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Equity Metrics engages in Affordable Housing research and advocacy, which broadly seeks to promote access to opportunity for low-income people of color and other groups who historically have had limited access to housing in amenity-rich neighborhoods. Our work involves both identifying “neighborhoods of opportunity” using spatial analyses and providing supporting research for governmental agencies in their duty to “affirmatively further fair housing,” as required by the 1968 Fair Housing Act.

This research is grounded in the “Opportunity Mapping” model that we have developed and refined over a number of years.  The opportunity mapping methodology uses geospatial analyses and techniques to illuminate the ways in which structures and institutions promote or restrict access to opportunity based on their "situatedness". This comprehensive approach offers policymakers, and stakeholders a quantifiable measure of opportunity to direct public and private investments, and a strong visual that displays the regional distribution of opportunity.

This work has manifested in various ongoing and completed projects:

  • CTCAC Opportunity Mapping: Equity Metrics and its partners, California Housing Partnership (CHPC) and the Terner Center for Housing Innovation (Terner Center) were convened as a research team in 2017 by California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC), tasked  with identifying an appropriate data-driven tool for measuring and mapping opportunity within the state. The resulting CTCAC/HCD Opportunity Map has since been used by these state agencies to guide the siting of an affordable housing tax credit, and to advance two specific Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) objectives - increasing access to opportunity and replacing segregated living patterns with integrated and balanced living patterns.  Equity Metrics and its partners reconvene annually to update the data and adjust indicators based on the most current research literature, refine the mapping interface and methodology, and incorporate suggestions and revisions based on feedback from policy makers and stakeholders.  
  • San Jose Affordable Housing Siting Policy: In collaboration with CHPC, Equity Metrics team assisted the City of San Jose in generating affordable housing siting policy options in consultation with City staff and key stakeholders along the way. Affordable housing siting patterns are influenced by local factors such as land use and zoning, demographics, and the design of municipal housing funding programs, presenting a need for customized policy responses. As a part of this project, the Equity Metrics team assisted with a comprehensive review of local housing policies in the nation's leading cities, identified factors that aid in the upward mobility of residents, and presented a model to guide the city in allocating resources for the new affordable housing developments.
  • Analysis of LIHTC in the Bay Area: This study comprehensively analyzed the administration of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program in California by examining LIHTC developments in the San Francisco Bay Area. This vitally important program shapes whether millions of Americans and their families have access to good jobs, safe neighborhoods, and secure housing. The findings in the report can be used by policymakers and other stakeholders to advocate for changes to California’s procedures for allocating tax credits.