At Home
At Homeis a quarterly e-newsletter from the Housing & Communities Practice at Abt Associates. Here you'll find the latest research results &
expert insights about housing & community development issues important to you. We hope you enjoy this, our Fall 2012 issue.
Stable Housing Is Key to Good Health, Panelists at Abt Forum Agree 
Experts Explore Integrating Housing and Health Care Programs to Better Help Vulnerable Populations  


panel WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Good health and stable housing are inextricably linked. That was the message heard by more than 100 housing and health care policy leaders who packed Abt Associates' forum, "The Intersection of Housing Policy and Health," at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on September 12. They gathered to explore ways that limited housing funds can be leveraged for better health outcomes and potential savings. 


The forum featured two expert panels who responded to a paper by Abt housing experts Jill Khadduri, principal associate and senior fellow, and Gretchen Locke, senior associate. The paper, "Making Subsidized Rental Housing a Platform for Improved Health for Vulnerable Populations," explored nine changes to federal housing and health care programs that could provide better support to vulnerable populations and wider access to services.


 Find out what the experts had to say... 

The End of Rent Restrictions
public housing
What Happens to LIHTC Properties When Rent Restrictions End?
Associate, Carissa Climaco

From 1986 through 2009, more than two million units of rental housing were developed through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Program, making it the largest housing production program in U.S. history. As thousands of properties hit the 15-year mark--ending the initial compliance period of income and rent restrictions--questions arose about the consequences for low-income renters. Through interviews with industry participants and a review of property-level records, Abt Associates' researchers delivered answers. Our analysis offered surprising news and insights about the 1 million plus tax-credit units that will reach Year 15 by 2020. 


For more...


Commentary -- Meryl Finkel

15 Years Later...the Other Risk to Affordable Housing

Meryl Finkel
Meryl Finkel

As the stock of early tax credit properties began to reach the end of its initial 15-year compliance period, there was significant concern that property owners would convert the properties to market-rate rentals, eliminating one of the most important segments of the affordable housing stock. Abt's recent study shows that, so far, the vast majority of LIHTC properties remain affordable.  


A greater risk to their ongoing availability is their physical condition. To ensure continued availability of affordable, well-maintained properties, tax credit allocating-agencies should give highest priority for additional tax credits to developments that otherwise would be repositioned as housing for higher income households and to properties with large capital needs serving special needs populations or which are part of a larger neighborhood revitalization effort.


Meryl Finkel is a principal associate at Abt Associates.

Outcomes of Foreclosure Counseling
young couple
What Happens to People who Receive Foreclosure Counseling? 
Senior Associate, Jennifer Turnham  


Although faced with significant financial strain and substantial declines in home values, millions of American homeowners remain dedicated to retaining their homes. Since 2007, federal government has committed more than $830 million to housing counseling, with special emphasis on delinquency counseling and foreclosure prevention. This has resulted in assistance to more than 5 million homeowners. To learn the outcomes of this support, Abt's Foreclosure Counseling Outcome Study analyzed the experiences of more than 800 households who sought foreclosure counseling in Fall 2010.


Read about our findings...



Commentary -- Anna Jefferson

Housing Counseling...More than a Balm in the Foreclosure Crisis

Anna Jefferson
Anna Jefferson


Five years into the housing crisis, foreclosures are rising again, one in four mortgages is underwater, and mortgage servicers are paying $25 billion for the robo-signing scandal.  


As the nation continues to look for solutions to the crisis, Abt's recent study suggests that counseling can help at-risk homeowners navigate their loss mitigation options. Most homeowners in the study contacted their lenders when they fell behind but couldn't resolve the matter on their own. However, with the help of a counselor, most of these low-income, often minority homeowners obtained mortgage remedies and caught up on their payments. A forthcoming Abt study of pre-purchase counseling will quantify the impact of counseling. Meantime, as states decide how to spend their portion of the mortgage settlement, they can turn to Abt's Foreclosure Counseling Outcome Study for evidence that counseling helps homeowners stay put.


Anna Jefferson is a senior analyst at Abt Associates. 

What We're Writing about
Community Reinvestment Act Lending and the Mortgage Market.

Contributing author, Jonathan S. Spader, Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, 44(4).  


Validity Issues in Evaluation.
Contributing author, Laura R. Peck, American Journal of Evaluation, 33(3).
What We're Talking about
Implementing the HEARTH Act: Preparing for the New Emergency Solutions Grant.
Running on All Cylinders: Homeless Systems Measurement.
Tom Albanese
National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness, Los Angeles, CA, 2012.

Linking Human Services and Housing Supports to Address Family Homelessness: Promising Practices in the Field.
Alvaro Cortes
National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness, Los Angeles, CA, 2012.

Effective Continuum of Care Leadership: Examples and Strategies.
Brooke Spellman
National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness, Los Angeles, CA, 2012.

Introduction to Rapid Re-Housing for Families.
Marge Wherley
National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness, Los Angeles, CA, 2012.

Who's the Investor? Financialization, Debt, and Ownership in Mortgage Modification Programs.
(Work in progress.)
Anna Jefferson
American Ethnological Society Spring Conference. New York, NY, 2012.

New Faces
judy geyer


Judy Geyer, Ph.D., senior analyst, has expertise in program evaluation, randomized controlled trials, hierarchical models, structural equation modeling, propensity-scores, difference-in-differences, instrumental variables and other quasi-experimental designs. At Abt, she is involved in evaluations of New York City's Homebase homelessness intervention project and North Carolina's Early College High School program. Dr. Geyer holds a Ph.D. in economics from Carnegie Mellon University where she collaborated with local housing authorities to study mobility in public housing and housing voucher programs. Prior to graduate school she evaluated community and statewide injury prevention programs for seniors.

Sam Dastrup


Sam Dastrup, Ph.D., senior analyst, is an economist with expertise in the interaction of housing markets and household decisions and welfare. He joined Abt following a post-doctoral research fellowship at NYU's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. At Abt, he is measuring the costs of homeless services, reviewing programs aimed at increasing access to financial services and designing and modeling the effects of a mortgage insurance program for small investors. Dr. Dastrup completed his Ph.D. at the University of California San Diego where he measured the negative impact of foreclosure on children's academic performance and documented a sales price premium for homes with solar panels.

Madeline Colety

Madeline Colety, AICP, associate, is a planner with 15 years of experience in housing, community development and municipal planning. Ms. Colety brings a unique hands-on perspective to her work as she assists cities and towns in assessing housing and community development needs and develops customized strategies to address them. At Abt, she is involved in HUD's OneCPD technical assistance initiative and is working with the City of Los Angeles to help it develop its Five-Year Consolidated Plan. She is also working on developing technical assistance tools for HUD's Community Planning and Development (CPD) programs.
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