Undergraduate and graduate student presentations from the Department of Politics and Government, 2021 Online University Research Symposium, Illinois State University
Toxic Relationship With Assisted Housing: Are Health And Safety Conditions Influencing Factors In Length Of Stay?
As it becomes more difficult for families to join the growing waitlists for assisted housing, research and policy initiatives have focused on expanding housing resources through new construction and multi-unit zoning expansion. While the need to create more opportunities to move people in to assisted housing is clear, there has been little research related to people moving out. This research aims to answer the question: how do the health and safety conditions of assisted housing influence residents’ length of stay? The first strategic goal of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to encourage self-sufficiency and financial stability among residents living in assisted housing. Assisted housing refers to public housing properties and multifamily assisted housing properties that are owned, insured, or subsidized by HUD. The department recognizes the relationship between financial stability and a healthy living environment by including the removal of leadbased paint and other hazards from homes as an objective for this goal. But in reality, the percent of properties that failed their physical inspections have increased since 2014. The poor conditions present in many low-income housing units, like mold or allergens, can result in large economic costs for residents. The normative assumption is that individuals, especially those with low income and high risk of chronic health issues, would prefer to not live in poor-quality housing. But in many instances within assisted housing, it is economic factors related to this poor-quality housing that creates barriers to moving out and achieving financial self-sufficiency. Therefore, this research expects that the greater presence of poor-quality health and safety housing conditions, the greater likelihood that residents will have longer lengths of stay. Utilizing merged HUD administrative datasets, this research will explore the statistical relationship between the quality level of housing and residents’ length of stay with multivariate regression models. Due to public concern about the validity of physical inspections conducted and calculated by HUD, this statistical analysis will be supplemented with qualitative interviews and focus groups with residents. This research expects to find a negative correlation between the quality level of housing conditions and length of stay and some discrepancies between HUD reporting and the reality of residents.
The influence of the internet can be found across all industries in the United States, and financial institutions are no exception to this. As the consumer banking industry shifts to an increasing online presence, research has largely ignored the impacts this might have on low- to moderate-income households. Online banking can be an effective and useful tool for managing finances; however, data indicates that access to the internet is not evenly distributed across income brackets. Additionally, lower-income households are more likely to complete bank transitions in-person. Does this gap in access to the internet and the differences in the use of online banking services translate into experienced differences in financial outcomes for low- to moderate-income households? If so, how? I hypothesize that as the level of access to online banking decreases for low- to moderate-income populations, the level of financial well-being will decrease. I examine this concept through quantitative analyses using the 2018 National Financial Capability Study which provides state-by-state data regarding attributes of individuals' financial situations including savings, employment, financial confidence, online banking use, and more. This study is one of the first national surveys to employ the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s newly developed financial well-being score. The financial well-being score is not a measure of wealth or income, but a measure of choices in finance. An individual with a high income can have a low score and vice versa for low-income individuals. The financial well-being score provides a relatively new perspective to the contested idea of what financial outcomes are, and it is meant to capture an individual's social and economic environment which impacts their personality and attitudes, decision context, knowledge and skills, available opportunities, and behavior. While the 2018 National Financial Capability Study data does not provide geographic information that would allow for calculating area median income, studies indicate 44% of adults who have household incomes of $30,000 a year or less do not have broadband service. I use this established measure for determining the individuals included in my dependent variable. My independent variable was created using a factor analysis of online banking variables. My findings from this quantitative study provide insight into policy creation and activities for financial institutions to better understand how to serve low- to moderate-income households and improve their financial outcomes.