NLIHC’s research team uses the most recent housing data to create resources for our members and other advocates. For 40 years, NLIHC has made high quality research a priority because our founder, Cushing Dolbeare, understood the importance of having hard numbers to back up the assertion that a community, city, or state has a real need for more affordable housing. A typical day for the research team generally falls into three categories:
Rapid response to requests for information. We answer requests for data from our members, state coalition partners, the media, members of Congress, and other researchers in a timely manner. When the Washington Post wanted to create an interactive map showing the one-bedroom Housing Wage in each county, we made sure they had all the information they needed by their deadline. Since our members often lack the resources to conduct the same level of in-depth analysis that we can, they can request custom data analysis – a benefit of being an NLIHC member, so don’t be afraid to call us!
NLIHC’s standard research products. For 25 years, NLIHC has produced our flagship report, Out of Reach, which features the Housing Wage – the hourly wage someone needs to earn in order to afford a modest apartment. We calculate the Housing Wage for every county, metropolitan area, combined nonmetropolitan area, and state in the country; this helps inform the public and policymakers on the extent of America’s affordable housing crisis. NLIHC also produces Congressional District Profiles and State Housing Profiles. These one-page profiles pack in key data such as the shortage of units affordable and available to renters at different income levels, and the number of renters at different income levels who spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs. We also produce Housing Spotlight, a series of occasional research briefs that use data from different sources to highlight a variety of housing issues.
One-time research projects. NLIHC is also always working on other research projects. In November of 2014, we released a report on the housing needs of veterans that was funded by the Home Depot Foundation. We continue to work with the Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation (PAHRC) to maintain and update the National Housing Preservation Database, an inventory of all federally subsidized properties in the country. In the coming months we will release findings from our Alignment Project, a comprehensive analysis of the incomes of households currently served by federal housing programs, and the strategies used by developers to achieve deep affordability without the use of federal housing vouchers.
All of the data that the research team collects and analyzes make it clear that those suffering most from a lack of affordable housing in America are the lowest income residents. NLIHC’s research team is committed to providing advocates with the tools needed to take that message to their local, state, and federal policymakers.