Eva Rosen's research examines the creation, experience, and persistence of urban poverty, focusing on housing policy and racial segregation.
Rosen relies on mixed methods including ethnographic, quantitative, quantitative, and geographic mapping (GIS) data. Research projects have studied populations including relocated residents of former public housing on Chicago’s South Side, families displaced by Hurricane Katrina (the RISK study), participants in the Baltimore's Moving to Opportunity (MTO) experiment, and families across three income groups making residential decisions ("How Parents' House Kids"). She is Co-PI on a project studying landlords in Washington DC, Dallas, Cleveland, and Baltimore, called "Landlords and the Geography of Opportunity."
Rosen is currently working on a project with Georgetown sociology professor Brian McCabe studying eviction filing and eviction trends in the District of Columbia.
Rosen’s book The Voucher Promise, will be published with Princeton University Press in June 2020. The book examines recent changes in American housing assistance that have transformed the landscape of poverty from high-rise public housing to a voucher system where the poor are housed in the private market. Housing vouchers are a cornerstone U.S. Federal housing policy, offering aid to more than two million households. Vouchers are meant to provide the poor with increased choice in the private rental marketplace, enabling access to safe neighborhoods with good schools and higher-paying jobs. But do they?
The Voucher Promise examines the Housing Choice Voucher Program, colloquially known as “Section 8,” and how it shapes the lives of families living in a Baltimore neighborhood called Park Heights. Rosen tells stories about the daily lives of homeowners, voucher holders, renters who receive no housing assistance, and the landlords who house them. While vouchers are a powerful tool with great promise, the book demonstrates how the housing policy can replicate the very inequalities it has the power to solve.
Rosen spent more than a year living in Park Heights, getting to know families, sitting on front stoops, accompanying them on housing searches, speaking to landlords, and learning about the neighborhood’s history. Voucher holders disproportionately end up in this area despite rampant unemployment, drugs, crime, and abandoned housing. Rosen explores why they are unable to relocate to other neighborhoods. She illustrates the challenges in obtaining vouchers and the difficulties faced by recipients in using them when and where they want to. Yet, despite the program’s very real shortcomings, she argues that vouchers offer basic stability for families and should remain integral to solutions for the nation’s housing crisis.
Delving into the connections between safe, affordable housing and social mobility, The Voucher Promise investigates the profound benefits and formidable obstacles involved in housing America’s poor.