Faculty News

Huriya Jabbar earns grant to research housing instability and educational equity policies

Jabbar’s research proposal was one of 15 selected out of more than 400 submissions.

By Eric Olsen Published on

Today, USC Rossier associate professor Huriya Jabbar received a $75,000 Spencer Foundation Vision Grant for her research examining the effects of blending school and housing policies to bolster housing stability for vulnerable families. 

Background: Eviction rates have steadily increased over the past several decades, and are especially high for Black and Latino families—particularly for female-headed households. The education system plays a significant role in determining whether families are supported while facing housing instability. 

“Anyone who has experienced or is at risk of experiencing eviction knows how overwhelming and difficult the experience is. Families across the nation have had their stability and safety in life upended as the result of an eviction. There are indications that connecting families to school-based services like counseling, tutoring and after-school programs for children can effectively support families facing eviction and bolster educational equity. However, more research into this matter is needed,” said Huriya Jabbar.

She adds that their vision is for schools to go beyond the usual offerings, and to study places doing innovative things, such as providing rental assistance through schools, or data sharing with eviction courts to identify families in schools who are undergoing eviction in order for schools to connect families to legal and other services.

This grant will support the execution of an environmental scan to analyze and determine what government entities of all sizes are doing to bridge housing and education policy. Additionally, the grant will support the convening of key stakeholders to understand the challenges and needs to support families facing eviction and design an intervention to bring housing and education policy leaders together to support families at risk of eviction. 

Jabbar will serve as principal investigator (PI) for the project with two co-PIs: Jennifer Holme, professor at the University of Texas at Austin and Ann Owens, professor of sociology, public policy and spatial sciences at USC Dornsife. Holme and Jabbar have previously collaborated on qualitative research exploring the systemic roots of educational inequalities, with a focus on how teacher turnover impedes student learning. Owens is an expert on intersections of housing, neighborhoods and schools.

The Spencer Foundation Vision Grants program funds the collaborative planning of innovative, methodologically diverse, interdisciplinary research on education that contributes to transforming education systems for equity. Vision Grants are research planning grants to bring together a team, for 6 to 12 months, to collaboratively develop ambitious, large-scale research projects focused on transforming educational systems toward greater equity.

“Our task through this grant is to develop a larger research proposal to build momentum towards government, housing and education entities working together to reduce inequality. I am grateful to the Spencer Foundation for the opportunity to conduct this research, and I look forward to working with my colleagues, Ann Owens and Jennifer Holme, on this project,” Jabbar concluded.

Additional information about this grant can be found here




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