Social Work Housing
by
Anna Maria Santiago
  • LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 July 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0140

Introduction

Beginning in the early 2000s the availability of affordable housing worsened in US cities and throughout the world as property values climbed and then fell precipitously with the collapse of global housing and financial markets, concurrent stagnation of wages, sharp increase in rents, and dwindling supply of housing units available to low-income households. The United Nations estimated that at the end of the first decade of the 21st century one in three people across the world lived in severely distressed housing conditions—a situation that is expected to worsen as urbanization rates continue to climb. In the United States approximately one-third of the population lives in neighborhoods deemed unsafe or in housing that is physically inadequate, overcrowded, or well beyond the ability of average families to afford. While the nature and magnitude of housing issues vary across developed, developing, and transitional societies, increasing income inequality between the rich and the poor; enduring patterns of residential segregation by race, ethnicity, or class; rising land and housing construction costs; and the lack of affordable housing are common concerns. Existing literature on housing focuses on seven major topics: methods and approaches to housing research and practice; economics and finance; environments; homelessness; community institutions; housing policy; and welfare and well-being. It draws on multiple disciplinary perspectives, including community psychology, demography, economics, geography, planning, political science, public policy, sociology, social welfare, and urban affairs. While focusing primarily on the literature about housing in the United States, this bibliography includes cross-national literature about housing policy and practice. More efficient provision of housing services, lower occupancy costs, expanded residential choice, and greater housing stability and security have been proposed as effective strategies to enhance household well-being and reduce the need for social welfare services.

General Overviews

Michelson and Van Vliet 2000 provides a comprehensive yet concise history of housing research and traces the evolution of housing policies and programs across different societal contexts (e.g., market systems, welfare states, socialist states). Von Hoffman, et al. 2006 offers the most complete review of scholarly theories and empirical research about the ways housing markets impact community. The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)—the agency mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities as well as adequate shelter for all people—is one of the premier sources of data offering timely, authoritative research on world housing conditions, housing trends, concerns, policies, and programs. UN-HABITAT has launched a multilingual series of Quick Guides for Policy Makers (United Nations Human Settlements Programme 2011, United Nations Human Settlements Programme and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific 2008) that provide comprehensive yet accessible overviews of region-specific issues and policies as well as practical case studies of programs and best practices to improve housing conditions in Africa and Asia. Kennett and Chan 2011 is an important contribution to the literature, as it underscores the unique and often deleterious experiences of housing processes and systems faced by women across the globe.

  • Kennett, Patricia, and Chan Kam Wah, eds. 2011. Women and housing: An international analysis. New York: Routledge.

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    This edited volume examines an understudied dimension in housing research: the gendered nature of housing processes and systems. Contributors from Europe, Asia, and the United States examine how current patterns of economic and social change shape women’s rights to housing, the changing housing needs of women, and enduring patterns of housing inequality and shelter poverty experienced by women.

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  • Michelson, William, and Willem Van Vliet. 2000. The sociology of housing. In The international handbook of sociology. Edited by Stella R. Quah and Arnaud Sales, 318–338. London: SAGE.

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    Provides historical and sociological perspectives on the contexts shaping housing research. Situates the development of key housing themes within historical contexts. Compares and contrasts the development of housing across capitalist, welfare, and socialist societies. Useful for classroom discussions of housing policies as well as for scholars and practitioners who wish to better understand the rationales behind specific housing policies.

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  • United Nations Human Settlements Programme. 1986–. Global report on human settlements. Nairobi, Kenya: United Nations Human Settlements Programme.

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    Biennial reports providing current assessment of global urban conditions and trends. Each report provides in-depth treatment of a salient urban issue; volumes have focused on sustainable communities and urban safety. With a compendium of statistics as well as illustrative case studies in each volume, scholars and policy makers will find these to be essential reference works.

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  • United Nations Human Settlements Programme. 2011. Housing the poor in African cities. 8 vols. Quick Guides for Policy Makers. Nairobi, Kenya: United Nations Human Settlements Programme.

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    UN-HABITAT has published eight quick guides to improve housing for the urban poor in Africa. A major highlight of these guides is the focus on local or region-specific recommendations as well as the use of case studies of best practices. These case studies are particularly useful for scholars and practitioners interested in utilizing culturally and geographically relevant strategies to improve housing conditions in urban Africa.

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  • United Nations Human Settlements Programme and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. 2008. Housing the poor in Asian cities. 7 vols. Quick Guides for Policy Makers. Nairobi, Kenya: United Nations Human Settlements Programme.

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    Responding to one of the key mandates of UN-HABITAT to improve access to and quality of housing for the urban poor in Asia, each guide is devoted to a primary theme (e.g., urbanization and housing policy), providing readers with an accessible and comprehensive assessment of regional trends and conditions, policies, and local or region-specific recommendations related to the theme.

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  • Von Hoffman, Alexander, Eric S. Belsky, and Kwan Lee. 2006. The impact of housing on community: A review of scholarly theories and empirical research. Cambridge, MA: Joint Center for Housing Studies, Graduate School of Design, and John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Univ.

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    A must-read for scholars, policy makers, and students interested in how housing markets and communities influence each other. Provides the most comprehensive review of the impacts of housing markets on residential segregation; neighborhood change and urban decline; uneven quality of public services; uneven access to opportunity structures; and distressed, concentrated poverty neighborhoods. Assesses public policy responses to each of these issues.

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Reference Works

Angel 2000 represents the first major international work examining global housing indicators. Gilbert 2011 promises to be a key reference on rental housing policies. Van Vliet 1998 continues to be one of the standard references on housing topics, although the seven-volume encyclopedia Smith 2010 is an expanded and invaluable update, particularly in terms of its international scope. While there are numerous publications on quantitative methodologies appropriate for the study of housing issues, relatively little work has focused on qualitative housing analysis. This makes Maginn, et al. 2008 particularly useful at a time when the complexity of housing issues warrant the use of mixed methods and qualitative methods.

  • Angel, Shlomo. 2000. Housing policy matters: A global analysis. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    The first book to examine comparable data on one hundred housing indicators across fifty-three countries and their major cities using data derived from the Global Housing Indicators Programme. Although there are methodological and data limitations (e.g., data restricted to items that are readily available), Angel provides compelling evidence that well-regulated housing markets, particularly in developing countries, provide better, more, and lower-cost housing.

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  • Gilbert, Alan G. 2011. A policy guide to rental housing in developing countries. Quick Policy Guide 1. Nairobi, Kenya: United Nations Human Settlements Programme.

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    Relatively few policies exist globally that regulate rental housing markets. This first volume of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) Quick Policy Guide series provides a concise overview of the state of rental housing and policies in developing countries and makes a strong case for adding rental housing policy to urban housing agendas worldwide.

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  • Maginn, Paul J., Susan Thompson, and Matthew Tonts, eds. 2008. Qualitative housing analysis: An international perspective. Bingley, UK: Emerald.

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    The first research methodology text to focus on the usefulness of qualitative approaches, such as in-depth interviews, ethnography, grounded theory, and sensory urbanism, for examining contemporary housing issues, such as the meaning of home, homelessness, gentrification, and residential vulnerability.

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  • Smith, Susan J., ed. 2010. International encyclopedia of housing and home. 7 vols. Oxford: Elsevier.

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    This comprehensive reference work, suitable for housing scholars and practitioners as well as graduate and undergraduate students, contains more than six hundred entries covering each of the seven major topical areas in the field of housing. Contributions and coverage of topics are international in scope.

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  • Van Vliet, Willem, ed. 1998. The encyclopedia of housing. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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    With more than five hundred entries, this comprehensive, multidisciplinarily prepared volume remains an important resource for scholars and practitioners because of the diversity of housing topics covered, ranging from affordability to housing finance to housing issues in developing countries. Readers will find the appendixes identifying housing legislation and technical entries on topics such as section 8 useful.

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Textbooks

Surprisingly, relatively few urban studies or planning textbooks are devoted exclusively to housing issues or housing policy. While both Merrill 2006 and Schwartz 2010 are excellent introductions to the study of housing, they offer different strengths. Important topics discussed in the first but not the latter include housing and community, housing choice and behaviors, and home environments and health. Schwartz 2010 offers more detailed information on the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs for special-needs populations, fair housing and community reinvestment, and the housing and mortgage lending crises that were not even on the scholarly radar in 2006. Contributors to Bratt, et al. 2006 critically assess the role of housing in shaping the opportunities and life chances of families and argue for the universal right to decent housing—an incredibly brave stance in the midst of continuing federal retrenchment on most housing programs. Both Colton 2003 and Glaeser and Gyourko 2008 underscore the need for new housing policy paradigms; however, Glaeser and Gyourko 2008 proposes more sweeping policy reforms. Sowell 2010 offers an alternative and provocative explanation for the current housing crisis in the United States—the intrusive and misguided involvement of the federal government—and emphasizes the need for restricting federal interference in the housing market.

  • Bratt, Rachel G., Michael E. Stone, and Chester W. Hartman, eds. 2006. A right to housing: Foundation for a new social agenda. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press.

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    This edited volume argues for the provision of decent, safe, secure, and affordable housing as a right for all Americans and highlights growing housing affordability problems and the need for public intervention. Chapters on social ownership and social financing explore these options as potential mechanisms for reforming US housing markets and strengthening housing rights. A timely overview on issues pertaining to housing aimed at scholars, practitioners, and graduate and advanced undergraduate students.

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  • Colton, Kent W. 2003. Housing in the twenty-first century: Achieving common ground. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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    This book documents the history and trends in homeownership, renting, finance, and the federal government’s role in housing during the period between 1949 and 2000 using four case studies to illustrate the effectiveness of federal housing policies and programs. Although Colton advocates for a new policy paradigm and stresses the need to achieve common ground in ten policy areas, most of these solutions are variations on existing themes.

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  • Glaeser, Edward L., and Joseph E. Gyourko. 2008. Rethinking federal housing policy: How to make housing plentiful and affordable. Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute.

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    Changes in housing consumption, house prices, land and construction costs, and federal policies favoring owner occupancy have contributed to the decrease in affordable, high-quality housing in the United States. Glaeser and Gyourko propose federal policy reforms that would increase vouchers, limit tax credits, reduce home mortgage interest deductions, and induce high-cost localities to ease barriers to new construction.

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  • Merrill, John L., ed. 2006. Introduction to housing. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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    This well-written, accessible text offers a comprehensive introduction to key themes in housing studies, including the housing industry, housing sustainability, federal housing policies, housing and community, housing choice and behaviors, home environments and health, housing affordability, and homeownership. Discusses major housing challenges in the new millennium. Useful as an undergraduate or graduate text in urban studies.

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  • Schwartz, Alex F. 2010. Housing policy in the United States. 2d ed. New York: Routledge.

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    Revised text on American housing policy; comprehensive and accessible to scholars, policy makers, and students. Highlights of the volume include Schwartz’s discussion of the housing and mortgage crises, explanation of housing finance laws, and synthesis of HUD’s programs for special-needs populations and a chapter on fair housing and community reinvestment.

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  • Sowell, Thomas. 2010. The housing boom or bust. New York: Basic Books.

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    Sowell articulates a thought-provoking, alternative explanation for the housing and financial crisis. Draws attention to government interference in the US banking industry that weakened mortgage lending standards and fueled the collapse of these markets. Downplays the role of lenders and investors who flooded the market with exotic loan products and heavily leveraged investment tools aimed at increasing industry profit.

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Bibliographies

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) publications (United Nations Human Settlements Programme 2011, United Nations Human Settlements Programme and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific 2008) are the most comprehensive sources on housing research in developing countries in terms of trends, conditions, policies, and practice accessible to scholars, policy makers, and practitioners—the nuts and bolts of doing things with housing. In contrast, Perkins, et al. 2002 offers an extensive and unique international bibliography of social science research assessing the subjective meanings of home and how these meanings shape how individuals construct and experience place. For coverage of housing topics in the United States, HUD USER is one of the largest electronic archives of housing resources. HCD Bibliographies is a series of electronic bibliographies on an array of housing topics (e.g., affordable housing, inclusive housing, fair housing) that provide practical information to policy makers and practitioners; the focus is both national and regional. Santiago 2002 provides a synthesis of the literature on innovations and best practices in public housing.

Journals

Given the broad range of housing topics and the interdisciplinary nature of the field, housing research important to social work scholars and practitioners is published primarily in journals outside of social welfare. Two notable exceptions (both cited under Social Welfare/Community Practice) are the Social Service Review, published by the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, and the Journal of Community Practice, sponsored by the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration. This section provides an overview of the professional journals that serve as the primary vehicles for dissemination of housing research, most of which are in the fields of housing and urban studies.

Social Welfare/Community Practice

The Journal of Community Practice, Journal of Community Psychology, and American Journal of Community Psychology are the primary sources of research on topics related to innovative community programs, program evaluation, and community practice in social welfare and human services. Social Science Research and Social Service Review offer more interdisciplinary research on housing and other areas of social welfare. The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management is the premier journal in the United States for timely and innovative research on public policy, including housing policy.

Housing Studies

Housing studies as a field is multidisciplinary, often comparative, and increasingly international in scope. The premier source of research on US housing policy and practice is Housing Policy Debate. The Journal of Housing Research and the Journal of Housing and Community Development publish articles useful to scholars, practitioners, and policy makers with emphases on housing economics, housing finance, mortgage markets, real estate, and community development. Evidence Matters, a relatively new publication of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), promises to be a thought-provoking vehicle for timely dissemination of research and practice findings on critical housing issues in the United States. Journals with an international scope, such as Housing Studies; Housing, Theory, and Society; International Journal of Housing Markets Analysis; and International Journal of Housing Policy, publish widely read, cutting-edge, national, and cross-national research on a broad spectrum of housing topics.

Urban Studies

Nearly four dozen journals are ranked in the field of urban studies using the Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Index or the SCImago Journal Ranking Indicator. At the top of the rankings is the Journal of the American Planning Association, an interdisciplinary journal that counts planning scholars and practitioners as part of its primary readership. The Urban Affairs Review and the Journal of Urban Affairs consistently publish interdisciplinary research on housing issues in the United States. Cityscape, a HUD-sponsored periodical, publishes timely and accessible research in both housing and community development used by scholars and policy makers. Urban Studies, European Urban and Regional Studies, and the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research publish cutting-edge research on a variety of housing topics and across geographic regions. Environment and Urbanization is a unique journal focusing on research in Africa, Asia, and Latin America with most contributions authored by scholars and experts from these regions.

Trends and Statistics

Developed and developing nations around the world are in the midst of a global housing crisis generated not only by economic downturns and high levels of unemployment but also by housing shortages stemming from continued high rates of urbanization and the lack of adequate and affordable housing. Moreover, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights notes the increase in regional housing crises triggered by forced evictions associated with civil unrest, ethnic cleansing, and war. The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) estimates that 1.6 billion people in developing countries reside in substandard housing and another 100 million are homeless. Nearly one-third of the world’s urban population lives in urban slums—a number expected to double by 2040. Yet concerns about housing shortages and affordable housing, substandard housing, displacement, and homelessness are not restricted to the developing world. Approximately one-third of all US residents experience housing problems, including excessive housing costs, overcrowding, inadequate shelter, and homelessness. Global real estate markets in the developed world, notably in the United Kingdom, Italy, Ireland, Spain, and Australia, continue to languish amid concerns over stagnant economic growth, rising food and fuel prices, and persistently high rates of unemployment (Warren 2012). Housing markets in the United States appear to be softening once again with home sales constrained by continued high unemployment and limited access to credit. An estimated one million new foreclosed properties are expected to swell the already high numbers of existing homes for sale. The primary source for monitoring global trends is the United Nations, particularly through UN-HABITAT and the UNECE Statistical Database maintained by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The United Nations Human Settlements Programme serves as the main publication venue for disseminating worldwide housing data. HUD USER provides a gateway portal to US housing data, whereas the biennial American Housing Survey and the decennial census of the US Census Bureau are the primary sources of statistics on housing quality in the United States. The National Association of Home Builders maintains a comprehensive website, Housing Statistics, on housing starts, sales, new construction, and residential vacancies. The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University publishes the annual State of the Nation’s Housing, one of the most accessible compendiums of US housing statistics.

Homeownership

Beginning in the 1980s and accelerating in the 1990s, trends in the United States and Europe demonstrated considerable expansion of homeownership opportunities. Ronald 2008 discusses the ethos that gave rise to this push toward homeownership and how these ideologies varied across different economic structures. Doling and Elsinga 2006 describes other societal contexts associated with the rise in homeownership rates in Europe, while Rohe and Watson 2007 traces these contexts in the United States. Herbert and Belsky 2006 examines the extent to which expansion of opportunities increased minority homeownership prior to the housing market crisis, while Kochhar, et al. 2009 assesses the extent to which these opportunities decreased in the aftermath. Since the mid-2000s homeownership initiatives, particularly for lower-income families, have witnessed significant retrenchment as a result of concerns over the long-term sustainability of homeownership, particularly among low-income home buyers. Indeed, contributors to Rohe and Watson 2007 suggest that homeownership produces deleterious consequences in terms of neighborhood quality, cost burden, and stress for many low-income home buyers. The theme of homeownership sustainability is discussed at length in Galster and Santiago 2008, which contends that low-income homeownership can work when coupled with extensive prepurchase counseling as well as postpurchase support. Calem, et al. 2009 suggests that sustainability should be the new emphasis of US housing policy.

  • Calem, Paul S., Marsha J. Courchane, and Susan M. Wachter. 2009. Sustainable homeownership. Paper presented at the conference “Housing after the Fall: Reassessing the Future of the American Dream,” 19–20 February 2009, Univ. of California, Irvine.

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    Advocates for the need to focus housing policy on sustainable homeownership. Examines the role of financial institutions in supporting sustainability as well as introducing housing instability. Discusses the role of federal regulation of mortgage lending in ways that support the sustainability of homeownership.

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  • Doling, John, and Marja Elsinga, eds. 2006. Home ownership: Getting in, getting from, getting out. Amsterdam: Delft Univ. Press.

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    Depicts homeownership in European countries in terms of demand (getting in), asset accumulation and other benefits (getting from), and individual and systemic risks associated with homeownership (getting out). Far-reaching discussion of housing issues in Europe of interest to scholars, policy makers, and students.

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  • Flippen, Chenoa A. 2010. The spatial dynamics of stratification: Metropolitan context, population redistribution, and black and Hispanic homeownership. Demography 47.4: 845–868.

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    Examines the role of community contexts in the maintenance of racial and ethnic disparities in homeownership in US metropolitan areas. Results from hierarchical logistic regression analyses show that blacks and Hispanics suffer greater constraints to homeownership in both more and less favorable housing markets. Finds that housing disparities are lessened with higher fractions of coethnic populations. Available online by subscription.

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  • Galster, George C., and Anna M. Santiago. 2008. Low-income homeownership as an asset-building tool: What can we tell policymakers? In Urban and regional policy and its effects. Vol. 1. Edited by Margery Austin Turner, Howard Wial, and Harold Wolman, 60–108. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.

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    Summarizes the debate on low-income homeownership and assesses initiatives aimed at addressing barriers to attaining and sustaining homeownership. Argues for low-income homeownership as part of a more comprehensive asset-building program.

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  • Herbert, Christopher E., and Eric S. Belsky. 2006. The homeownership experiences of low-income and minority families: A review and synthesis of the literature. Washington, DC: US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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    Comprehensive assessment of the homeownership experience of low-income and minority families. Study finds overall gains in housing and neighborhood quality, home appreciation, improved physical and mental health, and improved outcomes for children. Concerned with the ability to sustain homeownership.

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  • Kochhar, Rakesh, Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, and Daniel Dockterman. 2009. Through boom and bust: Minorities, immigrants, and homeownership. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center.

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    This study documents trends in minority homeownership rates since 1995. Finds that Hispanic and black home buyers were more likely to hold subprime loans, carry heavier debts, and experience foreclosures. Also found that while immigrant homeowners experienced smaller losses than native born, they also may have been targeted for predatory lending.

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  • Rohe, William M., and Harry L. Watson, eds. 2007. Chasing the American dream: New perspectives on affordable homeownership. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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    Incorporating historical, political, economic, planning, and social-psychological perspectives, this edited volume critically examines affordable homeownership policies and practices in the United States. Empirical findings suggest that homeownership is not always the best housing solution for low-income families. Argues that government support of low-income homeownership should not come at the expense of providing viable rental housing options.

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  • Ronald, Richard. 2008. The ideology of home ownership: Homeowners societies and the role of housing. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

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    Traces the cultural, sociopolitical, and ideological underpinnings of contemporary commitments to homeownership across a range of Eastern and Western homeowner societies. Study findings underscore the less-than-benign nature of owner-occupied housing policies and practices regulating housing consumption, especially in terms of the increased demand for units and volatility of property values in owner-occupied markets and the concomitant diminished viability of rental housing markets.

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Affordable Housing

The United States and other countries are experiencing an affordable housing crisis as rental costs continue to rise more rapidly than wages and waiting periods for subsidized housing grow longer. Affordable housing in the United States is defined as owner-occupied or rental housing units for low-income households (incomes at or below 80 percent of local median income) and very-low-income households (incomes at or below 50 percent of local median income), adjusted for household size. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), approximately 43 million households in the United States were overburdened by the costs of housing in 2009. In this section the literature on policies and practices for the financing and production of affordable housing to meet the needs of these households are reviewed. Attention has been given to examining the impact of various incentives—such as inclusionary zoning, tax credits, housing block grants, and other subsidies—on the production of housing units for low- to moderate-income households. Both Lubbell 2007 and Khadduri and Wilkins 2007 identify the use of vouchers and other subsidized rental initiatives to address the affordability crisis; both offer illustrations and recommendations of best practices. McClure 2008 discusses the need for relocation assistance programs to help low-income renters and home buyers find low-poverty neighborhoods. Mintz-Roth 2008 offers other affordable housing options, such as cooperative housing and inclusionary zoning, as long-term, workable solutions, particularly in hot (e.g., limited availability) housing markets.

Segregation and Fair Housing

Extending the work of William Julius Wilson (The Truly Disadvantaged [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987]; When Work Disappears [New York: Knopf, 1996]) and Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton (American Apartheid [Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993]) into the 21st century, Briggs 2005 and Carr and Kutty 2008 critically assess the enduring effect of race on the housing opportunities available to minority households in the United States. Iceland 2009 examines how metropolitan housing patterns are changing in communities with diverse and growing immigrant populations. This theme is advanced by contributors to a special issue of Housing Studies (Bolt, et al. 2010), whose assessment of the effectiveness of social mixing policies on reducing housing segregation in Europe and the United States suggests little or no reduction in ethnic or social residential segregation. National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity 2008 finds that historical and contemporary patterns of discrimination and mortgage lending exacerbated the deleterious effects of the housing crisis for minority homeowners and renters. Empirical analyses in Gruenstein Bocian, et al. 2006 document the extent of racial disparities in mortgage lending in both the prime and the subprime mortgage markets.

  • Bolt, Gideon, Deborah Phillips, and Ronald Van Kempen, eds. 2010. Special Issue: Housing Policy, (De)Segregation, and Social Mixing: An International Perspective. Housing Studies 25.2.

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    A special issue of Housing Studies focusing on the effectiveness of social mixing policies on reducing urban racial residential segregation. Papers provide the policy rationales for social-mixing interventions. Research findings suggest that social-mixing policies have not produced a significant decline in ethnic or social segregation and may also produce unintended negative effects, including constraining housing choice and the dismantling of ethnic or class enclaves. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Briggs, Xavier de Souza, ed. 2005. The geography of opportunity: Race and housing choice in metropolitan America. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.

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    This book provides a comprehensive assessment of the linkages between race and housing opportunity. Leading policy scholars examine potential strategies by which “people of all backgrounds enjoy access to housing in communities that serve as steppingstones to opportunity” (p. 3). Highlights the ongoing debate about the use of race-based versus universalistic strategies to open access to opportunity.

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  • Carr, James H., and Nandinee K. Kutty, eds. 2008. Segregation: The rising costs for America. New York: Routledge.

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    This volume critically examines the continuing role of residential segregation in shaping opportunities available to minority populations in the United States and particularly African Americans for quality education, housing, employment, and access to safe and healthy living environments and offers insightful policy recommendations to foster socioeconomic mobility.

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  • Gruenstein Bocian, Debbie, Keith S. Ernest, and Wei Li. 2006. Unfair lending: The effects of race and ethnicity on the price of subprime mortgages. Durham, NC: Center for Responsible Lending.

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    Examines disparities in home loan pricing using Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and additional loan-level proprietary subprime data to assess if race and ethnicity continue to affect subprime loan pricing after controlling for key risk factors (e.g., credit scores, loan-to-value ratios). Findings show that when compared to white borrowers, African American and Latino borrowers were more likely to receive higher-rate subprime loans.

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  • Iceland, John. 2009. Where we live now: Immigration and race in the United States. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    Analyzes residential segregation patterns between whites, blacks, and immigrant groups during the last quarter of the 20th century. Argues that immigration has softened the black-white color line and is suggestive of a racial leveling process. Increased spatial assimilation between immigrants and whites, except black Hispanics. Hispanics are becoming more assimilated with blacks and with Hispanics of other racial backgrounds.

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  • National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. 2008. The future of fair housing: Report of the National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. Washington, DC: National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.

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    Cites both historic patterns of discrimination and ongoing racial discrimination in housing and mortgage lending as reasons for the lack of progress in fair housing. Critiques the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and federal housing policies for contributing to enduring patterns of residential segregation.

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Mortgage Crises

A discussion of contemporary housing issues would be incomplete without some attention to contributors to the housing and mortgage lending crises during 2005–2010. Considerable popular and scholarly debate has emerged, evident by the proliferation of papers about foreclosures, the housing market bubble, and mortgage meltdowns. While a full description of these resources is beyond the scope of this bibliography, a couple of topics warrant further discussion: (a) the factors behind the crisis and (b) effective strategies to address the aftermath of the crisis. One of the prominent scholars on the mortgage industry and foreclosures, Dan Immergluck, provides a comprehensive history and evaluation of the US mortgage market in Immergluck 2009. Rugh and Massey 2011 offers a provocative analysis of the prominent role that existing patterns of US racial residential segregation played in the mortgage crisis. NeighborWorks Center for Foreclosure Solutions 2007 identifies best practices in foreclosure prevention.

Policies

Since 1970 housing policy has changed tremendously internationally, nationally, regionally, and locally. Globalization and accelerated rates of change affecting housing markets throughout the world have reframed contemporary understandings of housing problems and possible solutions to include individual, local, regional, national, and international levels. At the global level Van Vliet 1990 offers a historical-comparative approach to understanding the development of housing policies in capitalist, socialist, and developing countries through the late 1980s. Doherty 2004 offers an update on the role of the state in housing development since the formation of the European Union. Kumar 2008 underscores how the fragmented nature of urban policy in the developing world has contributed to increasing disparities in access to decent, affordable housing and advocates for the development of comprehensive housing policies in these rapidly growing but housing-poor countries. Orlebeke 2000 presents one of seminal reviews of low-income housing policy in the United States. Quigley 2008 provides a succinct overview of the three primary housing policy tools in the United States—mortgage interest deductions, tax credits, and rent vouchers. Erickson 2009 traces the devolution of housing policy in the United States and the emergence of public-private partnerships operating on the regional, state, and local levels. Landis and McClure 2010 critiques affordable housing policy tools, while contributors to Galster 2008 challenge scholars and policy makers to think out of the box in the development of housing policies for the future.

  • Doherty, Joe. 2004. European housing policies: Bringing the state back in? International Journal of Housing Policy 4.3: 253–260.

    DOI: 10.1080/1461671042000307242Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Overview essay for an issue on European housing policies. Examines the continuing yet changing role of the state in housing policy and provision. Situates shifts in this role within the contexts of neoliberalism, the dismantling of state-owned housing, and the emergence of the European Union during the final decades of the 20th century. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Erickson, David J. 2009. The housing policy revolution: Networks and neighborhoods. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

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    Provides a historian’s perspective on the formation, operation, and performance of the decentralized housing network comprised of community organizations, housing finance organizations, housing trust funds, foundations, government-sponsored enterprises, and other public-private partnerships that emerged between 1985 and 2010. Uses a series of case studies to examine viable strategies for affordable housing development.

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  • Galster, George C., ed. 2008. Special Issue: U.S. Housing Scholarship, Planning, and Policy since 1968. Journal of the American Planning Association 74.1.

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    Special issue devoted to the future(s) of housing. Contributors examine a wide range of topics, including the importance of housing on health outcomes, the future of housing markets, mortgage innovations, the changing roles of public housing authorities, home building innovations, housing-plus services, housing deconcentration efforts, and decentralized housing policies and programs. Offers recommendations to planners and policy makers on next steps in housing practice. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Kumar, Sunil. 2008. Urban housing policy and practice in the developing world. In Comprehensive handbook of social work and social welfare. Vol. 4. Edited by Karen M. Sowers and Catherine N. Dulmus, 249–294. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

    DOI: 10.1002/9780470373705Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Kumar describes the fragmented nature of housing policy and practice in developing societies and critiques public-private-nonprofit partnerships that often contribute to housing inequality. Offers suggestions about how this fragmentation can be addressed and how to empower the various stakeholders, particularly the poor, to have a voice in the process.

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  • Landis, John D., and Kirk McClure. 2010. Rethinking federal housing policy. Journal of the American Planning Association 76.3: 319–348.

    DOI: 10.1080/01944363.2010.484793Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides a comprehensive review and critique of research on the effectiveness of federal programs aimed at promoting homeownership, access to affordable rental housing, and an end to racial residential segregation. Recommends continuation of Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance, the low-income housing tax credit, rental housing vouchers, the HOPE VI program, and Community Reinvestment Act initiatives; expansion of affordable housing initiatives; use of tax credits; better program coordination; and addressing growing income segregation.

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  • Orlebeke, Charles J. 2000. The evolution of low-income housing policy, 1949 to 1999. Housing Policy Debate 11.2: 489–520.

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    Excellent synthesis of the history of low-income housing policy in the United States that is readily accessible to students, practitioners, and policy makers. Describes the development of key policy instruments—rental housing vouchers, housing block grants, and low-income housing tax credits—and assesses their effectiveness.

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  • Quigley, John M. 2008. Housing policy in the United States. In The new Palgrave dictionary of economics. 2d ed. Edited by Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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    Describes the history and characteristics of the three main federal housing subsidy programs operating in the United States: mortgage deductions for owner-occupants, tax credits for builders of rental housing, and rental subsidies provided to low-income households. Underscores the low funding available for rental housing subsidies relative to the increasing demand for such housing assistance.

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  • Van Vliet, Willem. 1990. International handbook of housing policies and practices. New York: Greenwood.

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    Provides comprehensive and comparable data on post–World War II housing policies (through the 1980s) for twenty-three countries representing capitalist, socialist, and Third World economics. A major strength of the book is Van Vliet’s examination of housing issues that is sensitive to the unique historical and political contexts of each country.

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Best Practices

Relatively little has been written about best practices in delivery of housing programs and services by social workers. Cohen and Phillips 1997 and Cohen, et al. 2004 outline core community practice principles. Cohen 2010 summarizes four pathways to improve housing programs subsidized by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Using data compiled from foundation leaders, Riley and Kraft 2010 identifies the possibilities as well as the practical concerns associated with the use of housing as the primary vehicle for social service delivery.

Best-Practice Databases

Unfortunately, information on best practices for housing programs and services is difficult to find, often embedded in reports, documents, or websites. Practitioners interested in best practices in affordable housing will find the searchable online archives of the Enterprise Resource Database and KnowledgePlex extremely useful. Those engaged in community development efforts will find information on innovative community initiatives in the data archives supported by HUD USER and National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. For practitioners interested in learning more about effective housing services in the United States, the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington (Toolkit for Affordable Housing) provides a gateway to these data. The National NeighborWorks Programs website is the primary data portal for information on effective neighborhood revitalization strategies sponsored by NeighborWorks America, the preeminent leader of community development and affordable housing in the United States.

Research Organizations

In the United States a number of nonpartisan organizations disseminate timely information about housing policies and programs at the federal, state, and local levels as well as research and practice-oriented information on a broad range of housing topics. Among the most important for scholars and policy makers are the Urban Institute, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, the Brookings Institution, and Abt Associates. For those interested in research on programs sponsored by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the What Works Collaborative and the Housing Research.org archives are quite useful. The Center for Housing Policy provides comprehensive evaluations of housing policies at all governmental levels. All of these organizations conduct applied research or evaluation of these policies and programs.

Policy Organizations

The most comprehensive online resource for international housing policy, practice, and statistics is UN-HABITAT. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the National Housing Conference are the major websites for timely and cutting-edge information on US housing policy. The National Consortium of Housing Research Centers serves as a major Internet gateway to policy- and practice-related housing research, reports, and guides. HousingPolicy.org is an invaluable source of information for practitioners, policy makers, and students.

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