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Awarded Cooperative Agreement to Prevent Violence and Violence-Related Injury

Impact of Housing Relocation Initiatives on Community-Level Violence

FOA Number: CE05-020 - Youth Violence Prevention through Community-Level Change
Project Period: 09/01/05-08/31/09
Application/Grant Number: 1-U49-CE000764-01
Principal Investigator: Jacqueline Cohen
Carnegie Mellon University
The Heinz School
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Prior research finds that those in disadvantaged communities are subject to greater risks of violence, both as perpetrators and victims, and that individual risk factors seem to be aggravated to produce higher levels of violence than expected from individual attributes alone. The ill effects of such communities are especially pronounced in neighborhoods where disadvantage is multifaceted and widely distributed among residents—features that characterize large public housing communities that provide subsidized housing for low-income households. Large-scale initiatives during the 1990s relocated households from older, high-density public housing communities to those in the private housing market to help ameliorate the effects of concentrated disadvantage.

This project will examine the impact of major housing relocation efforts in Pittsburgh, PA on community levels of youth violence. The analyses will document similarities and differences between origin and destination neighborhoods. Trend and seasonality components of tract-level, time-series violence measures will be modeled using traditional decomposition and smoothing techniques and more recent semi-parametric, group-based trajectory models. These patterns will be the basis for developing counterfactual estimates of expected violence levels absent the housing relocation intervention. Multivariate regression-based models suited to quasi-experimental designs will be used to detect discontinuities in trends associated with the timing of major housing relocations. Research outcomes will provide empirical evidence on whether the private housing market provides low-income households with access to less disadvantaged and more diverse communities, and what effects relocating low-income households into private market housing communities has on violence levels in the destination communities. Results will help the assessment of the efficacy of housing relocation within current housing markets for violence prevention.