NHPF Survey Compendium
Where You Live Matters
NHPF is a foremost thought leader in identifying affordable housing issues. A large part of our role is providing media with language to accurately explain these issues to various audiences. An important component of our work encompasses consumer and industry research. These NHPF commissioned surveys are offered as part of our commitment to steering the national conversation toward innovative solutions for housing that is affordable to all.
Survey: NHPF Affordable Housing 2022 Results
Survey: Building Popular Support for Affordable Housing
Survey: 44% of Americans Forced Into “Financial Cohabitation”
Survey: Affordable Housing Stakeholders Analyze a Decade of Housing
Survey: New Report from NHPF and Enterprise Community Partners Identifies20 Five Ways to Support Students Experiencing Housing Challenges
Survey: Owners of 100,000+ Units of Multi-Family Affordable Housing
Provide Pandemic Picture One Year Into Lockdown
Survey: P andemic-weary Parents Spend More Than Half Their Day
Worried about Housing
Survey: K -12 Students Face Housing Challenges While Resources and
Supports Remain Elusive
Survey: Top Money Myths Affirmed by Recent College Graduates
Survey: 50% of Seniors and “Near-Seniors” Start the New Year with
Survey: Boomers Unprepared for Looming Retirement
Survey: N early 63% of Moms Say Their Adult Children are Unprepared to 36 Live On Their Own; Over One-Third Unwilling or Unable to Pitch In Financially
Survey: O ne-third of Boomers Report “Housing Affordability” Anxiety at Least Once a Month; 42% of Retirees Have Such Anxiety Daily
Survey: 76% of Millennials Have Made Compromises to Find Affordable
Survey: 75% of Americans Concerned About Losing Housing
Survey: NHPF Affordable Housing 2022 Results
60% believe unconditionally that “housing should be a human right”; 31% believe in the statement with some conditions. • Females are far more likely than males to believe unconditionally (65% vs. 53%). • Men are noticeably more likely than women to want to believe in the statement but need more convincing. • With nearly seventy percent believing in the statement without any conditions, ages 41–55 are significantly more likely than any other age group to support this sentiment. • At 69%, support is highest among households with income of less than $35,000. Among people who do not believe unconditionally, 57% indicate the statement is too broad, 25% note the statement is too political, 24% think making housing a human right would cost them money, and 23% think making housing a human right might take away resources from their families and/or businesses. • At 38%, ages 18–25 have the highest concern about having to fund housing. Although respondents are most likely to rank laying the groundwork for high quality education and a bustling economy number 1 overall, reducing crime and societal ills and promoting better health are equally convincing, on average, that housing should be guaranteed for all.
63% define affordable housing as rental apartments and single-family houses that people can afford while still having money left over for other necessities, 46% define it as rental apartments and single-family homes for people with low to middle income, and 40% consider it government-subsidized rental housing. While only 21% overall think of the “projects” when affordable housing comes to mind, the percentage is highest among ages 18–25 (37%).
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Subsidized or RGI housing receives the most #1 rankings, yet people are equally likely on average to support accessible housing or attainable housing. • Among people who believe unconditionally that housing should be a right, subsidized or RGI housing is the clear #1 choice—36% rank it first.
Respondents are most likely to refer to the homeless as “those experiencing homelessness” and “people living on the street”; 54% of the total sample ranks these terms first or second. • “Those experiencing homeless” is by far the top choice among ages 18–25 and 56+. • “People living on the street” is the top terminology among people whose households earn less than $35k annually and among those who believe unconditionally that housing should be a right. With a mean rating of 3.8 out of 8, stories on TV news and what I see on the streets are the most effective communication tools for encouraging support for affordable housing. Conversely, door-to-door surveying for peoples’ opinions is considered least effective with a mean of 5.6 out of 8. • However, social media earns a mean rating of 3.8 out of 8 among ages 18– 25, making it the most effective communication tool among this age group, outpacing stories on the news (3.9 mean) and what I see on the street (4.0 mean). • What I see on the streets is by far the most effective (3.7 mean) communication tool for households with less than $35,000 in annual income. • Households with annual incomes of $75,000 or more deem stories on the news (3.7 mean) and what I see on the streets (3.9 mean) the most effective tools. • Results are consistent between genders, with both males and females indicating that news stories and personally witnessing things is most effective.
What I see on the streets (4.0 mean) and stories on TV news (4.0 mean) are also the most effective tools for encouraging support for affordable housing. • Consistent with the most effective communication tool, social media (4.1 mean) is the most effective way for encouraging 18–25-year-olds to support affordable housing. • Seeing things on the streets (3.6 mean) is far and away the best way to encourage earners of less than $35,000 annually to support affordable housing. • Conversely, respondents with household income of at least $75,000 would be most encouraged to support affordable housing by seeing stories on TV news (3.8 mean) and reviewing local research that demonstrates the benefits of improving housing in their community (3.9 mean). • Females are most encouraged by stories on the TV news (3.9 mean compared to 4.2 for men), while men would be most encouraged to support affordable housing by what they see on the streets (3.9 mean). Among the total sample, studies showing costs of providing housing versus costs incurred by homelessness (3.2 mean) would be most effective at encouraging support for affordable housing. Voicing concern (4.0 mean) in a forum with decision makers would be least effective. • People with incomes of less than $35,000 per year indicate that meeting with residents of affordable housing to understand their stories (3.2 mean) would be most impactful at encouraging their support. • Females are also keen on meeting with residents of affordable housing (3.3 mean), along with providing success stories of residents who have overcome homelessness (3.3 mean), and studies showing the costs of affordable housing (3.3 mean). Males would be most encouraged by the studies showing costs (3.2 mean). There is no consensus on who is most effective in ensuring creation of affordable housing where it’s needed, though the slight majority (29%) believes it is federal-level housing programs.
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• Females are significantly more likely than males to believe community-based non-profit organizations are most effective 26% vs. 19%). • Ages 18–25 also find community-based non-profits most successful, while older generations all favor federal-level housing programs. • Households with incomes of $75,000 or more say that community-based non- profits are most effective; people with income of less than $75,000 indicate that federal-level housing programs can do the best job of ensuring that affordable housing is created wherever necessary. • People who believe unconditionally that housing should be a human right agree that federal-level housing programs are the most effective. Support for affordable housing could be most encouraged by convincing people that society will benefit (2.7 mean out of 5) and that seniors, veterans, and families will also benefit from building more affordable housing (2.7 mean). With a mean of 3.5, respondents would be least encouraged by improving their financial well-being. • Ages 18–25 would be most enticed by society benefitting due to decreased poverty and crime, and economic opportunity arising as a result (2.5 mean), and like every other age or income group, they would be least motivated by improving their personal financial standing (3.8 mean).
Survey: Building Popular Support for Affordable Housing For people experiencing homelessness and those who are one paycheck away from being homeless Survey Overview/Background and Scope In the summer of 2022, Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI) conducted a survey and associated interviews on behalf of the NHP Foundation (NHPF) to understand attitudes and best practices to building popular support for affordable housing, particularly for individuals experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. What is popular support? It describes positive connections held by the general public that result in favor for certain policies or causes of action. Why do we need popular support for affordable housing for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness? Because affordable housing and supportive services are some of the first and necessary steps to help homeless populations better their quality of life, build just and vibrant communities, and enhance economic prosperity. Building popular support is crucial for many organizations and programs driven by such missions to seek funding, policy support, and operational approval. What is the focus of the survey and interviews? The survey asked about fundamental beliefs in affordable housing and homelessness, how survey participants’ organizations are affected by and/or address homelessness, and common messaging techniques, especially when facing opposition from impacted communities and policies. We surveyed executive directors, managers, and housing program directors from advocacy groups, housing development companies, and service providers working with affordable housing and/or homelessness populations across the country. Respondents included people working in both affordable and supportive housing. We also conducted follow-up interviews with 26 of the survey respondents to gain additional insights into their successes, struggles, and take-aways when developing supportive or affordable housing, with an emphasis on messaging and building popular support for their work. Survey participants across the country The survey includes 73 valid responses from affordable housing developers, housing finance professionals, homeless service providers, policy makers and advocates, and academic researchers from 26 U.S. states.
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Housing Is a Human Right. Homelessness Is Not Fundamentally a Problem of Individuals. Housing Affordability Helps Ameliorate Homelessness.
What are your fundamental beliefs associating Housing and Homelessness? 100% of participants consider housing affordability critical to reducing homelessness 99% believe that housing should be a human right and acknowledge the impact of homelessness beyond the immediate communities. 96% think that homelessness is not fundamentally a problem of individual and it requires significant public resources to ameliorate.
Interview Theme: Housing as a Human Right Most respondents and interviewees agree that housing is a human right.
However, this framing focuses the conversation on values (which are not necessarily shared and are often viewed as partisan) rather than on how access to safe and stable housing for people who need it will benefit all. While the majority of interviewees expressed that the housing as a human right framing is not one that their organization uses or would consider using, a few interviewees cited the Overton window as a reason to continue to push for this framing: if the conservation keeps shifting to the right, then the public’s view of what the moderate perspective is will also shift to the right; if instead the full range of perspectives are considered, views that are truly moderate will continue to be viewed that way.
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Interview Theme: Understanding Community Priorities Places that are predominantly liberal or progressive do not necessarily have more YIMBYs: people may support the idea of affordable housing (and often are comfortable raising taxes to support housing funds), as long as it is not located in their own neighborhoods.
Several interviewees spoke about the need to understand the local context in order to frame the conversation around key issues.
Examples are environmentally sustainable and transit-oriented affordable housing developments in Massachusetts, the Pacific Northwest, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul Twin Cities area, or employment-related framing in places like NW Arkansas. Interview Theme: Local Dynamics In communities with already strong funding for affordable housing, with high rental burdens, and with organizations that have established reputations for building successful affordable housing, people tend to be more supportive. In communities with incomprehensive or biased understanding on affordable housing and population it serves, with residents that have extreme opinions, people tend to be less supportive. To gain support from opponents, advocates need to recognize what type of communities they are dealing with. In general, when framing popular support for affordable housing, interviewees said that there needs to be more nuance than simply progressive versus conservative or high-cost versus lower cost cities in grouping local dynamics.
Interview Theme: Key Strategies Invite residents to tell their stories.
Offer tours of existing developments or show detailed designs, to demonstrate how a development might defer from the public’s baseline understanding of what affordable housing developments look like. Actively listen to concerns. Understanding community pain points can help target an approach.
Understand the community’s key issues in order to frame the conversation most effectively.
Recognize that it may be impossible to obtain 100% support for affordable housing, and that some opponents will not change their minds. Strong supporters such as elected officials, community groups, or individuals can help bring the project to fruition despite not having 100% support.
Interview Theme: Supportive Services Most interviewees operate from a housing first perspective: without housing, one cannot sustain recovery, education, employment, family building. Deeply affordable housing goes beyond the physical structure: it means a more permanently stable living condition, as well as supportive social, financial, and health services that improve the well-being of the residents. Having strong supportive services in place on-site is crucial to mitigating community concerns about affordable housing, particularly in developments that serve populations with specialized needs (including people who have experienced homelessness, people with disabilities, people with mental illnesses, and people with substance use disorders).
Be willing to listen to a community’s concern on affordable housing projects, be ready to resolve potential conflicts, make compromises or adjustments based on community input, and set a goal of community outreach success get your project one step closer to winning the heart of the community. Demonstrate a track record of affordable housing project success, showing the beautiful finish of existing affordable housing units, and connecting existing tenants with community members help a project team build trust with the community. While your audience can be policy-makers, advocacy groups, people experiencing homelessness, community members, etc., speak your audience’s language make your messages clearer and more effective. Allying with organizations that work towards affordable housing can bring you more diverse perspectives, opportunities to connect with stakeholders, and build meaningful and strategic relationships. Housing can provide supportive services that are built into the affordable housing programs, improving not just the living experience, but also the physical and mental health benefits for people experiencing homelessness.
HEAR the needs and wants of the affected community
OFFER existing success and educate about positive change potential
different types of audiences
SEEK alliances and policies that strengthen the case
ENVISION supportive services in place, not just the dwelling units
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Survey: 44% of Americans Forced Into “Financial Cohabitation” Respondents living together to primarily afford rent report mental stress, depression, physical and emotional abuse New York, NY— A recent survey finds that many low to middle income Americans move in together out of financial need rather than personal choice, often inflicting an emotional and physical toll. When asked “are you or a friend or family member currently in a co-living arrangement mainly for financial reasons?” 44% of those surveyed replied “yes.” The NHP Foundation (NHPF), a not-for-profit provider of affordable housing, asked 500 people to describe these types of living arrangements and what, if any, hardships are associated with them. The highest percentage (52%) of those reporting a financially driven co-living situation are individuals with a total household income of less than $50,000 a year (described by The Pew Research Center as “lower-income household”), and 50% of that group entered into such situations less than two years ago. Of those queried, 51% were male and 41% female (non-binary individuals and those preferring not to say totaled less than 3% of respondents) Over half (51%) were aged 18-34, with nearly 40% aged between 35-54. Regionally, the highest percentage (65%) of those living together mainly for financial reasons reside in the West region (those states west of Texas). 54% can’t afford rent. When asked which factors most contributed to a financially motivated co-living arrangement, highlights included:
• (54%) Inability to afford to pay rent independently • (48%) Job loss • (40%) Circumstances caused by Covid-19 • (35%) Shortage of available housing
According to Freddie Mac, as of the fourth quarter of 2020, the U.S. had a housing supply deficit of 3.8 million units, and in 2019, 32% of all households were “housing cost burdened,” spending 30% or more of their income on housing.
Nearly one out of every five people in financially driven housing arrangements reports emotional and/or physical abuse.
While nearly one-third (29%) of those queried consider their situation “very positive” and another third as “somewhat positive”, the final third considers
their living situation “neutral to negative,” with disturbing consequences and implications. Respondents believe that financially forced living situations result in unequal sharing of responsibilities (47%), jealousy (37%), mental stress (42%), depression (37%) and most concerning of all, physical and emotional abuse (19%). Data from the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice (NCCCJ) reveals that the number of domestic violence incidents in the US increased by 8.1% after lockdown orders. What can be done to alleviate the need to live together for financial reasons and to help those currently in such a situation? When asked how helpful landlords, resident services providers, or management companies could be in alleviating the negative impacts of such living arrangements, over 60% of those queried rank onsite or nearby services most highly (“extremely/very helpful”) including childcare, mental health counseling, and financial and/or employment counseling.” Overall, residents in service-enriched affordable housing (permanent rental housing in which social services are available onsite or by referral through a supportive services program or resident services coordinator) experience gains in areas such as financial literacy, academic achievement, job retention and more. Survey respondents were also asked to rank government programs by helpfulness. The highest ranking (“extremely/very helpful”) government actions to alleviate the need for financially motivated co-living relationships include: • (65%) Automatic financial aid at the outset of a crisis (financial, natural disaster, Pandemic) • (65%) Increased affordable housing (specifically housing which is more resilient—built to withstand financial, natural, and medical crises) • (60%) Zoning changes that create more affordable housing options “Experts agree, access to affordable, resilient housing will ensure that people can afford to live with those they choose rather than by what their finances dictate,” according to Richard F. Burns, President & CEO of NHPF. 7 Strategies to Increase Access to Affordable Housing The high price of rent and cost-burdened home ownership are current national woes: the Pandemic, job loss, racial and social inequity, and crushing student debt add to the adversity that is currently forcing some into financial cohabitation, changing relationship dynamics in often unhealthful ways. To that end, NHPF has developed seven strategies to ensure individuals and families can attain and maintain affordable housing.
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1. Foster Creation/Expansion of Automatic Stabilizers for the Housing Market
• Make the Tax Credit Exchange Program permanent to facilitate the exchange or return of unused tax credits for cash grants in the event the LIHTC market should bottom out, as occurs during severe economic downturns. • Automatically increase housing voucher allocations when unemployment rates cross a certain threshold, injecting much needed capital into affordable housing markets while supporting residents in a timely fashion. • Tailor these automatic stabilizers to fit the needs of all stakeholders while side- stepping the often arduous congressional approvals needed for fresh legislation to address individual crises.
2. Make Local, Flexible Policy Shifts to Enable Production and Preservation
• Change zoning density limits enabling multifamily properties. • Increase accessory dwelling units on existing single-family lots • Generate local affordable housing funds to augment state and federal resources for the purpose of developing or preserving affordable rental housing. • Address market differences. Explore raising income thresholds for eligibility in some high-cost markets, as even many moderate-income households find themselves housing cost-burdened.
3. Redouble Efforts to Assist All Underserved Populations
• Increase funding for voucher-based programs benefiting residents with low incomes • Revisit income thresholds for various affordability programs
4. Enhance Capital Support
• Lobby for increased funding of LIHTC, the Capital Magnet Fund, National Housing Trust Fund and other programs that facilitate development and preservation of more affordable rental units. • Seek ways to “bake in” funding for critical onsite resident services.
5. Break Down Barriers to Increase Collaborative Efforts
• Deepen subsidies for developments to be both affordable and economically viable. • Encourage public, philanthropic and private sector to increase their financial roles. • Tweak regulations to enable programs to augment each other in a relatively seamless way.
• Revisit regulations to make them more consistent across programs. Aligning program rules can make it easier for private-sector actors to work in partnership with the public sector producing greater impacts.
6. Be open to bold, new funding ideas
• Consider cryptocurrency. Miami introduced its local cryptocurrency, Miami Coin, which “in under 60 days, generated about $7.5M for the city and can be used for affordable housing.” • Look to other countries. Learn from policies which support stable, affordable rental housing. In these case studies on rental housing specifically in six developed countries, the U.S. stands out as “having spent the least amount of GDP on housing compared to other rich countries.”
7. Capitalize on a Readiness to Address Racial Inequity
• Pursue policies and programs at all levels of government to reverse decades of redlining, home appraisal discrimination, and unequal access to quality housing. • Invest in long under-served populations and places. Among other things, there is a consensus recommendation for strong enforcement and potential expansion of anti-discrimination legislation such as the Fair Housing Act and the Community Reinvestment Act.
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Survey: Affordable Housing Stakeholders Analyze a Decade of Housing Policy Housing industry rates most and least effective policies; findings encourage focus on racial equity and support for policies and innovations that increase capital for affordable housing New York, NY— Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) and The NHP Foundation (NHPF) released today A Decade of Rental Housing Vulnerability: Lessons Learned from Financial Crisis to Coronavirus , a report based on a survey of more than 100 stakeholders from across the affordable housing industry examining how lessons from recent history may inform the affordable housing interventions of today. Survey respondents ranged from developers and lenders to elected officials and researchers. They evaluated policy and programmatic initiatives from three distinct time periods: the Great Recession and Aftermath (2008–2011), Rebuilding in a Divided United States (2012–2019), and the Pandemic and Social Upheaval (2020–2021). The report’s key findings include: • Policies of the past have exacerbated housing vulnerability for low-income renters: Each time federal support for housing is slashed, affordable housing production slows down, placing more families in jeopardy. • Support for vulnerable groups is inconsistent: Veterans and seniors were the only groups respondents agreed have received adequate support in affordable housing policy and programs. Formerly incarcerated individuals and immigrants were seen as having received the least support out of all demographic groups. • Responsibility for addressing racial inequity is shared: 86% of respondents agreed that government should bear primary responsibility for addressing racial and ethnic disparities in accessing and keeping affordable housing, but more than 50% believe that primary responsibility is also shared by developers, local citizens, and lenders/investors. • Public sector support and federal government involvement are essential to address the affordable housing crisis. All surveyed groups agreed that the rollbacks in federal support for housing programs between the Great Recession and the Covid-19 pandemic had the most strongly negative consequences for affordable housing availability, and more than 80 percent of respondents believed public sector actors must be more active in creating and preserving affordable housing.
• State and local housing funds are transformative: The emergence of dedicated funds for housing at the state and local level, some of which were approved by voter referenda, was seen as the most effective individual intervention to increase affordable housing availability. • America’s housing policy is learning from the past. Respondents agreed that the overall effectiveness of affordable housing policies has steadily increased over the past decade. “What’s clear from the survey findings is that individuals and companies in every sector have a role to play in addressing the affordable housing challenges we face, and making progress requires strengthening the ways in which we work together,” said Jacqueline Waggoner, president of the Solutions Division at Enterprise. “As communities weather the Covid-19 pandemic, we should learn from recent history and not allow support for affordable housing to wane once the worst of the current crisis has passed.” Based on the survey findings, Enterprise and NHPF recommend a series of policy recommendations, including: • Leverage society’s current urgency to address persistent racial and ethnic disparities in accessing, keeping quality housing. The report recommends strong enforcement and potential expansion of anti-discrimination legislation such as the Fair Housing Act and the Community Reinvestment Act. • Redouble efforts to assist all underserved populations. Although respondents believe the needs of veterans and seniors are being at least adequately met, every other group – unhoused Americans, people with disabilities, the formerly incarcerated, rural populations and those with lower incomes in general, are all perceived to be inadequately served by existing policy. • Create/expand automatic stabilizers for the housing market. Given the difficulty of passing meaningful and impactful legislation during acute crises or periods of pronounced economic or political strain, Congress should fund programs that act as affordable housing stabilizers, delivering much-needed support tailored to fit the needs of all stakeholders in the housing ecosystem. • Support programs that grow the supply of affordable homes by increasing capital, unearthing novel capital sources. Increased funding for the Low- Income Housing Tax Credit, Capital Magnet Fund, and other programs that facilitate the development and preservation of more affordable rental units would have an outsized impact.
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• Make local, flexible policy shifts to ease regulatory burdens. At the local level, modifying land use policies to allow greater density and taking other steps to address regulatory barriers would effectively increase the availability and affordability of rental homes. • Make collaboration easier among the public, private and philanthropic sectors. Tweaking regulations to enable these three actors to augment each other in relatively seamless ways, or making regulations consistent across programs, could increase their ability to address the affordable housing crisis. “Solely creating more housing that is affordable isn’t the answer,” said Richard F. Burns, President & CEO, The NHP Foundation. “Housing of the future must be planned, funded and built with the resiliency to withstand financial, natural and other crises to provide families of the future with a home they can count on, come what may.” About the Survey Enterprise and Econsult jointly developed the survey in the summer of 2021, in consultation with NHPF. The survey contained a series of primarily closed- end questions relating to various policies and events that have influenced the residential marketplace during the past 15 years and asked normative questions about perceived inequities in the affordable housing marketplace and the extent to which different actors have a responsibility to address them. Enterprise and Econsult sought to obtain a wide range of perspectives from those working within the affordable housing industry. To that end, they sent the survey to approximately 700 individuals involved as for-profit or nonprofit developers, lenders, elected officials, other public officials, researchers, and advocates. They identified potential respondents through lists of contacts developed by Enterprise, NHPF, and other key informants, many of whom subsequently completed the on-line survey. During the approximately four weeks that the survey was open, we received valid responses from 103 separate individuals.
Survey: New Report from NHPF and Enterprise Community Partners Identifies Five Ways to Support Students Experiencing Housing Challenges Informed by a survey of educators, Enterprise Community Partners and The NHP Foundation offer recommendations for ensuring educational success for students facing housing instability New York, NY— Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) and The NHP Foundation (NHPF) today released a joint industry report, Growing Up & Out of Poverty: Enhancing Academic Success Through the Intersection of Housing and Education, highlighting trends and offering recommendations on how schools, communities, housing providers and nonprofits can work together to address housing challenges that impact educational outcomes for young people. “Research shows that housing instability is harmful to a student’s development and educational achievement. By coming together to address it early on, educators, housing providers and their partners can change the trajectory of a child’s life,” said Stephany De Scisciolo, VP of Knowledge, Impact & Strategy, Enterprise. Following a nationally representative survey of 500 educators from across the country, Enterprise and NHPF found that three-quarters of respondents reported housing-related challenges—including homelessness, evictions, frequent moves, overcrowded living conditions and poor-quality housing—are somewhat common or very common among their students. Nearly 90 percent of educators reported that these challenges have a moderate or significant impact on the educational performance of young people. At the same time, more than one in three educators (38%) indicated they do not know how to connect students experiencing housing challenges with necessary supports, including housing, academic assistance, mental health services and others. “What has become apparent is that many educators need help connecting families experiencing housing instability with the critical resources they need,” said Richard Burns, president and CEO of NHPF. “We encourage all school districts to partner with local community development and human service providers to identify the available resources and any gaps that may be apparent in making connections.”
In the industry report, Enterprise and NHPF identify five main recommendations to better support students experiencing housing instability:
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1. Increase the availability of service-enriched housing. When supports like before- and after-school programs or other resources are not provided by schools, making them available at home through neighborhood nonprofits and housing providers can help students do better in school and lead to better outcomes in life. 2. Enhance staff training and improve support plans. Many schools and districts do not train educators on how to assist students experiencing housing challenges. Community developers and schools can work together to establish what steps a school should take when needed to ensure students and families get the support they need. 3. Recognize the importance of building trust with students and families. Schools and housing providers need strong communication and referral mechanisms to help families understand that services are available and do not come with strings attached. Service coordinators in housing developments can work closely with residents to help overcome these challenges. 4. Remove barriers faced by educators to connect students with supportive services. Many educators do not know what services are available, how to help students overcome the perceived stigma of relying on support services or what families can expect when using them. Building relationships between housing service providers and educators can help bridge this gap and get assistance to students and families faster. 5. Create and promote cross-sector partnerships to ensure families are served and supports are aligned. By working together across their respective sectors, community development, human services and education partners can leverage their resources and skills to improve a set of agreed-upon, shared outcomes. The full report can be found here. Initial findings were revealed at NHPF’s annual symposium on October 14, 2020. About the Survey The educators surveyed were spread out across the country and worked in urban, suburban and rural schools serving students from kindergarten through grade 12. They represent traditional public schools, charter schools and full-service community schools. Half of the educators work in Title I schools, in which 40 percent of the students come from low-income households.
Survey: Owners of 100,000+ Units of Multi-Family Affordable Housing Provide Pandemic Picture One Year Into Lockdown This survey of affordable housing owners representing 104,112 units in 49 states, The District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico was conducted by SAHF (Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future) the week of March 1, 2021. New York, NY— Fully one half (50%) of not-for-profit owners of multi-family and senior affordable housing across the country, report they spend “half to most” of their day worrying about the renters in their units. These owners, responding anonymously to a survey on rental housing vulnerability, are most worried about renters’ ability to pay rent, followed by worries of an outbreak of Covid-19 at their property. This data is comparable to a recent companion study by The NHP Foundation conducted of 1,000 low to middle income renters across the country which found that more than half of parents of school-age children in rental housing spend at least “a few hours up to most” of their day worrying about their housing situation as a result of the pandemic. This survey of affordable housing owners representing 104,112 units in 49 states, The District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico was conducted by SAHF (Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future) the week of March 1, 2021. While all respondents report that the impact of the pandemic has been “somewhat” to “very” negative on organization operations, the ways in which they experienced this negativity varies, with 83% experiencing both a reduction in cash flow and outbreaks of Covid-19 in their buildings and another 33% coping with delays in real estate transactions and acquisitions. The survey also uncovered concern about reputation management as property owners coped with reports of Covid at facilities with at-risk populations. Others expressed concern at the need to cut back critical on-site resident services out of safety concerns during the pandemic. When asked how organizations were coping with financial challenges, a third (33%) reported delaying raises and promotions of staff. One survey respondent reported receiving a capital infusion from its parent company to assist with cash flow while another has saved money on previously high travel expenses.
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Other findings include: • 83% of owners report the main way that Covid has affected renters in their properties is missed rent, which averages between $1,000-$2,499 per unit in arrears. • 100% of owners queried find that the number one renter concern during the pandemic has been the inability to see family and friends. This is followed by 66% who find that residents adapting to new social norms (masking and distancing) is the most challenging. Another 50% claim the residents at their properties have most difficulty coping with less than adequate internet services. • 43% of renters from the analogous NHPF survey asked the same question agreed with property owners, citing their number one concern as the inability to see friends/family, with nearly a third (31%) citing “difficulty adjusting to social norms” (masks, social distancing), and 26% finding the adjustment to remote learning for their children difficult. When asked about resources for helping to maintain stable housing, property owners believed the most help comes from equally from landlords, religious organizations/NGOs and social services, followed by family and friends. This finding stands in stark contrast to the renter survey, where assistance from family and friends ranked highest (60%), with 28% ranking assistance from landlord and management companies highest. To address this discrepancy between property owners and renters in how they maintain housing, Ken White, executive director & COO of Operation Pathways, NHPF’s resident services subsidiary says that a resident-centered and strengths- based coaching model would help resolve issues. “In cases involving rent assistance, coaches help residents identify and consider options within their extended families, churches, workplaces, and other affiliations, in addition to special charitable funds and government assistance that coaches suggest,” White added, “Residents and coaches together find solutions unique to each particular household and situation.” Finally, according to Richard F. Burns, President & CEO, The NHP Foundation, “Comparing what our industry peers say about coping with Covid-19 against what residents say gives a very complete picture of life in affordable housing one year into the pandemic and we see some lessons learned that can benefit both groups.”
Preliminary Lessons Learned 1. Federal programs must be improved: As with many bureaucratic solutions, relief such as the CARES Act must be more easily attainable, move at a quicker pace and be less administratively burdensome. In a nutshell, deploy broadly available emergency rental assistance faster. 2. Resident Services are vital: With most properties shifting their resident services to focus on providing meals, PPE, etc. rather than in-person programming, the pandemic validated more than ever the importance of on-site service provision. The study also points to another benefit of resident services: 83% of respondents report evidence that participation in such services programs helps prevent skips and evictions. Finally, a study of educators conducted by The NHP Foundation and Enterprise Community Partners in 2020 further concluded that “housing and service providers should work collaboratively with schools to develop formal service provider partnerships so schools can more easily connect students and their families with the assistance they need.” 3. Landlords and management companies need to rethink how they provide resources to help renters stay housed. Property owners view themselves as a key provider of resources for renters, however few renters rank owners as highly as they do family and friends. What does this discrepancy tell us? Owners may want to probe deeper on this issue. We have all learned that residents in affordable housing are resilient, looking to find any way they could to pay rent during these difficult times. Property owners and managers need to continue to foster good relations with residents which will put everyone in a better place for the next health or financial crisis. 4. The industry can survive with less travel. This is a big takeaway for a couple of large providers in the survey, Anecdotal conversations within the industry have reported the same finding. While nothing will ever totally replace in- person contact, it has become clear that constructive, productive work can be accomplished working remotely. NHPF successfully pivoted to an all virtual format for its 4th annual Symposium “Growing Up & Out of Poverty: Why Housing Matters” which successfully drew 91 corporate sponsors and over 400 attendees during a year when Covid-19 prevented most live events. 5. Short and long-term business strategies must be adapted. Additional comments from respondents as well as other industry conversations point to this: In the short-term developers, must factor in additional care for residents, fluctuating collection rates, and resulting cash flow concerns. In the long- term, the industry must take more care on the construction side to make
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every dollar work harder. And most importantly during this health crisis, the utmost care and all available measures must be taken to move all residents to temporary relocated housing during a renovation. This may make a project take longer to complete, but the knowledge gained in performing temporary relocations following the pandemic will prove invaluable.
Survey: Pandemic-weary Parents Spend More Than Half Their Day Worried about Housing Study from affordable housing provider queried families nationwide on Covid- related housing and financial woes; results point to vulnerability of existing affordable housing and urgent need for more New York, NY— A new study conducted by The NHP Foundation (NHPF) found that over half of parents of school-age children in rental housing spend at least a few hours worrying about their housing situation as a result of the pandemic. In over one-third of cases, parents worry about housing for “most of the day.” NHPF undertook the study, From Financial Crisis to Coronavirus: Rental Housing Vulnerability in a Decade of Economic Turmoil to determine how today’s renters of affordable housing have been impacted by the pandemic as well as persistent racial inequities and a highly charged political environment. Many of these same renters may have also experienced economic duress during the 2009 financial crisis resulting in similar housing hardships. The findings are based on answers from 1,000 renters earning less than $75,000 per year with half of those surveyed earning less than $30,000 a year. Housing and emotional and physical well-being: • 58% of parents of school-age children in rental housing spend a minimum of a few hours worrying about their housing situation as a result of the pandemic. In over one-third of cases, (38%) the time spent is as much as “most of the day” • The greatest single worry for these parents is fear of contracting Covid-19 (41%) followed by affording rent (28%) • Political/social justice stressors impacted parents in the west the highest with 15% of those queried ranking it “most worrisome” Takeaway During this unprecedented time of uncertainty and fear, our findings of “high anxiety” about health support those of a recent Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) study showing that the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession have negatively affected many people’s mental health and created new barriers for those already suffering health problems.
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“These findings confirm that housing is one of the most critical social determinants of health. Even while we are fighting this pandemic, if we want our country healthy again we must redouble our efforts to break down barriers to affordable housing and healthcare for all Americans.” — Dan Field, Executive Director, Community Health & External Affairs, Kaiser-Permanente Housing Stability and Rent • 50% of parents surveyed claim their housing situation was negatively impacted in 2020 • 34% have missed rent payments, up from 12% who missed such payments anytime during the previous decade • The majority of those surveyed who missed rent payments owed between $1,000-$4,999 • Slightly more than 10% of these renters felt a financial squeeze in the last decade and 68% of them reported owing rent payments also between $1,000- $4,999 at some point during the decade Takeaway The eviction moratorium means many of these renters are able to stay in their current housing, however the Aspen Institute finds that tens of millions of people owing back rent may soon be forced out of their homes even with the extension of the eviction moratorium “The Covid-19 pandemic has had devastating impacts on renters’ economic, physical, and emotional well-being. Stable, decent quality, affordable housing is a critical component of the social safety net, and should be funded accordingly.” —Jenny Schuetz, Senior Fellow, Brookings
Survey: K-12 Students Face Housing Challenges While Resources and Supports Remain Elusive Current economic, educational and societal factors prompted leading not-for- profit survey of educators on the connection between housing stability and educational outcomes New York, NY— Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) and The NHP Foundation (NHPF) today released findings from joint research exploring educators’ perspectives on the intersection of housing and education, revealing that 3 in 4 educators (76%) reported housing-related challenges are somewhat common or very common among their students. At the same time, more than 1 in 3 educators (38%) indicate they do not know how to connect students experiencing housing challenges with necessary supports, including housing, academic assistance, mental health services and others. The findings are based on a nationally representative survey of 500 educators from across the country. In examining how housing-related challenges—including homelessness, evictions, frequent moves, overcrowded living conditions and poor-quality housing—impact student academic performance, the research also identifies gaps in support for educators and possible solutions for both community development and education professionals. Key Findings • Housing-related challenges among students are widespread: 76% of educators reported housing-related challenges are somewhat common or very common among their students. • In Title 1 schools, which serve primarily students from low-income households, 87% of the staff surveyed said that housing challenges are common. In non-Title 1 schools, 65% of staff surveyed indicated housing challenges are common. • Educators face barriers to connecting students with housing supports: 38% of educators did not know how to connect students with supports and services. • Almost half (44%) of educators indicated they have had no training in identifying and supporting students experiencing housing-related challenges. • Educators in Title I schools, despite serving a greater proportion of students experiencing housing challenges, are less likely to know how to connect a student to supports and services than their peers in non-Title I schools.
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