The Urban Institute created a typology of housing policies supported by Habitat for Humanity International’s Cost of Home campaign. We used documentary analysis of annual internal Cost of Home reports (2019–23), informed by reports from local and state Habitat affiliates on their advocacy victories. We categorized 282 housing policies in terms of their scope, mechanisms, and expected outcomes. We complemented this information with desktop research about media coverage and, when available, legislative texts.
We define the scope to refer to how a policy fits into the existing policy landscape: Does it provide more resources to existing programs and policies, or does it create something new or change how things are done? We use a binary typology here: one-time policy wins or systems change.
We define mechanisms as the approaches by which a policy is intended to work and deliver impact. Mechanisms are distinct from the content of a given policy and refer to the channels used to influence that policy. We report on 15 different mechanism types (including “miscellaneous”).
Finally, we define intended outcomes as those anticipated in the near or medium term, distinguishing them from long-term outcomes and impacts. Our typology of outcomes maps directly onto the four Cost of Home pillars, or focus areas: increasing the supply and preservation of affordable homes (supply), equitably increasing access to credit (credit), optimizing land-use for affordable homes (land use), and ensuring access to and development of communities of opportunity (opportunities).
This typology was produced with funding from Habitat for Humanity International.