MacArthur Awards $5.6 Million to Support Research on How Housing Matters to Children, Families, and Communities


Chicago, IL – February 7, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today announced nine grants totaling $5.6 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, such as the U.S. Census and school statistics, in new ways to reveal insights into the effectiveness of housing policies and related public programs.”MacArthur’s support for these research efforts will arm policymakers, housing and social service providers with evidence about the long-term implications of housing programs and policies,” said Michael Stegman, MacArthur’s Director of Policy and Housing. “The awardees have gained unprecedented access to data sets that have never before been integrated and analyzed. We expect their findings to provide powerful information for policymakers and the public to make sound decisions about the future of housing and social policy in this country.”

The nine projects, selected through a competitive process from a pool of 150, were awarded as part of the Foundation’s $25 million initiative on How Housing Matters to Families and Communities. The initiative is based on the premise that stable, affordable housing is an essential platform that promotes positive outcomes in education, employment, and physical health by helping to ensure a greater return from other social and public investments. The goal is to help policymakers better direct increasingly scarce public resources to enhance housing outcomes and to achieve broader goals of healthier, better educated, and more successful families and communities.

The nine grant recipients are a mix of studies on the relationship between housing and a series of social and economic concerns including education, health, and economic opportunity:

  • Boston College — $900,000 to study the impact of low-income families’ housing decisions on children’s well-being;
  • New York University — $800,000 to study the impact of housing instability due to foreclosure on school performance;
  • The University of Maryland — $700,000 to model the impact of housing subsidies on children’s future participation in the labor force;
  • RAND Corporation — $600,000 to study whether social networks are a key pathway through which low-income residents realize the social and economic benefits of living in mixed-income housing or neighborhoods;
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison — $600,000 to study the effects of federal and state income support policies on homeownership stability and child maltreatment;
  • Brown University — $500,000 to support a study on the relationship between compulsory savings and homeownership in Mexico and on the effects of homeownership on formal labor market participation;
  • Harvard University — $300,000 to study the long-term social, psychological, and economic implications of eviction; and
  • University of Chicago — $200,000 for a study on the impact of childhood housing instability on long-term health and education outcomes.

These are the second round of grants made through MacArthur’s competitive housing research initiative. The first set was awarded in December 2009. In addition, seven invited grants were awarded in 2008 to provide the research community with concrete examples and demonstrate the Foundation’s commitment to enlarging the quality and diversity of research in these areas. The Foundation will offer a third round of competitive funding in 2011, with details to follow on our website no later than March 2011.

MacArthur is a leader in affordable housing, investing over $300 million over the last two decades. The Foundation actively 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.

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