Beyond Bricks and Mortar: Reexamining the Purpose and Effects of Housing Assistance: Urban Institute Report 92-3

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Policy debate on housing assistance is moving from a focus on how best to alleviate poverty through decent housing alone to how best to reduce economic dependency more broadly. This book seeks to inform policymakers charged with reorienting housing assistance for the poor, by examining the fundamental issues that must be confronted in reconceptualizing housing policy as a tool for economic independence. This study is based on the premise that the two-channel housing assistance system-housing assistance from the ...
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Overview

Policy debate on housing assistance is moving from a focus on how best to alleviate poverty through decent housing alone to how best to reduce economic dependency more broadly. This book seeks to inform policymakers charged with reorienting housing assistance for the poor, by examining the fundamental issues that must be confronted in reconceptualizing housing policy as a tool for economic independence. This study is based on the premise that the two-channel housing assistance system-housing assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and shelter assistance from welfare programs under the Department of Health and Human Services-is unfair, ineffective, and inefficient. It looks at how policymakers have wrestled with the link between housing and social and economic advancement; describes local-level strategies being used to improve the existing system; and sorts out the possible effects of the economic independence principle on both housing assistance and welfare receipt.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Abstract
Executive Summary 1
1 Introduction 5
2 Housing as a Route to Independence: Brief History 11
The View from the Housing Side 12
The View from the Welfare Side 18
A Bolder Legacy of Ideas 22
Most Recent Initiatives 26
3 Characteristics and Effects of the Current System of Shelter Assistance 37
Two Housing Streams 38
Clientele and Equity 39
Housing Outcomes of the Assisted Population 46
Measuring Program Impact 55
4 Strategies to Rationalize Housing Assistance 79
Using AFDC Emergency Assistance or Special Needs Payments for Housing Rehabilitation 80
Targeted Expenditures: Vendor Payments 82
Two-Tiered Payments 88
Linking Supportive Services with Housing Subsidies 91
Assessment 95
5 The Connection between Decent Housing and Economic Independence 101
Current Housing Assistance Recipients and the Goal of Economic Independence 102
Adding Housing Assistance to Welfare Reform 108
Appendix A: Regressions from 1987 National AHS, Housing and/or Welfare Program Participants 125
Appendix B: Regressions from 1981-84 AHS Metropolitan Files (Excluding New York) 131
Appendix C: Regressions from 1987 National AHS, All Households Below Poverty 135
References 141
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