About the Series

Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Policies for Action Program, this series of reports explore the role of law in housing equity and exploring innovative uses of law to improve health equity through housing.

The six reports are based on extensive literature reviews and a robust process of semi-structured interviews with thought leaders and people who are taking action in housing policy and practice. This series focuses on how laws and legal practices related to housing have influenced the availability of quality, affordable housing in socially and racially inclusive neighborhoods—and how the policies that work can be coordinated and scaled up for maximum national impact.

The Reports

Report 1 – A Vision for Health Equity in Housing

This report reviews old and new evidence about health, health equity and housing, to make the case for “health equity in housing” as a top goal of the movement to create a Culture of Health in America. 

Report 2 – A Systems Approach: Legal Levers for Health Equity through Housing

The second report describes some of the factors that make housing in the US a complex system, and establishes a model of the key legal elements, or levers, in that system. Our model of five legal domains that interact with and influence health equity in housing aims to pull together in one picture the key factors many have identified – and typically work on – separately. The five domains include: Increasing the Supply of New Affordable Housing; Maintaining Existing Housing as Affordable, Stable, and Safe; Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing; Enhancing Economic Choice for the Poor; and Governance.

Report 3 – Health Equity in Housing: Evidence and Evidence Gaps

This report outlines what we know and don’t know about the impacts of our legal levers, and how they are influencing health equity in housing. It takes a “cold-eyed view” to clean the slate of misconceptions and unwarranted confidence in existing legal levers, to help us better structure future efforts as the experiments they are. We identify 30 legal levers across our five domains, and review the evidence base for each.

Available November 19, 2019

Report 4 – Creative People and Places Building Health Equity in Housing

In Report 4, what we learned from interviews with housing practitioners and leading researchers about the use of legal levers for health equity in housing. We share 10 themes that emerged from our 47 interviews, including interconnectedness; the persistence of segregation; the need for more enforcement and resources; thoughts about the use of litigation to achieve health equity in housing; and the failure of law to protect the housing needs of the average person.

Available December 3, 2019

Report 5 – Governing Health Equity in Housing 

The fifth report in our series focuses on governance as an approach to the challenge of achieving health equity in housing. It starts with the theoretical perspective offering a description of governance as a multi-level, multi-actor practice that embraces complexity and uses an adaptive strategy of experimentation and learning that is measured by results. The report then illustrates a successful practice of effective governance in one of fair housing’s greatest success stories, the achievement and maintenance of health equity in housing in Oak Park, Illinois.

Available December 10, 2019

Report 6 – Health Equity through Housing: A Blueprint for Systematic Legal Action

The sixth and fina report in the series summarizes the findings from our research and offers guidance for action by characterizing levers into categories: those changes to the levers that seem to be mostly harmful; tweaks to levers that seem to be mostly positive; and, testing levers that have potential in order to spread the use of those that work to achieve health equity in housing.

Available early 2020