Funded on September 1, 2022

Housing conditions are broadly understood to affect health, with research linking cost, crowding, unit quality, homelessness, eviction, foreclosure, and other individual-level housing exposures to a wide range of mental and physical health outcomes. These exposures are often considered distinct from one another, with equally distinct policy interventions.  

Policy recommendations largely address specific threats, such as preventing evictions or reducing environmental health threats in units. But, given this focus, research can overlook policy responses that target structural racism in the housing market and its impacts on health. By contrast, urban planning increasingly views housing market conditions that produce overcrowding, enable substandard unit conditions, increase housing cost, and create housing instability as consequences of market-based approaches to housing provision resulting from racial capitalism.  

This project aims to understand the health equity implications of local innovations in housing that directly address mechanisms that have enabled the racialization of housing cost burden. The study will examine four community-driven housing intervention policies: community land trusts (CLTs); housing innovations in green energy, inclusionary housing, and reparations. In addition to national scans of important initiatives, the hub’s project focuses on emerging local innovations in cities that are using explicitly antiracist approaches to limit racialized wealth extraction and dispossession of minoritized people.  

These studies will be advised by a multiracial consortium of residents and community-based organization leaders, including work in the metropolitan areas of Boston and Chicago; Fresno and Merced, California; and Memphis, Tennessee. Several questions underpin the research:  

  1. How are large cities and surrounding midsize municipalities enacting policies related to CLTs, housing innovations in green energy, inclusionary housing policies, and Black-centered housing reparations in pursuit of antiracist housing outcomes? 

  1. How do municipalities and their stakeholders incorporate antiracist processes in design of policies in these four areas? 

  1. How do policies that challenge the ability of landlords, development firms, and institutional investors in housing to profit from the dispossession and displacement of Black and other minoritized people affect health? 

  1. How can findings about health and housing outcomes for targeted households involved in housing policy interventions be used to reverse racial and ethnic disparities?  

Partner organizations, in conjunction with additional community-based organizations: 

National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities, Case Western University 

Housing, Opportunity, and Place (HOPe) Lab at the University of California, Merced

The Works, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee 

Healthy Neighborhoods Study Research Consortium