Research Roundup: The Latest Industry Reports on the Public Charge Rule, Neighborhood Mobility, and COVID-19 Housing Instability in CA

Date Published: 
October 21st, 2020
  • The Trump Administration implemented changes to the “public charge” test earlier this year, an evaluation of those applying for permanent residence to determine if they are likely to use public assistance in the future. The public charge test now considers assistance such as SNAP, Medicaid, CASH assistance such as TANF or SSI, and federal housing assistance. A new study inHealthAffairs reports negative impacts of the expansion of assistance programs included under public charge. An increase in a county’s share of non-citizens was associated with a small reduction in child Medicaid use, showing evidence of a chilling effect among noncitizens’ use of public assistance as many advocates and service providers had feared. 

  • A new paper from the Urban Institute’s Martha Galvez and Opportunity Insights’ Sarah Oppenheimer reviews strategies for improving neighborhood options for voucher holders. Improvements to HCV administrative procedures, landlord participation initiatives, waivers made available through MTW status and CARES, revaluating payment standards may all help increase geographic choice.  

  • The Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley has new analysis of housing instability among California renters amid the pandemic. Using data from the Census Pulse Survey, a new household survey focused specifically on COVID-19 hardship, the Terner Center reports that 42 percent of renters in California who were behind on their rent payments stated that they were somewhat or very likely to face eviction in the next two months. Most households behind on their rent (60.6%) live in small properties with 4 or fewer units, highlighting the domino effect of late payments for small landlords who face mortgages, property taxes, and insurance payments. 

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