Roundtable: The Future of Housing Policy and Research: Lessons for the Next President and Congress
(Housing & Community Development)

Thursday, November 8, 2012: 1:15 PM-2:45 PM
International C (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizers:  Xavier Briggs, MIT
Speakers:  Raphael Bostic, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Sandra Newman, Johns Hopkins University, Jeffrey Lubell, Center for Housing Policy and Andrew Jakabovics, Enterprise Community Partners
Moderators:  Xavier Briggs, MIT

The eve of the new Congress and presidential term presents an ideal moment to take stock of federal housing policy and relevant research—and to chart their future. The year 2012 is not simply an election year; it also follows an extraordinary series of developments in housing: the placement of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into receivership; a widespread crash in house prices resulting in a $7 trillion loss in home equity; a wave of foreclosures larger than any seen since the Great Depression. On the policy front, we have seen the launch of unprecedented and much-debated foreclosure programs by the Obama Administration, the introduction of large-scale homelessness prevention through the Recovery Act, and the development of the first-ever, multi-agency Federal Strategic Plan to end homelessness. What is more, we have seen a wide array of measures to reform existing federal housing programs, better link them to health and supportive services —all in the face of tighter federal budgets, a sharp increase in joblessness and poverty, and major changes in the Government Performance and Results Act. Some of these developments were reflected in, and also reflected, a renaissance in policy development and research at HUD and the launch of the public/private What Works Collaborative to strengthen the role of research in HUD’s policymaking. This reinvestment in research capacity on federal urban policy followed the recommendations of a 2007-08 National Academy of Sciences panel (reported and discussed at APPAM in the fall 2008 research conference). As such, this roundtable will address three main questions: What are the most important housing policy accomplishments and shortcomings of the past four years? What are the prospects for making significant progress on important problems in the new term, with the next Congress? What have we learned about making research more useful for policy, and what key knowledge gaps and issues should we prioritize in the years ahead? The roundtable participants have held multiple roles at the forefront of housing policy and program design, budgeting, and research and evaluation. Participants include several members of the afore-mentioned NAS panel (Bostic, Newman), a lead organizer and researcher in What Works (Ellen), influential veteran housing policy researchers (all), one of the nation’s most experienced and respected nonprofit policy advocates and a former HUD official (Lubell), a recent assistant secretary of policy development and research at HUD (Bostic), and the former associate director of the White House Office of Management and Budget whose portfolio included HUD, Treasury, the financial regulators, and other agencies (Briggs).

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