About How Housing Matters | How Housing Matters

Since 2008, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has invested $25 million in grants to support 42 research projects exploring how access to quality, affordable housing can strengthen families and revitalize communities.

This, combined with additional research funded by others, has shown the value of quality, affordable housing well beyond the provision of shelter: It improves school performance, diminishes health problems for both children and adults, and decreases psychological stress – among other benefits.

With support from the Foundation, the Urban Institute curates this research on How Housing Matters, an online portal that provides access to the growing body of research on how housing matters to other pivotal drivers of individual and community success.

The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban scholars have conducted research and offered evidence-based solutions that improve lives and strengthen communities across a rapidly urbanizing world. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the effectiveness of the public sector.

The How Housing Matters site is both a clearinghouse for crosscutting research and a platform for engaging practitioners, policymakers, and researchers across a range of fields. The resources on the site offer practical tools for those committed to using evidence and an interdisciplinary approach to create higher-quality housing and develop partnerships that engage across sectors to improve individual and community outcomes.

Through How Housing Matters, the Foundation and the Institute hope to encourage practice and policy innovations that facilitate collaboration among leaders and policymakers in housing, education, health and economic development. The ultimate goal is to better and more cost-effectively help families lead healthy, successful lives.


Maya Brennan, Editor

Maya Brennan is a researcher in the Policy Advisory Group at the Urban Institute. Ms. Brennan has written extensively about the role of housing in improving outcomes in education, health, aging, and economic self-sufficiency. Follow her @maya_brennan on Twitter.

Steven Brown, Editor

Steven Brown is a researcher in the Policy Advisory Group at the Urban Institute. He studies the effectiveness of housing and employment policies targeted towards traditionally underserved populations. He can be found on Twitter at @KregSteven.

Kimberly Burrowes, Contributor

Kimberly Burrowes is a research associate with the Policy Advisory Group at the Urban Institute. Her research has centered around participatory planning practices, urban resilience through disaster-related resettlement strategies, and low-income housing solutions from an international perspective.

Jimmy Gastner, Contributor

Jimmy Gastner is a research assistant with the Policy Advisory Group at the Urban Institute. His work has focused on addressing problems experienced by low- and moderate-income individuals at the state and local level. Follow him @JimmyGastner on Twitter.


Content Partners

The Urban Institute would like to thank our partner organizations for their active engagement in sharing content through How Housing Matters.

Children’s HealthWatch

Subject Matter

Home Matters

Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University


National Housing Conference

Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Land Institute

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Thursday, April 8, 2014

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