Funded Projects

The Policies for Action program (P4A) funds research identifying policies, laws, and other regulatory tools in the public and private sectors that can support RWJF’s mission to build a Culture of Health.

Research is conducted at institutions across the United States. The projects by our Research Hubs and other grantees investigate policies and laws that are traditionally and directly correlated with health outcomes, but also nontraditional areas of focus that influence population health, well-being and equity — including policies and regulations from areas such as education, economics, transportation, justice, and housing.

Funded Projects

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Long before the novel coronavirus, poor and working-class communities of color across Florida were weathering a pandemic of multilayered oppressions. COVID-19 lays bare the systemic and structural inequities as pre-existing conditions for the most historically marginalized among us. And while housing is one of the most researched social determinants of health, effective policies have not been adopted to promote residential stability. Florida’s complicated political landscape has led to weak and fragmented tenants' rights protections and limited tools for affordable housing, which creates a structural vulnerability for the most underserved communities. In this project, the research team will study three Florida urban counties that have implemented COVID-related tenant protections in divergent ways (Miami-Dade, Orange, and Hillsborough counties).

Principal Investigator: Zinzi Bailey - University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Within the last decade, debates on rent stabilization have reemerged among housing researchers, policymakers, and the communities they serve, especially in regions where low-income communities of color have experienced skyrocketing rents and disproportionate rates of residential displacement. As a whole, research on rent stabilization has produced mixed findings and limited empirical analysis to effectively guide policy decisions. This study seeks to address the uncertainty over rent stabilization’s effects by providing an evidence-based analysis of the early impacts of rent stabilization policies on tenants in the cities of Mountain View and Richmond, two jurisdictions in California’s San Francisco Bay Area that adopted rent stabilization ordinances in 2016. 

Principal Investigator: john a. powell - University of California, Berkeley

Early research suggests Middle Neighborhoods (MNs), communities that offer affordable housing that is not a result of specific affordable housing policy and access to many outlets that positively shape health and well-being, are opportunity-rich with place-based resources, and policy innovations at the city level hold the potential to increase this existing housing affordability and stability. 

Principal Investigator: Roland Anglin - Cleveland State University

Newly enacted Colorado HB1309, 1196, and 1201 require the Colorado Division of Housing to institute new regulations for manufactured housing parks and grants cities the authority to enact ordinances that support the safe and equitable operation of these communities. This project will evaluate the implementation process and impact of these policies in 3 different Colorado communities.

Principal Investigator: Morgan Clennin - Kaiser Permanente Colorado

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), enhancing federal efforts to hold local governments accountable in reducing segregation. The Trump administration rescinded this rule in early 2018, but eight states continue to implement AFFH programs. With recent legislation incorporating AFFH in its Housing Element Law, California now has perhaps the most expansive approach to AFFH in the country. All local governments in the state must update the Housing Element of their general plan over the next two years (2020-2022), a process through which they must plan to accommodate housing growth over an eight-year period and demonstrate to the state they have zoned an adequate number of sites for low-income housing.

Principal Investigator: Paavo Monkkonen - University of California, Los Angeles

Numerous cities in the United States have passed "ban the box" policies that restrict the use of background checks in the housing application process. However, previous research has found that ban the box policies for employment applications increase discrimination against young Black and Latino men. In this project, the research team will examine the impact of background checks in the housing application process, asking two questions.

Principal Investigator: Marina Mileo Gorzig - St. Catherine University

Portland's North/Northeast (N/NE) Preference Policy the first in the nation to recreate housing access in a historical community of color to those displaced by urban renewal and gentrification. The policy builds new affordable rental housing with placement priority for families with inter-generational ties to the area. This study provides a critical opportunity to evaluate the question: what are the intended and unintended consequences of the Preference Policy on returning resident's well-being?

Principal Investigator: Amie Thurber - Portland State University

Housing choices for those with traditional housing choice vouchers (HCV) are constrained and rent subsidies set too low to significantly increase moves to high-opportunity neighborhoods. Moreover, many landlords in destination neighborhoods are unaware of the HCV program and its benefits, producing an additional hurdle to HCV use. As a result, most voucher recipients end up in neighborhoods similar to those they previously lived in. For this project, the research team will partner with the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP) and the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania to investigate the effects of HACP's innovative mobility vouchers and mobility counseling programs on improving low-income racial minority access and transition to opportunity-rich neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, PA. 

Principal Investigator: Selena E. Ortiz - The Pennsylvania State University

One of the most important policy debates concerning the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) surrounds whether and how the program furthers opportunity and mobility. To date, the research on this question has focused on siting and the attributes of the neighborhoods where LIHTC developments are constructed. To expand upon the existing knowledgebase, and using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative analysis, this project will answer two questions.

Principal Investigator: Katherine M. O’Regan - New York University, Furman Center

To address increasing housing affordability issues in the District of Columbia, the local government has implemented several housing programs including the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP), the Employer Assisted Housing Program (EAHP), and the Inclusionary Zoning/Affordable Dwelling Units (IZ/ADU) program. These programs provide support ranging from rent regulations, to down payment and closing cost subsidies for potential homeowners, to inclusionary zoning requirements.

Principal Investigator: Haydar Kurban - Howard University