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Housing Careers of Very Low Income Persons

Date and time: 
March 25, 2011 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm


  • Edward Goetz, Director of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
  • Kim Skobba, Ph.D., private consultant with expertise in affordable housing issues
  • Cynthia Yuen, Mobility Coordinator, Minneapolis Public Housing Authority *

This forum focused on the findings of a research project that investigated the housing careers of very low income persons. Based on in-depth interviews with very low income persons in 2009, the presenters examined how these individuals negotiated their way through the housing market from the time they left home as a young person. The study revealed that respondents resorted to a variety of informal arrangements to meet their housing needs. Significant housing instability was the norm for the study participants. Housing subsidies seemed to be associated with lower levels of instability. The findings reveal the central importance of social relationships in determining the ability of very low income persons meeting their housing needs and obtaining stable housing accommodations. The findings also suggest that neighborhood conditions play a secondary role in the mobility decisions of these households.

* Disclaimer: Neither the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) nor any of its participants were involved with this research project. This research was done during Cynthia Yuen's graduate education, which is prior to her employment with MPHA.

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