Panel: Housing Instability: Prevalence, Consequences, and Policy
(Housing, Community Development, and Urban Policy)

Friday, November 9, 2018: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Jackson - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Marah A. Curtis, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Discussants:  Gary Painter, University of Southern California and Laryssa Mykyta, U.S. Census Bureau

The Earned Income Tax Credit, Housing Instability, and the Living Arrangements of Single Mothers
Natasha Pilkauskas, University of Michigan and Katherine Michelmore, Syracuse University

Modeling Health Care and Emergency Shelter Cost Offsets Associated with Expanding Housing Interventions for Older Homeless Adults
Thomas Byrne, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Daniel Miller, Boston University

The Risk of Homelessness Among Michigan Students
H. Luke Shaefer, Michael Evangelist and Jennifer Erb-Downward, University of Michigan

Stable housing and living arrangements are key for the economic, physical and emotional wellbeing of families and individuals. However, housing instability (homelessness, eviction, shared living arrangements/doubling-up, crowding, moves) has become increasingly common (e.g. Desmond 2016), as housing affordability has declined (Joint Center for Housing Studies 2017). This panel brings together researchers from a variety of institutions to examine the interaction between public policy and housing instability. Two papers focus on how policy might reduce housing instability and two papers document the extent of housing instability and consequences in other policy arenas (health and education). Together this panel will help us better understand how public policy might be used to reduce housing instability.

Specifically, the panel will examine the following issues related to housing instability:

  • Michelmore and Pilkauskas use the CPS to examine how federal and state expansions to the EITC impact housing instability (moving, shared living arrangements/doubling-up, evictions, and household instability). The authors find that a $1000 increase in the EITC does little to reduce the most extreme forms of housing instability (homelessness and eviction), but the EITC reduces doubling-up by 2-3 percentage points, increases moves to better neighborhoods/homes, and reduces the number of coresident adults in the household. Results suggest expansions to the EITC might help low-income families find more stable housing.
  • Gold uses four decades of the PSID to study the link between receipt of housing assistance (using linked data from the Assisted Housing Database to improve accuracy of housing subsidy reports) and residential crowding, which in prior research been linked with poorer outcomes for children (e.g. Lopoo & London 2016). Preliminary findings suggest that both public housing and voucher receipt reduces household crowding. Findings suggest that those who receive assistance likely experience improved living conditions.
  • Byrne and Miller use data from an emergency shelter system linked with Medicaid claims data to examine the impact of homelessness on Medicaid claims, to forecast future homelessness rates, and expected health care and emergency shelter costs. Using cohort-component methods, they find that absent any policy interventions, emergency shelter use will dramatically increase (45-230% depending on age and year). They estimate health care costs to rise in similar proportions but that expanding housing and supportive services could reduce these future costs dramatically.
  • Shaefer, Evangelist and Erb-Downward use administrative data from Michigan (2003-2016) to examine the risk of homelessness among students. By following children over time, examining differences by socioeconomic status and neighborhood characteristics, and links with school outcomes, this study extends our knowledge of homelessness among school-aged children. Preliminary results suggest that about 12 % of children in Michigan public schools will face homelessness at some point between Kindergarten and grade 12 and that graduation rates among those who experience homelessness are much lower than those who do not face homelessness.

Contribution of the panel to policy: By documenting how policy impacts housing instability and how in turn, housing instability affects wellbeing and spills over into other important policy domains, this panel tackles an important and timely housing and poverty policy topic.