Dr. Spurlock has been selected by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) for its prestigious Interdisciplinary Research Leaders (IRL) program, alongside two colleagues, Dr. Allison De Marco of UNC’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, and Donna Carrington, executive director of the local non-profit organization, Community Empowerment Fund (CEF).
Their community-driven project, “Overcoming Structural Racism in Housing Stability and Wealth-building: Laying the Foundation for Community Health and Well Being” will investigate the short-term and longer-term effects of housing stability on financial, social, physical, and psychological well-being. Through this research, the team hopes to advance racial and economic justice at the local and national scale by providing greater insight into structural racism in housing and homelessness. The team notes how the U.S. housing system currently subsidizes substandard housing and creates financial burdens on renters through housing scarcity and imbalanced power dynamics. These inequities are particularly salient in historically Black and Brown neighborhoods, where there is a lack municipal investment in local infrastructure and housing owners typically have less access to capital.
Dr. Spurlock’s work will advance our knowledge on these issues by providing a more granular look into individual and household health, understanding these issues at the household scale instead of at the neighborhood or census tract level. The research team will examine how changes in the individuals’ housing security affects their financial, social, physical, and psychological well-being.
The work will draw off of the expertise and experiences of local communities. Once the project has been completed, the team will share results directly with participating communities through public town hall meetings, policy briefs, multi-lingual webinars, and (jargon-free) blog posts.