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The Livability Index: Great Neighborhoods for All Ages

July 6, 2015 Comments off

The Livability Index: Great Neighborhoods for All Ages
Source: AARP Public Policy

The Livability Index is a signature initiative of the Public Policy Institute to measure the quality of life in American communities across multiple dimensions: housing, transportation, neighborhood characteristics, environment, health, opportunity, and civic and social engagement.

An interactive, easily navigated website, the Livability Index allows users to compare communities, adjust scores based on personal preferences and learn how to take action to make their own communities move livable.

Home Foreclosure, Health, and Mental Health: A Systematic Review of Individual, Aggregate, and Contextual Associations

July 1, 2015 Comments off

Home Foreclosure, Health, and Mental Health: A Systematic Review of Individual, Aggregate, and Contextual Associations
Source: PLoS ONE

Background
The U.S. foreclosure crisis intensified markedly during the Great Recession of 2007-09, and currently an estimated five percent of U.S. residential properties are more than 90 days past due or in the process of foreclosure. Yet there has been no systematic assessment of the effects of foreclosure on health and mental health.

Methods and Findings
I applied systematic search terms to PubMed and PsycINFO to identify quantitative or qualitative studies about the relationship between home foreclosure and health or mental health. After screening the titles and abstracts of 930 publications and reviewing the full text of 76 articles, dissertations, and other reports, I identified 42 publications representing 35 unique studies about foreclosure, health, and mental health. The majority of studies (32 [91%]) concluded that foreclosure had adverse effects on health or mental health, while three studies yielded null or mixed findings. Only two studies examined the extent to which foreclosure may have disproportionate impacts on ethnic or racial minority populations.

Conclusions
Home foreclosure adversely affects health and mental health through channels operating at multiple levels: at the individual level, the stress of personally experiencing foreclosure was associated with worsened mental health and adverse health behaviors, which were in turn linked to poorer health status; at the community level, increasing degradation of the neighborhood environment had indirect, cross-level adverse effects on health and mental health. Early intervention may be able to prevent acute economic shocks from eventually developing into the chronic stress of foreclosure, with all of the attendant benefits this implies for health and mental health status. Programs designed to encourage early return of foreclosed properties back into productive use may have similar health and mental health benefits.

CRS — U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production in Federal and Non-Federal Areas (April 3, 2015)

June 29, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production in Federal and Non-Federal Areas (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

A number of proposals designed to increase domestic energy supply, enhance security, and/or amend the requirements of environmental statutes that apply to energy development were before the 113th Congress and are likely to be reintroduced in the 114th Congress. A key question in this discussion is how much oil and gas is produced in the United States each year and how much of that comes from federal versus non-federal areas. Oil production has fluctuated on federal lands over the past five fiscal years but has increased dramatically on non-federal lands. Non-federal crude oil production has been rapidly increasing in the past few years, partly due to favorable geology and the ease of leasing, rising by 3.0 million barrels per day (mbd) between FY2010 and FY2014, causing the federal share of total U.S. crude oil production to fall from 36.4% to 21.4%.

Crude oil production on federal lands, particularly offshore, however, is likely to continue to make a significant contribution to the U.S energy supply picture and could remain consistently higher than previous decades, but still fall as a percent of total U.S. production, if production on non-federal lands continues to rise at a faster rate.

The State of the Nation’s Housing 2015

June 24, 2015 Comments off

The State of the Nation’s Housing 2015
Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University
From press release:

The fledgling U.S. housing recovery lost momentum last year as homeownership rates continued to fall, single-family construction remained near historic lows, and existing home sales cooled, concludes The State of the Nation’s Housing report released today by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. In contrast, rental markets continued to grow, fueled by another year of large increases in the numbers of renter households. However, with rents rising and incomes well below pre-recession levels, the U.S. is also seeing record numbers of cost-burdened renters, including more renter households higher up the income scale.

“Perhaps the most telling indicator of the state of the nation’s housing is the drop in the homeownership rate to just 64.5 percent last year,” says Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “This erases nearly all of the increase from the previous two decades. In fact, the number of homeowners fell for the eighth straight year, and the trend does not appear to be abating.”

Department of Defense Base Structure Report — FY 2014 Baseline

June 23, 2015 Comments off

Department of Defense Base Structure Report — FY 2014 Baseline (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

The Base Structure Report (BSR) – FY 2014 Baseline is a snapshot of real property data collected from the Military Departments as of September 30, 2013, and serves as the baseline for the start of the next fiscal year. This report has become a very popular item for many diverse users, and we have tried to adjust the data displays to reflect the most common information requested from DoD regularly. This year’s BSR is being published significantly later than in past years due. This year has seen a series of new data systems development and efforts to update or modernize the collection process, so we experienced some temporary data anomalies that needed to be researched. We held the publication of the BSR to resolve these areas of concerns before publication. Even though it is a late release, it was deemed important to have a version of this year’s data available for all who use this report. However, it should be noted that there may be some variances between last year’s data and this year’s data with the Army’s acreage information.

As one of the Federal government’s larger holders of real estate, the DoD manages a global real property portfolio consisting of more than 562,000 facilities (buildings, structures, and linear structures), located on over 4,800 sites worldwide and covering over 24.7 million acres. While the BSR is not intended to answer every single question about DoD’s real property portfolio, it should provide most readers with accurate background information about the vast majority of issues regarding DoD’s real property infrastructure.

Prolonged Housing Crisis Diminishes Confidence in the American Dream, 2015 Housing Matters Survey Finds

June 22, 2015 Comments off

Prolonged Housing Crisis Diminishes Confidence in the American Dream, 2015 Housing Matters Survey Finds
Source: MacArthur Foundation

A significant majority of Americans believes the country is still not past the housing crisis that began seven years ago, according to a new survey of housing attitudes released today by MacArthur.

Despite some improvement in their view of the housing situation nationally, the enduring sense of the housing market under pressure is reflected in the public feeling more worried and concerned than hopeful and confident about what the future holds for the country. Americans believe it is harder than it used to be to attain a secure middle-class lifestyle and significantly more likely for a family to fall from the middle class than to join it.

Headship and Homeownership: What Does the Future Hold?

June 19, 2015 Comments off

Headship and Homeownership: What Does the Future Hold?
Source: Urban Institute

This longitudinal study of household formation and home ownership rates from 2010 to 2030 reveals that new renters will outpace new homeowners in the coming decades and, that, while there will still be more owners than renters, the homeownership rate will continue to decline. This will create intense competition for rental housing. In addition, the aging of the population will also create the urgency to develop policies to allow the 20 million new seniors that we will have by 2030 to stay in their homes, as most want to do. The study also projects that African Americans will fall further behind and Hispanics will improve their rates of homeownership. These estimates make it clear that we do not have adequate policies in place to support the rental surge and adequate affordable rental housing and homeownership for all, regardless of race and ethnicity.

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