Campus & Community

Joint Center for Housing Studies summer fellows share research

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The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University announced Dec. 4 that its summer 2001 fellows, Kathryn M. Lawler and Ellen Stiefvater, completed and presented research papers on two important community development topics in partnership – the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. and the NeighborWorks network. Lawler and Stiefvater are candidates in the master of Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government and both have several years of experience in community development.

Lawler’s paper is titled “Aging in Place: Coordinating Housing and Health Care Provisions for America’s Growing Elderly Population.” Stiefvater’s paper is titled “Entrepreneurial Community Development: Exploring Social Enterprise and Strategic Alliances for Community Development Entities.”

“This fellowship program enables Harvard graduate students to learn from and contribute to an agenda of community building. We are pleased to join with the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp., which is an outstanding national nonprofit intermediary dedicated to revitalizing and sustaining communities throughout this nation,” said Nicolas P. Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. Executive Director Ellen Lazar said, “We are proud to work in partnership with the Joint Center for Housing Studies and its outstanding fellows. The projects that Kathryn Lawler and Ellen Stiefvater developed explore very important aspects of community development and we are pleased to have the benefit of their research, as well as that of other past fellows.”

For the past three years the Joint Center in conjunction with Neighborhood Reinvestment has selected two Harvard University graduate students to be part of a summer fellowship program that recognizes outstanding students with interests in housing and community development. The program gives the students the opportunity to add practical, analytical, and technical skills to their academic course work. The goal of the program is to support the development of students who will choose to work in the field, either as policymakers or as practitioners, upon graduation.

During the summer Lawler and Stiefvater developed analytical projects based on 10 weeks of on-site research at the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. The fellows worked extensively with nonprofit groups in the NeighborWorks network and attended a training program at the Neighborhood Reinvestment Training Institute. They interviewed community development practitioners, scholars, and legislators, gathering information on best practices, and they met with Joint Center faculty. Lawler and Stiefvater also traveled to Washington, D.C., and presented their findings before a group of public officials and representatives from nationally recognized research centers.

Both papers are available electronically at the Joint Center for Housing Studies Web site at