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Research Projects

In addition to conducting our own research, PAHRC collaborates with industry and research partners to examine critical issues in affordable housing. PAHRC’s research priorities focus on understanding the dynamics of the affordable housing inventory and its residents, the impact of affordable housing on resident outcomes, and the effectiveness of housing providers in serving low-income families and expanding housing opportunities. Click the tabs below to read more.

Current Projects

  • Rental Housing Assistance and Education
  • Rental Housing Assistance and Senior Health Utilization
  • Factors Predicting the Risk of Rental Housing Losing its Affordability Status
  • A Picture of Affordable Housing Preservation in the US

Innovations in the MTW Demonstration

Innovations in the MTW Demonstration catalogues over 300 innovations put in place by agencies granted (MTW) authority that have important effects on residents, the housing agency, and the local community. The report documents and classifies the activities of 34 MTW agencies as of 2014 into five categories: innovations that increase cost effectiveness,  increase the quality and quantity of affordable housing, self-sufficiency, residential stability for targeted households, and the geographic scope of assisted housing. The report also documents changes to the culture, organization, and mission as a result of the adoption of MTW authority and includes case studies for five MTW agencies that have been particularly far-reaching in their use of MTW authority. The study was conducted by Abt Associates and guided by Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation (PAHRC), in collaboration with public housing authority industry groups.The report finds that agencies granted MTW authority have adopted a breadth of new practices that address the purposes of the demonstration, which include reducing costs, promoting self-sufficiency, and increasing housing choice, while also meeting other key goals such as reducing homelessness.

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The Cost of Cuts: The Impact of Reductions in Capital Investments to Public Housing Authorities

The Cost of Cuts: The Impact of Reductions in Capital Investments to Public Housing Authorities estimates the net cost of a 20% cut in the annual capital grants that fund the maintenance and improvement of the public housing infrastructure. The study, completed by the Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation (PAHRC) and the Econsult Corporation, finds that a 20% long-term cut in the annual funds intended for capital projects erases every $1 saved and incurs an extra $0.30 in costs for each $1 cut. At minimum, such a cut would erase $0.75 for every $1 saved. If the reductions were only to last one year, negative impacts would entirely erase a $1 cut, using moderate estimates, and $0.46 of a $1 cut at a bare minimum. PHA Executive Directors surveyed for the report reported that the biggest casualty of funding cuts will be the modernization of existing units; a 20% temporary reduction in capital funding will result in a 55% drop in budget to update older units. This reduction, as well as a slow-down in the construction of new units, will result in the eventual loss of 231,000 units available for families living in public housing if made permanent; a consequence both of the loss of newly constructed units, and many units lost to depreciation.

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Assessing the Economic Benefits of Public Housing

Assessing the Economic Benefits of Public Housing quantifies the contribution public housing provides to local economies and describes its role in supporting local industries and low wage workers. The report finds that improvement projects to public housing buildings and the development of new public housing units injects $2.12 back into the local community for every $1 spent. The study was conducted by Econsult Corporation and guided by the Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation (PAHRC), in collaboration with public housing authority industry groups.


Upcoming MTW Performance Indicators Report

The MTW Performance Indicators Study builds on the widely recognized MTW Innovations Study, which provided systematic evidence of MTW effectiveness and helped support the recent expansion of the MTW demonstration. The Performance Indicators study will help to identify important indicators of agency-wide performance and demonstrate the aggregate impact of the MTW program across participating agencies. These indicators can also be used to assess the impact a variety of different programs, like MTW, on agency performance across participating agencies.  The study is expected to be released during early 2017. The research is being conducted by Abt Associates, guided by PAHRC, and supported by Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA), the Public Housing Authority Directors Association (PAHDA), the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), and current MTW agencies.