Race & Assisted Housing: Examining Racial Disparities in Public Housing

“Race and Assisted Housing,” a new study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Professor Sandra J. Newman, PhD, and Senior Research Associate Scott Holupka, PhD, examines racial disparities in public housing for a 10-year period. The study, published in Housing Policy Debate, revealed that, while black and white families were equally likely to reside in public housing - with an equivalent level of dependency on assisted housing between black and white families - black families were more likely to live in neighborhoods of lower quality.

When considering the type of housing assistance, management performance, or the physical quality of project-based housing for low-income families living in public housing assistance between 2000 and 2010, Newman and Holupka found no existence of racial disparity. They did find that black families lived in neighborhoods with higher poverty and unemployment rates, fewer graduates with advanced degrees, and more residents who rely on public assistance.

Newman, who is a frequent speaker at CLPHA meetings, shared early findings on this research while seeking feedback from our members at the 2016 CLPHA Spring Meeting in a presentation called, “New Research on the Importance of Families and Neighborhoods.” At the time, she shared the major finding that there is now parity across race, a change from four decades ago, but she pointed to many factors, including prejudicial landlords, discrimination, and structural reasons, as to why black residents live in neighborhoods with lower quality across various defined aspects.

Newman is the Director of the Center on Housing, Neighborhoods and Communities, at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

You can view the study, Race and Assisted Housing by clicking here.

You can view an article about the study by The Washington Post's Tracy Jan by clicking here