Economic Report FAQs

Who did the study:

The study was conducted by Econsult Corporation and sponsored by the Housing Authority Insurance (HAI) Group.  It was supported by the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) and the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association (PHADA). (Full report here.)

Why the study was done:

  • First attempt at quantifying benefits of public housing, as well as the underlying value of the existing public housing stock.
  • Goal is to inform the wide-ranging debate about the role of the federal government in providing affordable housing.
  • HAI Group sponsored it because of its commitment to seeing public and affordable housing thrive

What the study includes:

  • Quantitative estimates of the current economic value of public housing programs to public housing residents;
  • Potential impact of public housing on the local labor supply;
  • Impact of public housing on local economic activity, employment, and earnings; and
  • Economic value of the current stock of public housing infrastructure.

What the researchers looked at:

  • Ten separate markets that differ in scale, economic health, and geographic location.

Cities included in the report:

  • Akron
  • Boston
  • Charlotte
  • Dallas
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Miami
  • New Bedford
  • Oakland
  • San Diego
  • Seattle

What the study found:

Public housing is a critical resource for low wage workers:

• Average wages in some industries, such as accommodation and food service, are too low for workers to afford market rate housing costs.

• Public housing provides more than 1.2 million households each with close to $6,000 in effective annual rent subsidies. 

Public housing plays an essential role in the nation’s efforts to preserve affordable housing:

• The total replacement cost for the 1.2 million units of existing public housing would approach $145 billion, excluding land.

• The national average unit replacement cost is $121,000; land costs are a significant part of that cost in some markets.

• The government role in subsidizing this housing is critical because the private sector is not likely to provide equivalent housing at affordable rents.

Public housing expenditures contribute significantly to local economies:

• Direct spending by public housing authorities on capital improvements, maintenance and operations is approximately $8.1 billion a year.

• This direct spending generates an additional $8.2 billion in indirect economic activity in these communities.