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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Building a transformational data resource to support housing research

This project increases the quality and amount of housing-related data available to the Wisconsin Administrative Data Core, a unique data resource at the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP). Despite the importance of stable and affordable housing and of housing benefits for low-income families, the extent to which current assistance programs affect family well-being is under-researched. There is little existing data about families’ experiences with housing instability, what works to produce housing stability, and the effectiveness of public programs that address housing.

The DataCore links data covering a long period of program history, including data from nearly all social welfare programs in Wisconsin, as well as information on incarceration from the Department of Corrections and children’s educational outcomes from the Department of Public Instruction. Adding housing data to the Data Core and linking it to other longitudinal public program data would help answer: what are the housing conditions and capabilities of lower-income families? How do housing subsidies interact with other benefits? Do public housing benefits affect individual and family well-being? What are the impacts of specific Public Housing Authority policies and programming?

The project will enable researchers to partner with policymakers and practitioners to develop actionable results that can be used to improve the lives of low-income families and individuals, and ameliorate impacts of the housing crisis.

Katherine Magnuson, professor of social work

Marah Curtis, professor of social work

Hilary Shager, associate director of the Institute for Research on Poverty

Kurt Paulsen, associate professor of planning and landscape architecture

J. Michael Collins, professor of human ecology and consumer and personal finance

Peter Miller, professor of educational leadership and policy analysis

Deborah Ehrenthal, associate professor population health sciences and obstetrics and gynecology