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There are many historical inequities regarding housing in the United States, such as the lack of access to affordable and secure housing for people of color, which is a result of centuries of exclusion. These problems remain ineffectively addressed or unaddressed by policy. Indeed, many community-based organizations report that housing policies fail to address the needs of the people—especially those in marginalized communities. Top-down approaches are efficient and more broadly applicable but miss important community-specific problems. Meanwhile, bottom-up approaches excel in highlighting community perspectives and the lived experiences of residents, but they are challenging to generalize across jurisdictions. This thesis captures community-based understandings of policy through in-depth interviews with community-based organizations (CBOs) and applies these understandings to develop a new quantitative framework for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of housing policies that can be applied across the United States. The thesis also explores various housing policies through a multi-dimensional, intersectional, and forward-thinking analysis that centers marginalized communities.
To investigate the impacts of an energy efficiency retrofit, indoor air quality and resident health were evaluated at a low‐income senior housing apartment complex in Phoenix, Arizona, before and after a green energy building renovation. Indoor and outdoor air quality sampling was carried out simultaneously with a questionnaire to characterize personal habits and general health of residents. Measured indoor formaldehyde levels before the building retrofit routinely exceeded reference exposure limits, but in the long‐term follow‐up sampling, indoor formaldehyde decreased for the entire study population by a statistically significant margin. Indoor PM levels were dominated by fine particles and showed a statistically significant decrease in the long‐term follow‐up sampling within certain resident subpopulations (i.e. residents who report smoking and residents who had lived longer at the apartment complex).