Why Housing Matters for Health, Education, and the Economy

Thursday, March 21, 2013 — 3:00 p.m.–4:15 p.m.     

Why Housing Matters for Health, Education, and the Economy
The value of affordable housing extends beyond shelter. Affordable housing may, among other benefits, help improve residential and school stability, leading to better educational outcomes for children. Well-built and well-maintained housing can also lead to lower risks of lead poisoning and asthma. Furthermore, the development and rehabilitation of housing are critical to creating jobs and otherwise supporting the economic vitality of a community. This session will explore how housing is connected with these other community benefits and discuss how an improved awareness of these connections can broaden support for affordable housing and lead to more effective and coordinated approaches to the production and preservation of housing affordable to people across a range of incomes.

Watch the Session
Below is a YouTube playlist of four short videos recorded during the session. Watch all four videos or advance using the Playlist feature.

Speaker Biographies and Presentations

Mijo Vodopic, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (moderator)
Mijo Vodopic is a program officer at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation focused on housing issues. In his current role, he works to preserve affordable rental housing by supporting local, state, and federal policy initiatives, enhancing the field of nonprofit housing entrepreneurs, and communicating the importance of rental housing in the economy.

Vodopic came to the MacArthur Foundation from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, where he was a senior analyst on the Financial Markets and Community Investment team. He led evaluations of small-business loans to assess the performance of the U.S. Small Business Administration, analyzed the impact of the Basel II Accord on global and domestic competition in banking, and reviewed the uses and effects of eminent domain actions on property owners and communities.

Previously, Vodopic was director of property and asset management at Heartland Housing Incorporated in Chicago, where he managed a portfolio of eight affordable rental properties comprising 700 units and participated in developing tenant selection and management plans for several public housing sites in Chicago that were being redeveloped through the federal HOPE VI program. Before that, Vodopic worked for the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness, advocating on behalf of homeless families during a period of welfare reform.

John Cook, Boston Medical Center/Children’s HealthWatch

John Cook is one of the Children’s HealthWatch principal investigators; he is also an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine.

Cook’s research interests include examining the effects of hunger, food security, and energy security on children’s health and well-being and ways to increase access to affordable, healthy food. Research in progress is related to the effects of food insecurity at its lowest levels of severity, including “marginal food security.” Topics of greatest concern at present are global climate disruption and diminishing fossil-fuel supplies, and their implications for low-income families’ economic viability, for food availability and affordability, and for public health.

Prior to joining Children’s HealthWatch, Cook was the research director at the Center on Hunger, Poverty, and Nutrition Policy at the Tufts University School of Nutrition Science and Policy. While at Tufts, Cook was principal investigator for the federal government’s Food Security Measurement Study that developed measures of food security, food insecurity, and hunger for the U.S. population. He received the School of Nutrition Science and Policy Dean’s Council Award for outstanding faculty members in recognition of his leadership of that research project.

Cook received his BA from the University of Alabama in mathematics and Spanish, and his MAEd from Arizona State University in educational psychology. He received his PhD in planning for developing areas, with concentrations in demography and population studies and economics, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jeffrey Lubell, Center for Housing Policy
Jeffrey Lubell is executive director of the Center for Housing Policy, the research affiliate of the National Housing Conference.

From 2000 to 2003, Lubell served as director of the policy development division of the Office of Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has also worked as an independent consultant and as a housing policy analyst for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Lubell is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College.

Richard Rothstein, Economic Policy Institute, and Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy, University of California (Berkeley) School of Law
Richard Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and senior fellow of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at the University of California (Berkeley) School of Law. He is the author of several books and articles about education policy, most notably Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right (2008) and Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic, and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap (2004). He was the coauthor of a recent ground-breaking report on how American adolescents from different social-class backgrounds perform on international tests, in comparison with adolescents with similar social-class backgrounds in other countries.

Rothstein’s recent work has mostly focused on residential racial segregation, how it was created by public policy, and how its constitutionally required remedy is a prerequisite for school desegregation. Recent work includes:

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