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Urban Institute researchers monitor and assess housing market trends, affordable housing, homelessness, federal housing assistance, racial disparities and housing discrimination, and community revitalization. We recommended greater regulation and reforms for subprime mortgages before the housing market collapse and continue to follow its effects on families and neighborhoods. Our research informs decisionmakers with neighborhood-level data and evaluations of federal housing programs. Read more.

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Surviving the Streets of New York: Experiences of LGBTQ Youth, YMSM, and YWSW Engaged in Survival Sex (Research Report)
Meredith Dank, Jennifer Yahner, Kuniko Madden, Isela Banuelos, Lilly Yu, Andrea Ritchie, Mitchyll Mora, Brendan Conner

Based on interviews with 283 youth in New York City, this is the first study to focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth; young men who have sex with men (YMSM); and young women who have sex with women (YWSW) who get involved in the commercial sex market in order to meet basic survival needs, such as food or shelter. The report documents these youth’s experiences and characteristics to gain a better understanding of why they engage in survival sex, describes how the support networks and systems in their lives have both helped them and let them down, and makes recommendations for better meeting the needs of this vulnerable population.

Posted to Web: February 25, 2015Publication Date: February 25, 2015

Housing Finance At A Glance: A Monthly Chartbook: February 2015 (Fact Sheet / Data at a Glance)
Laurie Goodman, Ellen Seidman, Jim Parrott, Sheryl Pardo, Jun Zhu, Wei Li, Bing Bai, Karan Kaul, Taz George, Maia Woluchem, Alison Rincon

This month's edition of At A Glance, the Housing Finance Policy Center's reference guide for mortgage and housing market data, includes a special quarterly feature on GSE loan composition, repurchase rates, defaults, and loss severity.

Posted to Web: February 17, 2015Publication Date: February 17, 2015

Helping Families Involved in the Child Welfare System Achieve Housing Stability (Research Report)
Mary K. Cunningham, Mike Pergamit, Abigail Baum, Jessica Luna

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)‘s Family Unification Program (FUP) provides low-income families involved in the child welfare system with housing vouchers. FUP is an important vehicle for understanding three issues: (1) the overlap between the child welfare system, housing, and homelessness; (2) how to provide housing to vulnerable, high-need families; and (3) how to facilitate cross-system partnerships between public housing agencies and child welfare agencies. The Urban Institute studied FUP design and implementation in eight sites and interviewed key staff and stakeholders about the program’s implementation and impact, highlighting common challenges, innovative practices, and system-level impacts.

Posted to Web: February 11, 2015Publication Date: February 11, 2015

The US Treasury's Credit Rating Agency Exercise: First Steps Out of the Private-Label Securities Desert (Research Report)
Laurie Goodman, Jim Parrott

As part of an effort to revive the moribund private-label securities (PLS) market, the US Treasury Department recently conducted an exercise with the major credit rating agencies. This exercise was intended to boost investor confidence in the ratings process—a critical piece of the PLS system that failed during the housing crisis. The exercise revealed five important lessons we discuss in this brief.

Posted to Web: February 06, 2015Publication Date: February 06, 2015

Understanding the Environmental Contexts of Boys and Young Men of Color (Occasional Paper)
Lynette A. Rawlings

The environments in which children grow up profoundly shape their socio-emotional health and development and set the stage for future success. This essay provides a framework for understanding how various settings influence lives of boys and young men of color. Failure to take these environments into account treats the problems experienced by this group as entirely of their own making and ignores the role that external forces play in contributing to poor outcomes. This essay provides a context for future research and analysis, in hopes that it will examine the lives and circumstances of boys and young men of color using more complex and nuanced perspectives.

Posted to Web: February 04, 2015Publication Date: February 04, 2015

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