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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2012): Social housing - overseas

Affordable housing networks: a case study in the Phoenix metropolitan region

J. Lucio and E. Ramirez de la Cruz

Housing Policy Debate, vol. 22, 2012, p. 219-240

The development and implementation of affordable housing in the US has gone from being predominantly in the hands of intergovernmental networks to being controlled by complex interactions between government, nonprofit and private organisations. Local government retrenchment has contributed to the broadening sphere of affordable housing organisations, which has led to a complex network of actors negotiating the amount and format of affordable housing within a region. The potential of informal networks for producing affordable housing needs exploration. Through a descriptive analysis of the greater Phoenix metropolitan region housing arena, this study examines the positions of public, nonprofit and private agencies in affordable housing networks, and the implications of these relationships for affordable housing.

The impact of source of income laws on voucher utilization

L. Freeman

Housing Policy Debate, vol.22, 2012, p. 297-319

This paper examines how Source of Income anti-discrimination laws (SOI laws) affect the utilization of housing vouchers. Vouchers are often championed as being more cost effective than project based housing assistance and have been praised for their potential to allow poor households to live in better areas. For voucher programmes to be successful, recipients need to find an apartment to lease, and landlords frequently refuse to accept them as tenants. SOI laws have the potential to discourage discrimination against voucher recipients. The research reported in this article shows that utilization rates are higher among Local Housing Authorities in jurisdictions with SOI laws. The findings suggest that such laws can be an effective tool for increasing the rate at which vouchers are successfully used.

Magical or monstrous? Hybridity in social housing governance

A. Blessing

Housing Studies, vol . 27, 2012, p. 189-207

This exploratory contribution aims to expand the conceptual basis for research into the rise of not-for-profit social enterprises in the housing market. Rather than relying on state subsidies, these organisations use limited state support to lever private development capital and to pursue commercial profits for social ends. This paper is based on the notion that these organisations have many faces. They are alternately 'scorned for evading the laws of the market place' and celebrated as a 'locus of values, voluntarism, pluralism, altruism and participation'. Insights into the identity of these organisations are thus sought within their 'hybrid' status, spanning state and market, combining public and private action logics, and subject to multiple sets of institutional conditions. It develops four frames of hybrid identity to guide research into the role of social enterprises in the housing market and applies them to the small Australian sector and the mature Dutch sector. As the growth trajectory of each sector is traced and the construction of hybrid identity is explored from both public and private perspectives, institutional pressures are revealed that set the current context for development.

Managing the consequences of financial crisis: a long view of housing disposition

H. MacDonald

Housing Policy Debate, vol. 22, 2012, p. 201-218

Communities in the US have been blighted by widespread mortgage foreclosures and property abandonment following the financial crisis of 2007/09. This article compares three housing acquisition and disposition programmes, which sought to manage the effects of large scale defaults and mortgage foreclosures. In the 1990s the Resolution Trust Corporation managed a large-scale property disposition programme as part of its role in winding up bankrupt savings and loans. In the Depression era, the Home Owners Loans Corporation foreclosed on approximately 20% of the million loans it had acquired or originated from 1933 to 1936. The current disposition effort is structured differently, providing funding to states, non-profits and local governments to acquire foreclosed and vacant homes through the Neighbourhood Stabilization Programme, rather than setting up a disposition agency. This article examines the experiences and outcomes of the three initiatives. Central among the challenges faced is that of managing private investor roles in the housing disposition process. Neither regulation nor funding alone is adequate to ensure that foreclosed homes are disposed of in a way that stabilises rather than undermines neighbourhoods.

Vulnerable people, precarious housing and regional resilience: an exploratory analysis

R. Pendall, B. Theodos and K. Franks

Housing Policy Debate, vol. 22, 2012, p. 271-296

This article contributes to the study of resilience by showing the extent to which vulnerable people live in precarious housing situations in large metropolitan areas across the US. It identifies 11 illustrative vulnerabilities that could systematically hinder people's life chances, including age, race, immigration status, living in a single-parent household, recent military services, poverty, low education and disability. Housing may be more precarious when it is rented, multi-family, manufactured, crowded, or subject to overpayment. Microdata from the 2005-2007 American Community Survey suggest that an important minority of people have multiple vulnerabilities, and that these vulnerabilities associate with residence in precarious housing.

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