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Teams of researchers at the Center for Urban & Regional Studies have been working closely with the Charlotte Housing Authority to evaluate two of its innovative initiatives. Read more about this research.

Evaluating NCCDI’s Hurricane Matthew Recovery Work

MIchael WebbPI. This project will evaluate the North Carolina Community Development Initiative’s (NCCDI) disaster recovery work in eastern North Carolina in response to flooding from Hurricane Matthew. NCCDI’s work includes making low-cost loans to housing developers and property management companies to rehabilitate and construct affordable housing, as well as acquiring properties in neighborhoods in Rocky Mount that are less susceptible to flooding. The evaluation itself will comprise quantitative analysis of programmatic outputs collected by NCCDI, interviews with residents of NCCDI-funded projects and local stakeholders, and mapping of NCCDI investments vis-à-vis areas flooded by Matthew.

Evaluating the Impacts of a Work Requirement in Public Housing

William RohePI. The Charlotte Housing Authority (CHA) is one of eight Moving to Work (MTW) agencies that have adopted a work requirement. Based on our earlier evaluation showing that their work requirement led to substantial gains in employment with no increase in evictions, the CHA has decided to expand the policy to its remaining family public housing developments and to tenant-based Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) participants. The expansion of the work requirement offers an opportunity to further study the impacts of public housing work requirements. This new study will utilize a mixed-method approach and a quasi-experimental research design. The research design will utilize two treatment groups (project-based housing and HCV clients) and two matched comparison groups of households in the Raleigh Housing Authority.

Understanding the Role of Adolescent Subsidized Housing Residence on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Trajectories of Chronic Disease Risk

William RohePI. Are teens in HUD-assisted housing more likely to have had adverse childhood experiences, like abuse and neglect? Does living in HUD-assisted housing as a teen lead to better or worse health as an adult? Are adults who lived in different types of HUD-assisted housing—such as public housing or Housing Choice Vouchers—as teens healthier? These are the questions posed in a new study by three researchers from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Jon Hussey, research assistant professor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health; Bill Rohe, Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor of City and Regional Planning and director of the Center for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS); and Michael Webb, project manager and senior research associate at CURS. Funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the project is called “Understanding the Role of Adolescent Housing Residence on Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trajectories of Chronic Disease Risk.” It will link HUD administrative data with the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). Add Health is a nationally-representative, longitudinal dataset that includes self-reported health problems, such as depression and substance abuse, and biomarkers of disease such as diabetes and hypertension.

Jobs Plus Evaluation

William RohePI. In 1998, HUD and Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) launched the Jobs Plus Public Housing Revitalization Initiative (Jobs Plus) to raise and sustain the level of employment and earnings among residents of public housing developments. Implemented properly, and sustained, Jobs-Plus boosted annual earnings by 16%, or $1300 per year, an effect that endured for 7 years without abating. HUD’s Jobs Plus Pilot Initiative is a significant effort to replicate the model and its impacts, and the team led by MDRC in partnership with the Center for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) at the University of North Carolina and the National Institute for Mixed-Income Communities (NIMC) at Case-Western Reserve bring together deep expertise with Jobs Plus, with rigorous employment and self-sufficiency evaluations for public housing residents, and deep knowledge of contemporary public housing policy. The partnership will document the start-up of the Jobs Plus Pilot Program, its early outcomes, and its costs through a comprehensive process study. It will also lay the groundwork for a rigorous design that asks not only whether the replication meets or exceeds initial impacts, but also the relative contributions of the mechanisms (in terms of rent incentives, Community Support for Work and employment services) that produce these impacts. This information will help guide future Jobs Plus replication, and inform workforce and self-sufficiency initiatives throughout HUD’s portfolio.

Developing a How-To Guide for PHAs Interested in Applying for the Moving to Work Program

William RohePI. The purpose of this research project is to design a guide for practitioners that both assists Public Housing Agencies considering applying for the expanded demonstration and that presents a suggested planning process for developing a strong initial Moving To Work (MTW) plan. The guide will distill experiences of, and advice from, the 39 agencies currently participating in MTW. A preliminary list of topics to be covered includes:
• pros and cons of becoming a MTW agency;
• gaining resident and community stakeholders’ support;
• role of the board of directors;
• designing effective activities;
• understanding local context (economy, demographics, and activist community);
• developing data systems;
• planning for an evaluation; and
• shifting agency culture.

Evaluation of the Charlotte Housing Authority’s Boulevard Homes HOPE VI Project

William RohePI. This project proposes to evaluate the HOPE VI redevelopment of Boulevard Homes in Charlotte for the Charlotte Housing Authority (CHA) and will assess the impact of the redevelopment based on six indicators: 1) Impact on the lives of the current residents of Boulevard Homes; 2) Nature and extent of economic development generated in the community; 3) Effect of the redevelopment on the surrounding community; 3) Success at integrating the physical redevelopment and the Community Supportive Services (CSS) components of the HOPE VI strategy; 5) Impacts on the HOPE VI neighborhood; and 6) Impacts on the HOPE VI development. In addition to the quantitative and qualitative assessment of the impacts of the HOPE VI redevelopment, the research team will assess the implementation of the redevelopment and CSS components and will work with CHA staff and case managers to develop and implement a data collection and management system to ensure that necessary data are collected to establish baseline measures. These measures will be updated over the life of the project. Read the interim report.

Measuring the Impact of the Charlotte Housing Authority’s Moving to Work Program

William RohePI. The Center for Urban & Regional Studies will evaluate the Charlotte Housing Authority’s (CHA) Moving to Work Program. This program allows participating housing authorities discretion in the allocation of resources to achieve any one of the three statutory objectives of the program. The Center will examine the implementation, outputs, and impacts that the Moving to Work Program will have on the residents, the Authority, and the community. See page 8 of the Winter 2012 CURS Update for a summary of the projects interim report to the Charlotte Housing Authority. For more information contact Bill Rohe at

Community Advantage Panel: A Longitudinal Study of Low- and Moderate-Income

Roberto Quercia—PI. This research, funded by the Ford Foundation, will allow the continuance of data collection from earlier Panel studies, and to undertake important analyses of the data. Cumulatively, the research will result in an extensive and unique collection of data, including: 1)  loan origination data for an estimated 50,000 affordable housing mortgages purchased by the Self-Help Credit Union since 1998; 2) seven or more years of in-depth survey data from an original sample of 3,743 homeowners; and 3) six or more years of in-depth survey data from an original sample of 1,531 renters who both serve as a comparison group and an opportunity to observe the transition from renting to owning a home. The survey data include demographic and household characteristics and information on the following topics: home purchase experiences; social capital and networks; parenting, wealth and assets; new mortgage products; financial literacy and savings attitudes; energy costs and medical costs; credit score knowledge; housing experiences; and economic challenges. The requested funding will allow us to collect additional waves of data for both panels during the current economic downturn and assess how our sample of low-to-moderate income respondents is dealing with the financial crisis. The funding will also allow us to prepare a series of program and policy reports to document the findings from the research. Contact Roberto Quercia at for more information on the CAP studies.

Read a recent report based on the Community Advantage Panel research on the Center for Community Capital website.