Equitable Home Mortgage Lending in Camden (REACH)
Housing is a critical social determinant of health. The absence of secure and affordable housing creates chronic stress and can affect present and long-term health. Homeownership is regarded as an important mechanism for both securing affordable and predictable housing costs and building equity. However, people living in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods of color have and continue to face barriers to access affordable and safe credit to make sustainable and wealth-building homeownership possible. Instead, residents in these communities may either be denied credit or steered toward expensive and risky products. Though lending processes, products, and institutions have changed over time, this concern about access to high-quality, affordable credit remains. This two part project in partnership with St. Joseph’s Carpenter Society– a community-based non-profit organization– seeks to better understand lending processes and to consider strategies to address the lending needs of low-income borrowers in Camden, NJ. In Part 1 of the project, we will conduct mixed methods community engaged research to understand the landscape of home mortgage lending in Camden. In Part 2 of the project, we will organize a convening to discuss the findings with practitioners and community members and create a plan to improve access to high-quality credit for Camden borrowers to further housing security. This project has been funded by Rutgers REACH initiative.
Research team members include:
Unhoused in New Brunswick (REACH)
In partnership with Unity Square, a community organization in New Brunswick, an interdisciplinary team of faculty, staff, and students seeks to better understand the experiences of emergency service providers that provide food and other services that are an everyday source of support for people who are unhoused or at-risk of becoming unhoused. These organizations can identify the challenges that they and their clients are experiencing as they attempt to access, or consider accessing, the existing service infrastructure. Further, these organizations can identify areas of unmet need. Lacking access to effective systems or being discouraged from accessing those services due to uncertainty about eligibility and requirements may increase housing precarity with a variety of negative impacts on health. The research team which includes five undergraduate Ralph W. Voorhees Fellows will also identify national innovative strategies for meeting the needs of people who are unhoused or at-risk of becoming unhoused across the country. The team will convene a discussion of emergency service and homeless service providers in New Brunswick to share the results and discuss next steps. This project has been funded by Rutgers REACH initiative.
Research Team members include:
The Landscape of Cooperative and Shared Equity Housing in the United States
James DeFilippis and a set of students – Erica Copeland, Mila Hamilton, Celeste Royo, and John Smith with funding from the Cooperative Development Foundation – are conducting a nationwide “landscape analysis” of the field of shared equity housing for the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF). CDF is interested in moving into co-op and other forms of shared equity housing, and we will be providing a “state of the field” analysis for them as they move into this work.
New Jersey State of Affordable Rental Housing – NJSOARH
The NJSOARH team of Professors Eric Seymour, Kathe Newman, Will Payne, Postdoctoral Associate Shiloh Deitz, doctoral student Lauren Nolan and masters student John Smith are building a housing data infrastructure to describe the landscape of rental housing affordable to lower income households in New Jersey and conducting interviews to better understand the processes that shape housing insecurity. Other team members have included undergraduate Bloustein Honors student Lily Chang and Esther Colon-Bermudez, RISE undergraduate fellow from the University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras as well as masters students Jonathan Bonilla, Erica Copeland, William Downie, Mila Hamilton, and Smriti Singh. An Advisory Committee comprised of leading NJ community development and housing organizations guides the project.
Ralph W. Voorhees Public Service Fellows
The Ralph W. Voorhees Public Service Fellows are working with Replenish, the Middlesex County Food Bank, on mapping networks, resources, gaps and vulnerabilities in the County’s emergency food system to inform the County’s strategic master plan, Destination 2040.
Faith-based Affordable Housing
Nadia Mian received a 2-year grant from the Louisville Institute to examine how US faith-based institutions use their property to build affordable housing while advocating for changing land use, zoning and housing policy. She conducted about 25 interviews with faith-based leaders, urban planners, developers, and affordable housing advocates working on faith-based affordable housing in the US. Kyle Cruz, MCRP, helped with interviews. Her work has been published in Planning Magazine, the trade publication of the American Planning Association, and Shelterforce.
Negotiating Social Futures Seminar Series
Professors Mi Shih and Kathe Newman received support from the Urban Studies Foundation for a series of events to bring global researchers in conversation about the politics of land and value and to provide training and support for early career faculty and students. More than 90 people attended a virtual paper conference in September 2021. A set of papers from that conference is under review at an academic journal. The team hosted a case study workshop in January 2022 and is hosting an-person case study conference in September 2022 at the Bloustein School. Following the conference, Professors Shih and Newman will submitting a book proposal to publish the collected case studies.
Negotiating Social Futures Action Grant
Profs. Mi Shih and Kathe Newman received an Urban Studies Foundation Knowledge Mobilization award in 2021. The objective of this funding is to transform critical urban scholarship to social engagement actions in Taiwan. The local partners of this project include the Lab for Integrated Socio-Spatial Science and Information (LISSI) at National Chengchi University and the Organization of Urban Re-s (OURs). OURs is an influential NGO in Taiwan that has been involved in urban policy making and civic engagement for decades. Collaborating with Dr. Yinghui Chiang at LISSI and Mr. Yang-Kai Peng, Secretary General of OURs, we organized a series of three virtual events on July 30 and 31, 2022. The first was a public talk and the second two were discussion panels. Dr. Shih and Dr. Chiang gave a presentation titled Land’s Social Values: What Kinds of Markets and Urban Futures Have Density Tools Created? That was based on their research on the politics of land development and value capture. Each of the discussion panels was comprised of four scholars and practitioners who have long paid close attention to issues related to land development regulatory tools and affordable housing. Each event attracted more than 120 participants and featured a lively Q&A session.