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Building on CalAIM’s Housing Supports: Strengthening Medi-Cal for People Experiencing Homelessness

August 10, 2023

California's Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, is undergoing an ambitious transformation known as CalAIM (California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal).  A key focus of this transformation is removing barriers to care for populations who struggle to access services, including people experiencing homelessness. A critical goal of CalAIM is a more person-centered approach to publicly funded health care.This paper, from the Corporation for Supportive Housing, rests on a foundation of extensive research and examines the successes, challenges, and opportunities in providing person-centered care to people experiencing homelessness. In Part 1, the authors describe in detail how homelessness undermines a person's health. When people live outdoors or without reliable shelter, existing health issues are made worse, and people develop new ones. Californians experiencing homelessness die in large numbers from causes directly related to their lack of housing.The primary driver of homelessness is a lack of affordable housing. Part 2 describes opportunities in CalAIM, in the Providing Access and Transforming Health (PATH)  initiative, and in the Home and Community-Based Services Spending Plan to fund housing support services that connect people to housing and help keep people stably housed. This section also includes explanations of CalAIM's Enhanced Care Management benefit and Community Supports, seven of which specifically focus on people experiencing homelessness.Despite the promise of CalAIM and related programs, CalAIM's impact has been limited to date. Part 3 describes the challenges providers and managed care plans face in implementing CalAIM and the provision of housing support services. Health care and social service providers offering services under CalAIM must navigate differing reimbursement rates — which may not be enough — and differing requirements set by each managed care plan, even among plans operating in the same county. Managed care plans may not know how best to identify and reach people experiencing homelessness, and to connect people to housing and housing support services. Meanwhile, people who are unhoused must still find and access the care and services they need by navigating complex systems of care and fragmented provider networks.

At The Intersection of Probation and Jail Reduction Efforts: Findings on Probation, Jail, and Transitional Housing Trends in Pima County, Arizona

July 11, 2023

Reducing jail populations – and the collateral consequences of criminal legal system involvement – requires jurisdictions to critically examine why and how people are entering the system to begin with. Much of the research around jail reform focuses on the pretrial population; however, with rising numbers o individuals under probation supervision and jail commonly being used to detain those awaiting a hearing on a probation violation, reform efforts to understand how violations contribute to the overall jail population are essential. To learn more about the impact probation revocations have on jails and to advance promising strategies to address them, CUNY ISLG funded the Urban Institute through the Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) to conduct a mixed-methods study on how people on probation end up in jail incarceration and the impact of a program aimed at improving these outcomes with transitional housing support through the Adult Probation Department (APD) in Pima County, Arizona. Using administrative data from the Pima County Jail and APD, case record reviews, and interviews with APD leadership, probation officers, judges, community-based housing providers, and people on probation, this study aimed to decipher the system-level trends in jail incarceration for probation violations and the key pathways to jail incarceration for those individuals currently on probation. It also sought to understand the impact of the transitional housing support program on short and long-term outcomes for people on probation receiving funding from APD for transitional housing.

Housing, land and property in the context of climate change, disasters and displacement

July 10, 2023

This brief presents the Norwegian Refugee Council's knowledge and experience in addressing housing, land and property (HLP) issues associated with climate change, disasters and displacement, including those often aggravated by conflict. It is not a comprehensive catalogue of HLP issues, nor does it present the full breadth of NRC's operations. Rather, it reflects the organisation's experience in delivering information counselling and legal assistance (ICLA), shelter and settlements and other programmes, and draws on its role as lead and co-lead of inter-agency coordination. The brief documents examples of NRC's operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mozambique, Somalia and South Sudan, countries also identified for the work of the Special Adviser.

Light Touch Density and Filtering Down: City of Seattle Case Study

July 3, 2023

Key takeaways:In the City of Seattle, about 12 times as much land is zoned for Single Family (SF) than for Low-Rise Multifamily (LRM).In the mid-1990s, the creation of the LRM zone allowed property owners to use their land more efficiently. As a consequence, many single-family detached homes have been converted to mostly townhomes. This is light-touch density at its best.Since 2000, 18,000 new townhomes units have been built in the LRM zone. As a result, its housing stock increased by about 75% – or about 3% per year. The supply addition in the SF zone from new single-family homes is minimal.The new townhomes are generally starter homes, which has enabled homeownership for lower-income, younger, and more diverse households.Home values in the LRM zone have appreciated at the same rate as home values in the SF zone.Unfortunately, this success is now being derailed by Seattle's Mandatory Housing Affordability (MFA) program.This program will produce a small amount of heavily-subsidized "housing Ferraris" that will be sold to low-income households and destroy the progress LRM zoning has made in expanding  broad-based housing affordability.

Ensuring Access to Food Resources for Students Experiencing Homelessness

June 30, 2023

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 10.2% (or 13.5 million) of households were food insecure at some point during 2021. These households were uncertain of having or were unable to acquire enough food for all members of the household due to financial hardship or lack of food resources. Families experiencing homelessness often face additional barriers to accessing food due to high mobility or lack of transportation. Homeless liaisons play an important role in ensuring that students have access to free school meals and referrals are made to provide the family access to food resources in the community.

Building for proximity: The role of activity centers in reducing total miles traveled

June 29, 2023

American households live amid a transportation conundrum. From a technological perspective, no developed country makes greater use of private vehicles and their incredible ability to cover long distances in relatively little time. The problem is that all those vehicles come at a real cost to society: growing environmental damage, unsafe roads, higher household transportation spending, and rising costs to maintain all the infrastructure. Even as electric vehicles promise to reduce the climate impacts of driving, this latest innovation still fails to address car dependency's other persistent costs to society.Building for proximity could offer a more holistic solution. Helping people live closer to the centers of economic activity—from downtown hubs to local Main Streets—should reduce the distances people need to travel for many of their essential trips. Shorter trip distances, in turn, make walking, bicycling, and transit more attractive and can improve quality of life. And as more people travel by foot instead of a private vehicle, officials can feel empowered to build complete streets that include lower speed limits, protected bike lanes, and other amenities.

Toward a New Understanding: The California Statewide Study of People Experiencing Homelessness

June 22, 2023

This report outlines the largest representative study of homelessness in the United States since the mid-1990s. The study provides a comprehensive look at the causes and consequences of homelessness in California and recommends policy changes to shape programs in response.Designed to be representative of all adults 18 years and older experiencing homelessness in California, CASPEH includes nearly 3,200 administered questionnaires and 365 in-depth interviews with adults experiencing homelessness in eight regions of the state, representing urban, rural, and suburban areas. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish, with interpreters for other languages. In partnership with a wide array of community stakeholders, the UCSF BHHI team collected data between October 2021 and November 2022. CASPEH was funded by UCSF BHHI, the California Health Care Foundation, and Blue Shield of California Foundation.

Bringing Zoning into Focus: A Fine-Grained Analysis of Zoning’s Relationships to Housing Affordability, Income Distributions, and Segregation in Connecticut

June 6, 2023

For more than a century, local governments throughout the United States have used zoning to shape future growth. Through rules that regulate what sorts of housing can be built where, localities may either allow for new development or restrict construction to maintain the status quo. Using a first-of-its-kind database of zoning laws across an entire state, we provide evidence that strict zoning regulations limiting construction to single-family homes are associated with inadequate access to affordable housing and with the segregation of people by income, race, and ethnicity.We leverage the Connecticut Zoning Atlas, a unique dataset of zoning texts tied to geospatial files that allow for georeferenced comparisons between the zoning laws adopted by 180 localities. We overlay the geographies of zoning districts on spatially differentiated demographic and economic indicators at the neighborhood level. Analyzing and comparing this information allows us to provide a comprehensive view of the relationships between zoning laws, property values, and residents' demographic and economic characteristics.Our research focuses on a state with stark disparities in residential land uses: only 2 percent of Connecticut's land is zoned to allow the by-right construction of multifamily buildings with three or more units per parcel, while 91 percent of its land allows only the construction of single-family housing by right. Our analysis reveals that suburbs and towns have the most restrictive zoning rules by several measures, while the largest cities more readily permit multifamily construction. We show that the residents of neighborhoods with mostly single-family zoning, on average, have significantly higher household incomes and are much more likely to be white, much less likely to be Black or Hispanic, more likely to have a bachelor's degree, and much more likely to own their homes than residents of neighborhoods where zoning allows for multifamily building construction. These findings paint a picture of a state where localities' zoning either divides or reinforces the division of residents by income, race, ethnicity, and education levels. We also apply a segregation index to explore the associations between zoning rules and neighborhood- and locality-level segregation. After controlling for other characteristics, we find that higher concentrations of high-income and white residents are associated with lower number-of-unit zoning policies. We also find that higher concentrations of low-income, Black, Hispanic, and other residents of color are associated with zoning allowing the construction of two or more housing units per parcel and higher shares of renter-occupied housing.Together, these findings bring new insight into the relationship between zoning policy and residents' geographic distribution. Our results clearly point to the links between zoning laws, rental housing availability, and inequitable distributions of populations within and across jurisdictions. Policymakers considering how to improve access to opportunity while reducing income or racial segregation should evaluate the potential for altering local zoning codes to allow greater diversity of housing construction and tenure types in more places.

Building a Better RAFT: Improving Access to Emergency Rental Assistance in Massachusetts

May 25, 2023

The Residential Assistance for Families in Transition program, better known as RAFT, is a vital lifeline for thousands of families each year who find themselves in danger of homelessness. It provides temporary housing resources to thousands of families each year, thanks to the critical partnership of community-based organizations (CBOs) and regional administrators, who make the complicated system easier for recipients. But could RAFT be more effective? The answer is unequivocally yes. In this report, four organizations with experience in the housing sector - TBF, CHAPA, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay - draw up a list of policy recommendations that could make resources easier to access and more available to families in need.In addition to increasing funding, the brief calls for efforts to simplify and streamline a fragmented system, reduce burdens on applicants for RAFT, and provide resources and other supports for CBOs to better serve applicants throughout the process.

Wealth Opportunities Realized Through Homeownership (WORTH): Baseline Report

May 15, 2023

This report is part of an evaluation of the Wealth Opportunities Realized through Homeownership (WORTH) initiative. Led by the Wells Fargo Foundation, WORTH supports efforts to close persistent disparities in homeownership in Atlanta, Houston, Milwaukee, New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, San Diego, and rural and tribal areas. In each market, we examine housing supply and demand, homebuying activity, homeownership trends, and preservation conditions. We found that in almost every market, white households have higher homeownership rates than every other racial or ethnic group. Moreover, macroeconomic forces driving market conditions, like higher interest rates and moderating house prices, can significantly dampen or thwart market collaboratives' efforts to boost homeownership rates for people of color. Future evaluation will examine the implementation processes used in each market. The larger body of work contributes to understanding the crucial connection between homeownership and wealth-building and the multitude of barriers that households of color face in achieving homeownership. It also supports research-backed strategies for increasing homeownership for households of color and for reducing racial disparities.

What Can Court Data Actually Tell Us About Evictions?

April 20, 2023

Eviction has become one of the most visible manifestations of America's housing crisis, with millions of families facing eviction each year. An abundance of evidence has detailed how eviction is more than a one-time event, but a destructive and traumatic process with lasting and negative consequences.Preventing unnecessary eviction requires better understanding of eviction—including its causes, consequences, and how families navigate the eviction process in the United States. In this report, we explore the primary data source on evictions—the court records generated from eviction lawsuits—and shed light on what information eviction court records can, and just as importantly, cannot tell us about eviction in the United States.

Progress for Who?: Progress Residential Preys on Renters as it Buys Up Homes in Tennessee and the U.S. South

April 14, 2023

Recent headlines have called attention to the expansion of corporate investors in the single-family rental home industry. Corporate landlords' growing acquisition of homes is particularly high in cities throughout the U.S. South, where a dire lack of renter protections has abetted rapid gentrification. In this context, the National Rental Home Council (NRHC), a real estate industry group headed by the largest single-family rental (SFR) landlords to advance their interests, is holding its national conference in Nashville, Tennessee this April 16-19, 2023. Renters have repeatedly demanded that the NRHC, and the corporate landlords that lead it, adopt tenant protections in the homes they own and manage, due to their exploitative business practices.Tennessee has suffered first-hand the harms that can come from the proliferation of corporate-owned rental homes, and Nashville is a key target for the largest predatory landlords. Renters in corporate-owned properties have reported unfair rent hikes, shoddy maintenance, excessive fees, and more. Renters are organizing against evictions, as well as for limits on arbitrary rent increases, and the right to bargain collectively about living conditions.