Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

The Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity is an interdisciplinary initiative launched in 2007 that brings together diverse perspectives to explore and address economic challenges faced by Americans nationwide. The project was introduced in collaboration with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s How Housing Matters Initiative, and is intended to inform the policy debate surrounding poverty reduction and the proliferation of opportunity. Spotlight hopes to become the “one-stop shop website for the latest news, research, data, and commentary about poverty and opportunity”.

Spotlight ran a series of commentaries responding to topics that were raised at the How Housing Matters  conference that was held on November 2, 2011 in Washington, DC. The conference was a collaborative endeavor undertaken by the National Building Museum, the Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Office of Policy Development and Research of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The event was just one product of the ongoing five-year How Housing Matters research program that explores affordable housing as a fundamental feature in achieving positive outcomes in education, employment, and physical and mental health. The How Housing Matters Research Network, which primarily focuses on the affects of housing on families and children, is made up of developmental psychologists, sociologists, epidemiologists, and economists.

The topics addressed in the commentary series include: the role of neighborhoods in health, why housing matters to young children, the section 8 voucher program, moving to opportunity, housing and health, and rental assistance.

In addition to examining housing issues, Spotlight examines the economic recovery through the lens of unemployment, healthcare, and education, as well as policies related to poverty. There is a state-by-state breakdown of poverty indicators together with state policies, research, and the most up-to-date media coverage. Information about Maryland can be found here.