MacArthur Awards $2.7 Million to Support Research on How Housing Matters to Children’s Education and the Health and Well-Being of Older Adults


Chicago, IL – March 13, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — The MacArthur Foundation announced five grants totaling $2.7 million for research to explore the role housing plays in the long-term health and well-being of children, families, and communities. Recipients will mine and connect existing data sets and resources – such as those from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development, and school statistics – in new ways to reveal insights into the effectiveness of housing policies and related public programs.

These multi-disciplinary research grants will inform important and timely policy discussions about how stable, quality housing may help address the related challenges of scarce housing, financial security, an aging population, increasing health costs, and the achievement gap in education. Four of the five research projects seek to address how housing for older adults can be designed and supplemented with services to achieve improved health and well-being outcomes, while lowering overall health care costs. The fifth project will investigate how, when using housing vouchers, parental housing choices may or may not lead to better school quality and educational outcomes for their children.

Selected through a competitive process from a pool of 212 proposals, the projects were awarded as part of the Foundation’s $25 million research initiative on How Housing Matters to Families and Communities. The initiative is exploring if and how quality, stable, affordable housing promotes positive outcomes in education, employment, and physical health, among other areas. It seeks to determine how investments in housing may help realize a greater return from other social and public investments.

This year’s How Housing Matters grant recipients are:

  • University of Michigan — $886,000 to study whether service and support interventions provided in a retirement community improve outcomes for moderate and low-income seniors as much as those for seniors of greater means;
  • LeadingAge Center for Applied Research — $698,000 to study the impact of service-enriched, publicly-assisted housing on health, quality of life and costs for older adults;
  • Syracuse University — $500,000 to study how housing affordability affects decisions made by older adults about their health care, living arrangements and well-being;
  • The Ohio State University — $427,000 to analyze the use of a reverse mortgage and its impact on older adults’ financial security, well-being, and ability to preserve independent living; and
  • New York University — $202,000 to study if and how housing subsidies improve educational outcomes for children of low-income families.

“In these tough economic times with a challenging housing market, these forward-thinking researchers will contribute to a body of work that will provide solid evidence on the smartest, most cost-effective ways to connect housing, health, community development, and education policy to address the needs of families and communities,” said Ianna Kachoris, housing program officer for the MacArthur Foundation.

Since December 2008, MacArthur has awarded 34 grants through the How Housing Matters initiative, totaling over $17 million. Topics include how housing matters to child development and well-being, and housing’s impact on physical and behavioral health and economic opportunity. Findings will be released over the next few years, as research projects are completed.

MacArthur is a leader in affordable housing, investing over $300 million in grants and program-related investments over the last two decades. The Foundation invests in the preservation of existing rental housing, advances knowledge about the role of housing through rigorous research, and pursues policy innovations and strategies to improve family and community outcomes through housing.

Additional information about these new grants and previously funded housing research projects is available at

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