MacArthur Project for the Research and Analysis of Affordable Housing Preservation Data and the Development of Risk Assessment Tools
By the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies and Florida Housing Finance Corporation
In April 2006, the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies at the University of Florida and Florida Housing Finance Corporation made a proposal to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation through its Window of Opportunity: Preserving Affordable Rental Housing initiative to fund a project to improve national data collection and analysis related to the preservation of subsidized rental housing. In June, the MacArthur Foundation agreed to fund this proposal.
Over the next 19 months, the Shimberg Center and Florida Housing will implement the following objectives to complete this project—
Develop a national consensus on the design of a normalized, national preservation data infrastructure that will allow data to be aggregated at the state and national level for purposes of prioritizing and tracking preservation efforts over time.
The objective here is to convene a centrally located meeting of thirty to fifty preservation experts from local, state and national levels from around the country to address the following issues:
- To reach a common understanding of the national preservation data infrastructure, identifying where data are available and where information is lacking;
- To understand the accessibility and usefulness of each data resource;
- To identify best practices in preservation-related data collection;
- To discuss factors that impact an owner’s decision in favor or against preservation of subsidized units;
- To develop consensus on the usefulness of a scorecard to measure success of preservation efforts, indicators to be measured, and how such a scorecard would be produced; and
- To develop consensus on the minimum data requirements necessary to support preservation efforts.
Identify the data on subsidized properties that provide the most useful information for policy decisions and program delivery, with a particular focus on the factors that flag an individual property as a potential loss to the subsidized housing inventory; and develop tools that use these data to help policymakers and housing professionals identify properties most at risk of loss to the inventory.
In this case the objective is to develop and evaluate a list of factors that may affect multifamily property owners’ decisions to retain or terminate affordability restrictions and develop an assessment tool that can be used nationwide to identify individual properties at risk of loss of affordability to assist in targeting preservation efforts. For example, these factors might include the age and physical condition of the property, the level of market rents versus project rents, ownership status, and marketability and area vacancy rates.
Collect these data for subsidized properties in Florida localities and provide public access to this information through the Florida Housing Data Clearinghouse.
The objective of this data collection and maintenance activity is to enhance the Clearinghouse’s Assisted Housing Inventory (AHI) and to develop methods for data collection and routine data maintenance with a particular focus on preservation-related information. The purposes for building this expanded database include:
- To provide end-users such as the public, developers, administrators,and state and local policymakers with more comprehensive data for each assisted property and for the overall affordable stock in Florida through a web-based database;
- To enable assessment of the risk of loss of affordability for Florida properties, and to enable targeting of resources for preservation;
- To collect other data, such as tenant characteristics, that are useful in formulating housing policy; and
- To share the methods for data collection, maintenance, and dissemination with state and local policymakers and housing professionals across the country.
Anticipated Outcomes of this Project
- A report and a map based on survey responses of the current national preservation infrastructure, identifying available data resources and gaps, prepared for the national meeting;
- A national meeting to discuss the development of a national preservation data infrastructure;
- A report of the national preservation data infrastructure meeting, including recommendations related to the creation of a national scorecard on preservation successes/losses;
- A list of indicators of the potential for loss of affordable housing from the rental inventory;
- A tool to identify individual properties at risk of loss of affordability;
- A model preservation data set for the state of Florida;
- A method for data collection, data maintenance and dissemination; and
- Statewide and national dissemination of these results.