The importance of strong “personal touch” relationships in housing services

by Shawn Flanigan

To learn why the San Diego Housing Commission’s Achievement Academy – a suite of workforce development programs – is effective in supporting families receiving Section 8 vouchers, we continue conducting interviews in our longitudinal data collection with Achievement Academy families. Our conversations have put a spotlight on a key factor: a strong personal touch. The Section 8 recipients highly value the intensive, personal, positive interactions they have with Achievement Academy staff, and almost all of them point to positive outcomes that come from the personal investment of their “caseworkers”.

Complications and Contradictions in a Changing Neighborhood

by Lisa Bates

The corridor of gleaming high rises along Vancouver and Williams Avenues is a marked change from the early 2000s. When the Housing Authority of Portland (now known as Home Forward) applied for HOPE VI funds for the old Iris Court development, it was known as a rough area. Residents who lived there, or who knew of it by reputation …

The benefits of partnering with local universities

By Dr. Shawn Flanigan

As part of my interdisciplinary freshman Honors course at San Diego State University titled “Housing, Home, and Homeland,” I had my twenty-six students spend several weeks reading and discussing Matthew Desmond’s renowned book Evicted, and then gave them an assignment to code an interview from Access to Opportunity research in San Diego. As a culminating experience, we visited the Monarch School, an innovative K-12 school for homeless youth in downtown San Diego ….

Location, Location, Location! Mobility and Opportunity in East King County

Emily Lieb brings us another research update from Seattle from the Access to Opportunity Project:

What’s in a neighborhood? Scholars (and realtors) agree: Where a person lives determines how much access to opportunity she has. Good schools, safe streets, high-quality housing that appreciates in value, accessible jobs and services, clean air and water—all of these things make it possible for people to do the best they can for themselves and their families. Poor schools, high crime rates, bad housing, an unhealthy environment, and relative inaccessibility do the opposite. Each one of these things is an obstacle standing between a family and its potential.

How do we know what works?

Lisa K. Bates, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Urban Studies in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University, updates us on research in the Access to Opportunity Project.

When thinking about assessing the impact of Humboldt Gardens’ GOALS program, which is the project‘s version of HUD‘s Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS), it is useful to know the program‘s context. The concept of FSS is straightforward — parents participate in programming designed to promote employment and financial stability, working with a case manager to set goals.

The Power of One: Why do single women tend to fare better in FSS programs than their married counterparts?

By Alexandra Metz

Access to Opportunity researchers are engaging with families that take part in specialized programs for the recently homeless, and families taking part in a new cohort program designed specifically for single mothers, called the Power of One program.

Context Matters: Accessing Opportunity in Seattle’s Eastside Suburbs By Emily Lieb

By Emily Lieb

ARCH’s “sphere of influence” sits across Lake Washington from Seattle, one of the fastest growing  (and most expensive) cities in the country. In many ways, its member cities are stereotypical American suburbs: they’ve got quiet streets lined with single-family homes; well-funded, highly regarded schools; and commuter-clogged interstate highways.

Changing Lives in a Changing Neighborhood

By Dr. Lisa K. Bates

Joining the Access to Opportunity team is bringing me into dialogue with amazing scholars and practitioners with deep understanding of policy systems, focusing on an under-studied context of west coast cities. I am looking forward to sharing the research from Portland as we complete this initial round of work. We are looking at Humboldt Gardens, a development of Home Forward (the Housing Authority of Portland), as a site for understanding low-income parents’ (mostly parents of color) strategies for accessing ‘opportunity’.

What does self-sufficiency mean in the face of skyrocketing housing costs?

Dr. Shawn Flanigan, San Diego State University, shares the next installment of our blog on the Access to Opportunity Project. San Diego is consistently ranked among the least affordable housing markets in the United States, topping that list in 2015! Coming in at number two on the list in 2016. Rather than looking exclusively at housing costs, assessments of housing affordability consider housing costs in relation to how many residents of a community could afford to purchase a home at the median price. In 2015, real estate industry research showed that less than half of households could qualify to buy a median priced home in 93.3 percent of San Diego zip codes. This was the highest ratio of any city in the study.

Access to Opportunity, the conceptual policy framework

In our last post, which also happened to be our first post, we introduced the Access to Opportunity project, including the first set of studies that will be undertaken as part of our larger research goals.  Though we didn’t state it, the choice of those projects was driven by a conceptual policy framework that evolved as we conducted our initial site visits in San Diego, Portland and Seattle.

by Dr. Raphael Bostic, President & Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Professor, University of Southern California, Price School of Public Policy and Sheryl Whitney, Partner, Whitney Jennings