The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

News Archive – 2012

NYU Furman Center Releases Report on Assisted Housing and Education

Report Released Showing that Federally Assisted Households Have Limited Access to High Performing Public Schools

The Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy has released a report finding that children living in assisted housing studied are more likely to live near low performing schools than  poor families as a whole. According to the report, “Families in Project-based Section 8 developments live near schools with a median test score ranking at the 28th percentile within their metropolitan area; Housing Choice Voucher families live near schools with a median test score ranking at the 26th percentile; and the median rank of schools closest to Public Housing families is the lowest at the 19th percentile.”

You can read the full report here and press release here. Detailed state and metropolitan area data may be found in Appendix A (state-by-state tables),  Appendix B (metropolitan area tables), Appendix C (national distributions of family units by school performance), and  Appendix D (top 100 MSAs – percentile rankings for each housing program).

Housing Costs, Zoning, and Access to High-Scoring Schools

The Brookings Institute has published a report detailing the links between housing costs, zoning, and access to high-scoring schools. The analysis of national and metropolitan data on public school populations and state standardized test scores reveals that, on average, low-income students attend schools that score significantly lower on state exams than schools attended by middle/high-income students. But eliminating exclusionary zoning in metro areas can lower this school test-score gap by an estimated 4 to 7 percentiles — a significant share of the observed gap between schools serving the average low-income and middle/higher-income student.

Access full report here.

UT Students Win APA Award for Creating Inclusive Corridors Project

Students in Associate Professor Elizabeth Mueller‘s spring 2012 affordable housing seminar were recently named the 2012 recipients of the Dr. Kent Butler Student Planning Award by the Central Texas Section of the American Planning Association for their project “Creating Inclusive Corridors: Austin’s Airport Boulevard.” (Mueller is a  faculty affiliate of the UT Opportunity Forum).

The 16 students in the course were drawn from the Community and Regional Planning, Sustainable Design, Public Affairs, Social Work, Education, and Architecture Programs. Working in five teams, they studied the larger context for corridor redevelopment in Austin; documented who lives in corridor neighborhoods, their housing conditions and access to necessary amenities; developed strategies for using the tools of “form-based codes” to make existing small-scale rental housing compatible with neighborhood plan design guidelines and the vision for the corridor; estimated the per unit costs of rehabilitating two sample buildings while maintaining current affordable rent levels; and researched policy options for funding housing improvements and for improving neighborhood conditions.

Alan Holt, principal planner heading up the Airport Boulevard initiative for the City of Austin, commended the students on their “exceptional and comprehensive” work. He deemed the project “rooted in reality, responsive to unfolding events, and contributing to a better outcome for the city initiative.”

Chance Sparks, Central Texas APA chapter head, said: “One of the best aspects, and what made this project stand out, was its ability to recognize real-world challenges and feasibility. Projects such as this, when conducted in an academic setting, are often met with skepticism, as being dreams and idealism lacking practical grounding. This is decidedly not the case, as these issues are tackled from both a public sector, policy-oriented approach, as well as a private sector, financially-focused approach. The resulting pro forma on the private sector side is not unlike something that would be prepared by sophisticated real estate professionals with years of experience. At the same time, the students are clearly balanced in their education as they provided assessment of policies in place and use of cutting edge regulatory techniques in the scenarios.”

The student team members included Lauren AmesStephanie BallJimena CruzScott DunlopLauren FlemisterAndres GalindoZachary GibsonCorey Huston-LiterEdna LedesmaChris LeeAndrea LewisJessica KingJessica KolmerAlejandra ReyesKristine Stiphany, and Kate Vickery.

Excerpt from the UT School of Architecture e-news, September 6, 2012.

Access Creating Inclusive Cooridtors: Austin’s Airport Boulevard: Final Report here.

Access Creating Inclusive Cooridtors: Austin’s Airport Boulevard: Executive Summary here.

Access video of the October 5, 2012 panel presentation here.

Interactive Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Map for Texas

The Texas Tribune and San Antonio Express News have teamed up to provide an interactive map showing the location of housing developments in Texas that have received federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. The map shows how the State’s program for the tax credits has resulted in apartments being built disproportionately in low-income neighborhoods with high concentrations of minorities.

Access the Interactive Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Housing Map here.

University of Texas Community Development Clinic releases report on Tenant Displacement in Austin

The Tenant Displacement report evaluates prior programs in Austin to assist tenants being displaced by apartment redevelopment and recommends policies for a new city-wide tenant relocation assistance ordinance.

Access the Tenant Displacement report here.

Informal contracts still put many Texas homeowners at risk, UT study shows

Access the  Austin American-Statesmen article here.