- Published on Feb 26, 2010
A new $750,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to the National Poverty Center, located in the U-M Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, was one of 13 grants distributed to researchers to explore how housing matters to children, families and communities.The research grants were selected from 217 applicants.
U-M researchers designed a longitudinal 3-year survey that will help policymakers and researchers better understand the effects of the severe recession, the housing crisis, and the federal stimulus funding on families living in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.
Sheldon Danziger and Kristin Seefeldt lead the research team, which includes U-M sociologist Sarah Burgard, Ford School research professor Robert Schoeni, School of Social Work professor Sandra Danziger, and Institute for Social Research health economist Helen Levy.
The study will explore the influence of the recession and the collapse of stock and housing prices on the well-being of workers and families. It will assess the extent to which social welfare programs and federal stimulus spending offset some of the negative effects of the economic crisis.
Seefeldt, an assistant research scientist at the Ford School, said researchers will investigate whether experiencing housing problems, including foreclosure, evictions, and moving in with others to share expenses, has an adverse effect on individuals' health. This is an area about which little is currently known, she said.
Additionally, the research team will examine whether the use of government programs such as unemployment insurance and food stamps or programs to help stabilize housing lessen health problems.
"Our study will help us better understand how families are managing and what types of public policies work best to reduce hardships," Seefeldt said.
Researchers also will analyze how policy changes included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and other recent legislation may buffer adverse housing and health outcomes that are due to the severe recession that started in December 2007.
"We focus on policies that are designed to help families keep their housing, replace lost earnings, and extend health care coverage," said Sheldon Danziger, who directs the NPC.
A random sample of about 900 households are being surveyed by interviewers from the U-M Survey Research Center, offering information on issues such as employment, material hardships, credit and debt, health and mental health, and public program use. Data collection started in the fall, and will be completed by late March, Seefeldt said.
The MacArthur Foundation grant will fund data collection for the second and third waves, to be fielded in 2011 and 2012 respectively, and will fund analyses of the three waves of data, researchers said.
While the survey focuses on three Michigan counties, researchers expect the findings will shape discussions about national policies.
The research grants were selected from 217 applicants. Other grant recipients were Columbia University, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, Ohio State University, Princeton University, RAND Corp., St. Michael's Hospital, University of Illinois at Chicago and at Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Urban Institute and Yeshiva University.
MacArthur Foundation: http://www.macfound.org/site/c.lkLXJ8MQKrH/b.3599935/k.1648/John_D__Catherine_T_MacArthur_Foundation.htm