Graduate School: Harvard Graduate School of Design
Undergraduate School: Oxford University
Areas of interest: Housing
Mentors: Chrystal Kornegay, Urban Edge and Lauren Lambie-Hanson, Doctoral Fellow, MIT
Placement: Cambridge Housing Authority
Supervisor: Carolina Lucey, Director of Communications
Project Description: This summer, Tom worked with the Cambridge Housing Authority to plot a future direction for rent reform and rent policy efforts. The CHA has begun to move on from consolidating the gains garnered from earlier years’ rent reform efforts towards a new period of policy innovation with regard to public housing rent policy. The CHA has been designated a Moving to Work agency by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, and as such has been allowed substantial dispensation from HUD administrative regulations and guidelines. The innovative work that the CHA has done with this MTW authority has become nationally recognized, and the CHA has become particularly known as an exemplar of best practice among American public housing authorities. In order to produce a final report that plots out some potential future directions for the CHA’s efforts, he conducted focus groups, interviewed senior staff, met repeatedly with residents, observed recertification meetings, analyzed the budgetary impact of various policy efforts, and consulted with other practitioners regarding the policy efforts that other MTW-designated agencies are currently designing and implementing. To learn more about the efforts of the CHA under HUD’s Moving to Work demonstration program, refer to the following website: http://www.cambridge-housing.org/About-the-CHA/Moving-to-Work . To learn more about CHA’s innovative Policy Lab, visit: http://www.cambridge-housing.org/PTLab .
Tom says that "For a student interested in public policy, there is absolutely no better way to spend the summer than to work and learn as a Rappaport Fellow. The incredibly strong network of alumni of the program has enabled students to match their interests with Boston’s many institutions that operate within the public and non-profit sectors. As a result, one gets the opportunity to engage with tough questions and produce innovative work that has real influence. The Rappaport Fellowship program couples the opportunity to do fascinating work in the Boston area with a deep support network. This support network pairs individual attention and mentorship with engaging and educational group activities. The incredible knowledge and devotion of Rappaport staff enabled me to find a placement, develop an innovative project that tackles a thorny, important question, and ultimately produce work of which I am enormously proud."