Housing Initiatives of Princeton

Since 2004, Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP) has been helping low-income families avoid homelessness by providing service-enriched transitional housing and rental assistance programs.  HIP also raises awareness of insufficient housing options and challenges facing the poor.  Research interests include:

Success stories.  HIP is looking to interview former clients about their experience and is reaching out to clients about their willingness to be interviewed.  Some of this material is needed for the new website, which means it needs to happen soon.  Students may be able to supplement what HIP does with more interviews during the academic year (perhaps in the spring).

Impact on children.  What is it like for the children who are with HIP for two years, both during the program and afterwards?  Not all of the families move into affordable housing in Princeton.  How should the organization think about success in those cases?

Scale.  Are there other organizations operating at this scale?  What do they do and how do they operate?  Is the work of HIP scalable?  How would that be possible?

Emergency rental assistance.  HIP provides emergency rental assistance to people who need it.  They may not end up becoming HIP clients and are not tracked in the same way HIP clients are.  How are they doing after the rental assistance?  What issues do they face?

Collaborating across geographic boundaries.  HIP, Arm in Arm, Princeton Human Services, Stonehill Church, and HomeFront share names and are trying to keep track of who is helped.  How else could they collaborate?  The geographic reach of each organization is different.  For example, Arm in Arm can only do Mercer County, while HIP is “Princeton area”.  The Princeton zip code reaches into Somerset County. 

Transportation.  Everyone needs a car.  The “car alliance” used to fix up cars for free.  Is there a way to get extra cars in Princeton donated for low-income peoples’ use?  Are there a lot of spare cars in Princeton?

Alternative credit score.  People can get turned away for affordable housing because they don’t have a good credit score.  Is there a different way of looking at their ability to pay?  What if they are a good risk now and pay all of their bills on time?