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In 2007, the faculty of Public Policy Administration (PPA) at UM-St. Louis was awarded a fellowship from the PPRC to conduct an interdepartmental examination of the impact of low-income and minority homeownership. The research focused on a portion of the Central West End in St. Louis City, and concentrated on the impact on the community rather than the specific effects on individual families.
In November 2007, at a seminar hosted by PPRC, the research partners presented an analysis of the data collected. Their findings included:
- Housing investments in the West End have had some positive effects, although this level of the inquiry is mainly exploratory.
- New home buyers in this area have largely been middle class African Americans who tend to be more involved in their community than the general populace.
- Sales and permit data indicates that the West End has seen rising home prices in the neighborhood studied, with some relationships between increased sales and spillover effects from new housing investments.
- Neighborhood data showed decreasing crime on the streets with new homes and in the residential blocks around them.
Research Agenda for 2008-2009 Academic Year
The PPRC has extended its support of this research project through the 2008-2009 academic year. The research team has proposed to intensify and formalize its study around three themes, as follows:
- What local institutional, political and economic factors help influence the successful planning, implementation and sustainability of local community development strategies, particularly strategies that largely call for homeownership?
- What are the impacts of various investment strategies-market-rate versus affordable, homeownership versus rental-on critical community indicators, such as sales prices?
- What is the impact of various community development strategies on local social capital that residents employ in their interactions in their community?
In researching these questions, the team will expand the area it studies to include the Benton Park neighborhood in St. Louis City and the Pagedale neighborhood in St. Louis County.
The team will again present its findings in the Fall of 2008.
Professor Andrew Glassberg - Public Policy Administration and Political Science
Professor William Rogers - Economics
Professor Lana Stein - Political Science and Public Policy Administration
Professor Nancy Kinney, Public Policy Administration
Dr. John McClusky, Academic Director, Nonprofit Management & Leadership Program
Professor Brady Baybeck, Political Science
The faculty will be assisted by Jeremy Main, a doctoral student in the UMSL Department of Political Science. Todd Swanstrom, the Des Lee Professor in Public Policy, will serve as a consultant to the project, and Will Winter, PPRC Research Analyst, will provide the database and other assistance as needed.
The project will use nationally-available information to develop an inventory of the types of available assistance for the promotion of low-income minority homeownership. After compiling this data, information will be obtained on the extent to which the available tools are in fact being utilized in the St. Louis region. This exercise will produce taxonomy of St. Louis homeownership programs.
Upon completion of this taxonomy, specific neighborhoods in the region will be targeted for more intensive examination. For two targeted low-income minority neighborhoods in the City of St. Louis, and two targeted low-income minority municipalities in St. Louis County, data will be obtained on changes in rates of homeownership, and the role of public and nonprofit programs in promoting additional homeownership in these communities. Data will also be obtained on school performance and crime rates in the communities as well as involvement in the neighborhood. Quantitative data will be supplemented with interview data with community representatives, public and nonprofit officials, and other local experts. Information will be analyzed to provide indications as to the extent to which programs promoting homeownership are achieving their goals, as well as examining the extent to which increases in homeownership in targeted communities are associated with positive spillover effects in other policy arenas, such as educational achievement, stability, and crime rates. This research will also ascertain whether the effects of new affordable and/or market rate housing for purchase affect existing dwellings and general community life.
The study will also report on longer term evaluation designs that could be used in further studies following up on the work proposed here.
Finally, the project will examine issues of affordable housing on the region's periphery and efforts to increase the available supply of housing in areas of greatest regional job growth. Activities of this type in the St. Louis region will be compared to other regions where such activities are underway. The study will document the extent of such projects, and consider the extent to which they include a low-income minority homeownership component, and the impact of such components on access to employment opportunities.