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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2011): Social housing - overseas

Fair and affordable? Racial and ethnic segregation and inequality in New York City rental housing

J.R. Halasz

Housing Policy Debate, vol. 21, 2011, p. 267-293

Certain affordable housing programmes in the US have had the unintended consequence of contributing to racial and ethnic segregation and compounded socio-economic inequality among racial groups. New York City residents have access to more than ten types of affordable rental housing and a variety of home ownership assistance schemes. The broad range and widespread employment of affordable housing programmes together with a high level of racial diversity make New York City a useful site for comparing racial and ethnic segregation and inequality in distinct types of affordable housing. This study found that: 1) Blacks and Latinos are significantly segregated from Whites, Asians and other ethnic groups in certain types of affordable housing; 2) race and ethnicity have a greater impact than socio-economic status on which type of housing a family occupies; and 3) affordable housing located within mixed-income multi-family dwellings offers significant advantages over cluster developments such as public housing which compound racial, ethnic and socio-economic inequality.

The sustainability of low-income homeownership: the incidence of unexpected costs and needed repairs among low-income home buyers

S. van Zandt and W.M. Rohe

Housing Policy Debate, vol.21, 2011, p. 317-341

Affordable loan products coupled with homeownership education and counselling have played a significant role in enabling low-income, minority ethnic and immigrant families to get on the housing ladder in the USA over the last decade. However, there has been little research into the sustainability of low-income homeownership. This paper examines the ability of low-income homebuyers to pay housing related costs after home purchase, including maintenance and repairs, using longitudinal data from an affordable homeownership education programme in several sites around the nation. Results showed that after less than two years of ownership, about half of the over 350 families surveyed faced unexpected costs, and about a third were faced with repairs they could not afford. More than half carried greater non-housing debt, and about a quarter were 30 days or more late in debt repayment. These findings raise concerns about the sustainability of low-income homeownership.

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