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Poverty Law

Resources for getting started on research related to laws and legal issues impacting the poor.

Organization and Government Sites

The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS)

The center helps inform understanding of housing policy and issues through its research and outreach programs. 

National Homelessness Law Center (NHLC)

A national organization dedicated to preventing homelessness and advocating for the rights of those who are experiencing homelessness.


National Housing Law Project

Engaged in public policy advocacy, litigation assistance, training, and research and writing, focusing on issues that have the greatest impact on the housing rights of the poor.

National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC)

Focuses solely on advocating for the housing needs of low-income people by educating constituents and communities. 

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Government agency that supports community development and affordable housing.


A Right to Housing: Foundation for a New Social Agenda edited by Chester Hartman, Rachel G. Bratt, and Michael E. Stone (Temple University Press, 2006)

This title explores the failures of government housing policies in the United States since their inception. It goes on to make an argument that the government must ensure affordable housing through measures that are outside of the private sector. (USC Libraries

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond (Crown Books, 2016)

This non-fiction book follows the plight of eight families in Milwaukee who struggle to pay their rent during the 2007-2008 financial crisis. It provides insights into the consequences of mass evictions and the need for affordable housing.  (USC Libraries

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein (Liveright, 2017)


This book examines how local and federal policies have contributed to segregation in the United States. (USC Libraries


After the Projects: Public Housing Redevelopment and the Governance of the Poorest Americans by Lawrence Vale (Oxford University Press, 2019)

Case study investigation of public housing development and redevelopment in a period of unaffordable rental housing in many cities. Includes more than 200 interviews with public housing residents, real estate developers, and community leaders to provide a national picture and suggest room for change for low-income Americans. (USC Libraries

Facing Segregation: Housing Policy Solutions for a Stronger Society Molly W. Metzger & Henry S. Webber (Oxford University Press, 2019)

Scholarship on the history and patterns of urban development and inequality that suggests a roadmap for the twenty-first century. Includes discussion on community development, the Community Reinvestment Act, education, housing vouchers, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, mixed-income development, and tax increment financing. (USC Libraries)


ABA Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law

Quarterly publication on affordable housing and community development law. (ABA)

Fordham Urban Law Journal

Law Review which covers issues affecting urban areas including poverty and housing. (

Housing Policy Debate

Quarterly journal that covers topics such as affordable housing, housing development, trends in metropolitan areas, and strategies in alleviating poverty in housing. (USC Libraries

Housing Studies

This journal publishes research on social and economic policy on housing development issues. (USC Libraries

Journal of Housing and the Built Environment

Contains original international research on urban planning and housing policy. (USC Libraries

Journal of Housing Research

Peer-reviewed articles, including empirical research on housing, home mortgage finance, and housing policy. (USC Libraries

National Housing Law Project: Housing Bulletin

Information on and analysis of federal legislation, regulations, program developments and significant recent cases. (National Housing Law Bulletin)

Urban Studies

An international journal containing peer-reviewed articles primarily focused on urban scholarship, including articles on public housing policy (USC Libraries


Urban Studies Abstracts 

This database contains records and research from public and private institutions that cover urban studies and community development.

Data & Statistics

Housing, U.S. Census Bureau

A comprehensive report on housing in America, including data on size, age, values and types of American homes.

HUD User Datasets

Provides access to original datasets from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R)), including data from the American Housing Survey and research initiatives on topics such as family income and housing discrimination.

National Association of Realtors Housing Statistics (NAR)

This database provides NAR data on national, regional, and metro-market level real estate data.

USC Digital Accessibility