Aug. 03 2021

Research Project to Examine Efficacy of Affordable Housing Interventions

Community Opportunity Fund Teams with Columbia Mailman School and Other Top Universities, Enterprise Community Partners, and Success Measures at NeighborWorks America for New Study

A new research project will study the efficacy of providing comprehensive social, environmental, and health promotion services in affordable housing settings. The goal of the project will be to track the effectiveness of services on residents, building culture and housing conditions, and resident perspectives.

The project is a cross-sectoral collaboration between academic partners (Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, Dartmouth Health Policy Institute, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), housing providers (Jonathan Rose Companies) and affordable housing intermediaries (Enterprise Community Partners and Success Measures at NeighborWorks America). The project will be co-created with residents to build trust and encourage their voluntary participation in the project. It will also be developed with significant input from community-based staff. 

The research will begin with a pilot study at 10 Jonathan Rose Companies communities to thoroughly assess the impact of these programs on residents and building culture over time. This partnership is currently developing the infrastructure to collect pertinent information about residents, building amenities, and environmental conditions to plan interventions and evaluate the impact of services through initial funding from Jonathan Rose Companies. 

“Research and evaluation at this scale is not typically possible in affordable housing,” said Stephany De Scisciolo, PhD, vice president of Knowledge, Impact, and Strategy at Enterprise Community Partners. “Previous research on resident services has often been limited to a single intervention at a single property. This project offers the opportunity to measure and understand the impact across an entire portfolio, a ground-breaking capability that will uncover new and better strategies to benefit the people and communities we serve.”

The partnership is currently seeking additional funding for the multi-site pilot that will test the study infrastructure and community engagement model, provide key baseline data on a range of health, well-being, and environmental factors, and position the research initiative for major federal and foundation research opportunities that will ensure longitudinal studies on the value of stable affordable housing and the community of opportunities service and engagement model on health equity. 

Project leaders say social, environmental, and health promotion services in affordable housing settings should be thoroughly examined for effectiveness by developing the infrastructure to collect pertinent information about residents, building amenities, and environmental conditions so as to plan interventions and evaluate the impact of services and enhance the ability to change future interventions.

“The purpose is to figure out as an industry what the most effective leverage points are from a time and cost point of view to transform the lives of affordable housing residents, and how to turn this into public policy,” said Jonathan F.P. Rose, president of Jonathan Rose Companies, an investment manager with expertise in green affordable and mixed-income acquisition and development. “Our goal is to magnify this work. With the Biden administration, there is now a tremendous opportunity with enormous receptivity to these ideas. We think this is a really great opportunity.”