New Study Proves Positive Impact of Supportive Housing on Neighborhoods

A major new research study has found that supportive housing – affordable housing with support services for formerly-homeless individuals living with mental illness and other special needs – has positive impacts on property values in surrounding neighborhoods.

The study, “The Impact of Supportive Housing on Surrounding Neighborhoods: Evidence from New York City,” available here, was conducted by the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University School of Law. It looked at supportive housing residences built in New York City between 1985 and 2003 and examined changes in property values in surrounding neighborhoods compared to property values in comparable neighborhoods.

According to the Supportive Housing Network of New York, which helped the Furman Center with the study, here are the key findings:

* Over the first five years following construction, the values of properties within two blocks of a supportive housing building rose three to four per cent more than comparable properties not located near supportive housing.
* The majority of buildings in the sample were located in the higher-density boroughs of Manhattan (49%), the Bronx (25%) and Brooklyn (23%). However, neighborhood density did not affect the relationship between residences and property values, indicating that housing developments have the same benign effect in more sparsely populated neighborhoods.
* While buildings studied range from less than 10 tenants to more than 400, the study found no link between a residence’s size and its effect on nearby property values. This finding runs counter to the common perception that larger residences are more likely to affect real estate values nearby.

After the study was released, the New York Times published an editorial (read the full text here) which concluded, “The Furman study confirms what advocates have been saying for years: well run supportive housing can help both formerly homeless citizens and the neighborhoods in which they are built. Politicians and business leaders across the country should pay attention.”