Our homes and neighborhoods set the stage for our lives. How, where, and when people have shelter affects almost every facet of their lives including their health, educational outcomes, economic mobility, and longevity. And research shows that when people have access to affordable, stable, and high-quality housing, their overall well-being improves, as does that of their communities.
The Urban Institute’s Housing Matters initiative delivers data and research, technical assistance, and evidence-based insights to changemakers who have the power to advance solutions for enhancing access to affordable housing. We aim to equip policymakers, advocates, and program designers and implementers in housing and other fields with the information they need to invest in housing as a vehicle for building stronger, more resilient communities.
We adhere to the following principles:
Acknowledge the necessity of a home.
Shelter, security, and dignity are fundamental human needs, so access to housing—for absolutely everyone—is a primary public policy concern.
Share evidence-based insights as they emerge.
Because no person or neighborhood can hit pause while waiting for answers to policy debates, the research and best practices presented by Housing Matters are constantly evolving. We routinely provide new research summaries and synthesize the latest evidence on specific topics as they relate to housing.
Apply an equity lens.
A range of social and economic factors, as well as race, ethnicity, age, ability, and other aspects of people’s identities, affects their experiences with housing and shapes interrelated outcomes in their lives. We ask ourselves and others to acknowledge disparities and use that knowledge to advance ideas and solutions that encourage more equitable and just housing outcomes for all people.
Value research rigor.
When assessing a study’s rigor, Housing Matters focuses on the validity of the inputs and methods, not on whether a study reached a preferred result. We hesitate to further define “rigor” because different questions and cultural contexts merit different approaches. As a result, we read and share findings from an array of study types—from small, qualitative interviews to multisite randomized controlled trials.
Encourage cross-sector collaboration.
To enable collective action among industries that intersect with the housing field, we strive to bridge divides and deliver critiques—especially those that involve specific people, organizations, or roles—in an inclusive and constructive way. To do this, we encourage collaboration between diverse stakeholders and publish material that bridges multiple sectors, including health, climate, justice, and education.