Working Papers

Empowering Resident Leaders: Lessons from NeighborWorks’ Community Leadership Institute

Author: Margaret Haltom | April 24, 2020

Since 1993, NeighborWorks America has convened over 15,000 lower-income resident leaders at the Community Leadership Institute (CLI). From nearly three decades of large-scale resident support, the CLI stands out as the nation’s largest effort to amplify resident voices, but no research has explored the CLI’s outcomes, or sought to understand what the resident experience is like, or what community initiatives have resulted following the CLI. This paper offers the first review of the CLI, informed by conversations with more than 70 resident participants, qualitative and quantitative data from 493 participant questionnaires, and case studies of two affordable housing provider....

More for Less? An Inquiry into Design and Construction Strategies for Addressing Multifamily Housing Costs

Author: Hannah Hoyt | March 16, 2020

How can developers, architects and contractors address multifamily housing costs through design and construction decisions?...

The Association Between High Mortgage Debt and Financial Well-Being in Old Age: Implications for the Financial Education Field

Authors: Alexander Hermann, Christopher Herbert, Jennifer Molinsky | February 10, 2020

Over the last few decades the share of older homeowners (age 62 and older) with mortgage debt has doubled, while the typical amount of outstanding debt relative to home values among this group has tripled. Older homeowners still paying off mortgage debt face high rates of housing cost burdens (paying more than 30 percent of income for housing), leaving less income for other necessities. In addition, homeowners with higher mortgage debt have less housing equity to tap for critical needs and face the ongoing risk of foreclosure. ...

Demystifying GSE Credit Risk Transfer: Part II - How, and How Well, Does It Work?

Author: Don Layton | February 03, 2020

Credit risk transfer (CRT) has become, in relatively quick order, a core component of the business model of the two Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and very substantially improves that business model. In this paper, Don Layton explains how CRT works....

Demystifying GSE Credit Risk Transfer: Part I – What Problems Are We Trying to Solve?

Author: Don Layton | January 21, 2020

The credit risk transfer (CRT) was pioneered by Freddie Mac in 2013 as a way of reducing systemic risk, as well as the degree of taxpayer exposure to GSE risk. Though it has played an increasingly important role in both GSEs’ operations, it is still not widely understood. In the first of three papers on this subject, Don Layton explains how CRT works, as well as the benefits it provides. ...

Accessibility Features for Older Households in Subsidized Housing

Authors: Whitney Airgood-Obrycki, Jennifer Molinsky | January 14, 2020

In the last ten years alone, the share of older adults in HUD-subsidized housing has risen five percentage points, and older adult households now make up over a third of all subsidized renters. In this paper, we examine whether the subsidized housing stock is suitable for aging in place. We ask: What physical challenges do older subsidized renters face? What difficulties do they experience with their housing environment? And, are subsidized units more equipped with accessibility features than units without rent assistance? ...

Treasury’s Long GSE Capital To-Do List: Clearing the Decks for Investors

Author: Don Layton | December 19, 2019

As 2019 ends, the two Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae finally have some momentum in ending their conservatorships, the legal status under which they have operated essentially as wards of the US Government for over eleven years now. For the exit from conservatorship to take place administratively, the big agenda item still to be addressed is capital – in the broadest context, covering a lengthy list of topics....

A Case Study of GSE Politicization: The Flawed Narrative of Loose Credit

Author: Don Layton | December 12, 2019

A significant feature of America’s residential mortgage system is its heavy politicization. This case study is about one long-running, specific aspect of that politicization: the advocacy-based narratives about the credit quality of the mortgages financed by the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae....