher, and 4. how much energy to devote toward tenant counseling and landlord outreach. We run simulations in order to examine how these decisions impact the success of a program in reducing residential segregation.

Defining an Opportunity Area

With the goal of helping families access areas with more resources, an HMP must decide how to identify the “opportunity” neighborhoods to which participants are encouraged to move. We define a neighborhood as a census tract. Opportunity neighborhoods have been identified through a variety of measures, including: neighborhood poverty rate (Wilson 1987), combinations of neighborhood observables such as neighborhood quality (Aliprantis and Richter 2020) or the Child Opportunity Index 2.0 (Noelke et al. 2020), and neighborhood outcomes as observed in the Opportunity Atlas (Chetty et al. 2020).

Neighborhood poverty, neighborhood quality, and the COI are highly correlated. Opportunity Atlas is much less correlated with these traditional measures. Aliprantis and Martin 2020 find that this could be because of changes in neighborhood observables over time or small sample sizes of children in neighborhoods. Opportunity neighborhoods are tracts ranked in the top 1/3 of the local area according to the chosen measure, and the precise tracts included will vary depending on the chosen measure.

Defining the geographic scope

Housing mobility programs often focus on the central county of a metropolitan area (MSA) that contains the major city.  However, the most successful HMPs, including Gautreax and the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program, operate as regional partnerships that facilitate moves across counties.  We design our baseline simulation to use the MSA, which typically incudes multiple counties, as the set of potential neighborhoods. This increases the number of opportunity areas from which participants can choose.

Who to support with a housing voucher

All housing voucher programs target people who are low-income. However, by focusing on low-income people in the lowest-quality neighborhoods, practitioners can more effectively deconcentrate high-poverty areas. Our baseline simulation to improve racial equality targets low-income Black residents in the lowest-quality neighborhoods.

Housing supply

We constrain our housing supply to a fraction of the tract’s rental units with 2 or more bedrooms. We fill all available units up to 30 units so a maximum of 30 families are moved into each tract. From a policy perspective, it is important to remember that these families will likely move over the course of a decade or two.  HMPs can and should be designed to have very low impacts in opportunity areas. A program of this size increases the total population of residents living in an MSA’s opportunity neighborhoods by around 1 percent. Thus, these programs can lead to improvements in racial equality without reconcentrating voucher holders in receiving neighborhoods.

Results

Our baseline simulation reveals that the neighborhood opportunity measure is not a critical design choice for HMPs. Regardless of the index used, we see improvements of similar magnitudes to racial equality.

Geographic scope turned out to be much more important. Housing mobility programs that allow residents to move anywhere within an MSA have greater impacts on reducing racial segregation than those that restrict residents to a central county.

Varying the eligibility criteria is very important. Focusing only on poor residents lead to virtually no improvements to racial equality. However, when we focus on poor residents in the lowest-opportunity neighborhoods, we find that cities with high concentrations of Black populations in low-quality neighborhoods still see significant improvements in racial equality. Cities with smaller Black populations experience improvements between the baseline model and the model that focuses only on poor residents.

Housing supply is also critical for the success of HMPs; removing the constraint results in large increases in racial equality.  Because we define housing supply in terms of a fixed fraction of a tract’s available rental units, this could be interpreted as showing the importance of tenant counseling and landlord outreach; two services that help increase housing supply.

Q&A

Our audience asked about housing supply and how to expand programs into areas surrounding the city where rental supply may not be as high. While we stressed the importance of having a regional mobility program, this question raises an important point: practitioners often face barriers to expanding the reach of their programs. The responses to this topic emphasized how important counseling and landlord outreach services are when exploring new neighborhoods. Additionally, legislation and practices at the local and national levels such as banning and enforcing source of income discrimination, small area fair market rents (SAFMRs), and changing zoning restrictions to allow for the creation of rental stocks would help housing mobility programs reach more areas.

We asked our audience members what factors they find to be the most important when designing successful housing mobility programs. All of our audience members emphasized the importance of counseling in these programs. Pre-counseling, post-counseling, and the continual availability of resources help families stabilize and form stronger connections to their new community.

Summary

There are three key take-aways from our research and discussion:

Housing mobility programs with race-based criteria would do the most to improve racial equality; however, race-conscious criteria, aimed at residents in the lowest ranked neighborhoods, could also improve racial equality in cities with highly-concentrated areas of poor Black residents.

Housing supply and regional scope are very important to the success of housing mobility programs. There are services and legislation that could reduce barriers to opportunity neighborhoods.

Ongoing services provided by the housing mobility programs such as counseling and landlord outreach are crucial for the stability and success of families who move.

Watch the BRHP in Conversation presentation:

This post summarizes research from the upcoming paper:

Aliprantis, D., H. Martin, and K. Tauber (2020). What determines the success of housing mobility programs? Mimeo., FRB of Cleveland.

Citations:

Aliprantis, D. and F. G.-C. Richter (2020). Evidence of neighborhood effects from Moving to Opportunity: LATEs of neighborhood quality. The Review of Economics and Statistics 102(4), 633-647.

Chetty, R., J. N. Friedman, N. Hendren, M. R. Jones, and S. R. Porter (2020). The Opportunity Atlas: Mapping the childhood roots of social mobility. Mimeo., Opportunity Insights.

Noelke, C., N. McArdle, M. Baek, N. Huntington, R. Huber, E. Hardy, and D. Acevedo-Garcia (2020). Child Opportunity Index 2.0 Technical Documentation. Brandeis University. Retrieved from diversitydatakids.org/researchlibrary/research-briefhow-we-built-it.

Wilson, W. J. (1987). The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy. University of Chicago.

###

In September, BRHP and the Y in Central Maryland (the Y) launched a collaboration that has provided access to academic support at the Y Academic Support Centers at no cost to students of families receiving rental assistance from the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program throughout the region. The Y Academic Support Centers, which provide in-person educational support to students in over 25 schools and select Y centers across Central Maryland, allow parents to drop off their children to participate in their school’s virtual learning program and receive in-person academic support from Y associates.

The collaboration between the organizations comes at a time when more than 400,000 Marylanders lack access to broadband internet, and students are required to participate in remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The collaboration has served students of the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County and will continue to serve additional families on a rolling basis.

“The disparities we are witnessing in access to digital learning tools among marginalized communities are only widening during this public health crisis, with many students finding difficulty participating in their remote education,” said Adria Crutchfield, executive director of BRHP. “We are delighted to partner with The Y to bridge this resource gap for families, many of which are made up of parents who are essential workers. Those parents cannot be home to provide the valuable guidance and oversight to their kids needing assistance with online learning, and this partnership allows those students the opportunity to participate fully and succeed in their remote education.”

The Y allows students to participate at any Y Academic Support Center, regardless of where they live or where they attend school. The centers are available for single full days, weekly full days, and weekly half days. Students benefit from a safe structured environment where they can focus on their schoolwork, complete their assignments, and get help from Y associates. The program is for students ages 5-12.

“We are so appreciative of the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership. They are enabling a vitally important service for families which allows parents to work with peace of mind as their children receive safe, in-person support to successfully complete virtual schoolwork. It’s an excellent partnership and we are grateful for their leadership,” said John Hoey, president and CEO of the Y in Central Maryland.

For more information on how BRHP clients can access Y Academic Support Centers, email BRHP’s managing director of program administration, Sheila Proano, at sproano@brhp.org.  

For more information on the Y Academic Support Centers:  https://ymaryland.org/programs/academicsupportcenters

###

For Immediate Release: Friday, October 9, 2020
Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership Contact: Tiffani Long, tlong@brhp.org, 667-207-2154
National Press Contact: Alex Edwards, edwards@tcf.org, 810-986-0880

The first-of-its-kind collaboration connects 56 school and housing groups from 21 states, covering 3.5 million children; Represents the most significant grassroots effort focused on school integration in decades 

Baltimore, MD – The Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership (BRHP) announced today that it was selected to join the inaugural cohort of The Bridges Collaborative, a first-of-its kind grassroots initiative to advance racial and socioeconomic integration and equity in America’s schools. The Bridges Collaborative, which officially launches this week, is coordinated by The Century Foundation (TCF), a national think tank that has helped steer the conversation on school integration for decades. 

The collaborative is unique in the world of K-12 education for its size, diversity, and mission. BRHP is joining 55 other organizations—including 27 school districts, 17 charter schools, and 12 housing organizations—which together represent more than 3.5 million children nationwide. Together, the collaborative spans more than 20 states and includes representatives from three of the five largest school districts in the country, along with other organizations of varying size, geographies, and student demographics. Other members of the cohort from Maryland include City Neighbors, Howard County Public Schools, and Montgomery County Public Schools.

Through its Baltimore Housing Mobility Program, which couples rental assistance and counseling services, BRHP expands housing, educational, and employment options for families with low incomes, who have historically been excluded from residing in well-resourced neighborhoods. BRHP currently serves over 4,300 families and approximately 8,000 children across the Baltimore region.  

“All children deserve the opportunity to attend a school that is diverse and inclusive, rigorous and innovative, and adequately and equitably funded. At BRHP, we know this pathway to opportunity begins with access to quality housing and resource-rich communities, and we are thrilled to be joining this impressive group of organizations to make this a reality for more children,” said Adria Crutchfield, executive director of BRHP. “In Baltimore, and across the country, we are witnessing a widening school resource divide among marginalized communities, making this school year particularly challenging for many students who don’t have the resources they need to participate in their education remotely. We look forward to collaborating with other housing providers and school leaders to seek and share solutions to these barriers and ensure all of our children have the opportunity to reach their highest potential.”

This unprecedented effort comes at a pivotal moment for the cause of school integration. Research has repeatedly demonstrated the myriad positive benefits for students who attend diverse and integrated schools, including higher test scores, higher graduation rates, and a host of positive social and civic outcomes. Despite the clear benefits, however, progress on integration has been extremely limited in recent decades—although those trends are beginning to change, especially with growing awareness on the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on students and schools.

Over the next two years, the collaborative will serve as a hub for practitioners from across the country, providing school and housing leaders the opportunity to learn from one another, build grassroots momentum, and develop successful approaches for integration. The initiative is led by Stefan Louis Lallinger, who most recently served as a Special Assistant to the Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education and is a former school principal in New Orleans. Lallinger’s grandfather, Louis Redding, was a lawyer who argued the landmark school desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education, before the Supreme Court in 1954.

“Never before has there been an organization like the Bridges Collaborative. The sheer breadth and depth of knowledge and experience represented by the 56 groups in this cohort sends a clear message: we will deliver the high-quality, integrated school experience that the next generation deserves,” said Stefan Lallinger, Director of the Bridges Collaborative at TCF. “COVID-19 and the racial reckoning we’re experiencing underscore that the fight for racial and economic justice is far from over. To have any shot at winning that fight, we must first tackle the rampant inequities and segregation in our nation’s education system. That’s exactly what the Bridges Collaborative was built for.” 

For more background, see the following resources:

A full list of the inaugural members of the Bridges Collaborative is below. 

Inaugural Members of Bridges Collaborative (56 total

Arizona

  • Tucson Unified School District

California

  • Citizens of the World Charter School
  • City Charter Schools
  • High Tech High
  • Larchmont Charter
  • Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Oakland Unified School District
  • Yu Ming Charter Schools

Colorado

  • Colorado Springs School District 11
  • DSST Public Schools
  • Roaring Fork School District

Connecticut

  • Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) 
  • ELM City Communities (The Housing Authority of the City of New Haven)
  • New Haven Housing Authority (Elm City)
  • Elm City Montessori
  • Hamden School District
  • Hartford Public Schools
  • New Haven Public Schools

Florida

  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools – School Choice and Parental Options Office

Illinois

  • Housing Choice Partners

Indiana

  • Enroll Indy

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maryland

Massachusetts

Minnesota

Missouri

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

Texas

Virginia

Wisconsin

###

The Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership joins the nation in mourning the loss of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a pioneer, legal icon, and fervent leader who dedicated her life to fighting for and upholding the rights of all Americans.

In the face of insurmountable odds throughout her life, Justice Ginsburg overcame and persevered each step of the way as an advocate for justice and equality. Long before being appointed and serving nearly 30 years on the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg successfully and notoriously argued cases that expanded protections for women nationwide as the founder and general counsel of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project and professor at Columbia Law School.

As only the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg became a steadfast voice in support of rights for marginalized groups, including gender equality, racial equality, marriage equality, disability rights, immigrant rights, and more.

Our country is better, because of Justice Ginsburg’s lifetime of public service and we at BRHP are inspired to continue her legacy of building stronger, freer and inclusive communities for all.

We send our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Justice Ginsburg.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a temporary national moratorium on most evictions for nonpayment of rent effective Sept. 4 through the end of the year. The long-awaited federal intervention comes at a time when 30-40 million Americans could be at risk of eviction by the end of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of the moratorium is to stem the spread of COVID-19 by protecting millions of renters from homelessness.

How the moratorium works

If a tenant is facing eviction and wants to invoke the CDC’s order, they must provide an executed copy of the declaration form under penalty of perjury, to their landlord, certifying the following qualifications:



The declaration also says that the tenant understands that they will still have to pay rent and fees, and comply with their lease. The unpaid rent may be required by the housing provider in full once the temporary eviction moratorium expires on December 31, 2020.

Who does the moratorium cover?



Read the moratorium here and get a copy of the declaration here. If you are a BRHP participant and fear eviction, please contact your assigned counselor or reach any BRHP counselor at our hotline at 667-207-2100 from Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Check out this informative FAQ on the moratorium from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Despite the temporary relief the moratorium provides, it does not include emergency rental assistance, so it only delays evictions. Rental assistance, like what we provide through the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program, would provide long-term stability for both renters and landlords nationwide. As such, we continue to call on Congress to approve emergency rental assistance in the next COVID-19 relief bill.

Quarterly-Partner-Newsletter-August-2020-1

On July 22, BRHP Executive Director Adria Crutchfield had the opportunity to share the work and impact of BRHP on Elevate Maryland Podcast with hosts Tom Coale and Candace Dodson-Reed. The episode delves into the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the urgency of expanding the Housing Choice Voucher Program, how to elevate Maryland, and more. Listen to the episode here and watch it on our YouTube channel below. Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

Stay Updated

Join our mailing list to stay informed on how we're creating pathways to opportunity.