Senior Policy Analyst, Housing Policy



Michela Zonta

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Michela Zonta is a senior policy analyst for Housing and Consumer Finance Policy at American Progress. She has extensive research, teaching, and consulting experience in housing and community development. She has published work on the mortgage-lending practices of ethnic-owned banks in immigrant communities, jobs-housing imbalance in minority communities, residential segregation, and poverty and housing affordability. Prior to joining American Progress, Zonta taught urban and regional planning in the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), where she delivered several graduate courses on housing policy, community development, geographic information systems, British housing policy, and race and gender. While at VCU, she also provided technical assistance and research support to a variety of government, think tank, and nonprofit organizations engaged in the development, provision, and/or evaluation of programs and services targeted to low-income, homeless, and minority populations. In addition, she engaged in international collaborations revolving around planning for sustainability. Zonta previously worked at the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, RAND Corporation, and the University of Southern California.

Her publications include:

“Applying for Mortgage Loans in Immigrant Communities: The Case of Asian Enclaves in Los Angeles,” Environment & Planning A 44 (1) (2012): 89–110.

“The Continuing Significance of Ethnic Resources: Korean-Owned Banks in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C.,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 38 (3) (2012): 463–484.

“From the Homeownership Trap to Alternative Forms of Tenure and Financing,” Progressive Planning 182 (2010): 2–5.

Zonta holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Milan, as well as a master’s degree and a doctorate in urban planning, both from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Latest by Michela Zonta

Colorado’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule for Surface Transportation Offers a Model for Other States and the Nation Report
Eastbound traffic is pictured on I-70 in Colorado.

Colorado’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule for Surface Transportation Offers a Model for Other States and the Nation

Colorado’s statewide greenhouse gas emissions reduction mandate, and the associated planning rule from the state department of transportation, offers a model for how to effectively incorporate climate change mitigation into surface transportation planning and project selection.

Kevin DeGood, Michela Zonta

The ARP Grew the Economy, Reduced Poverty, and Eased Financial Hardship for Millions Report
A woman and her two children shop for groceries in Kissimmee, Florida.

The ARP Grew the Economy, Reduced Poverty, and Eased Financial Hardship for Millions

Data show that in just one year, the 2021 American Rescue Plan eased hardship for millions of Americans and demonstrated the need for further federal investment to build a long-term, equitable economy that works for all.

A CRA To Meet the Challenge of Climate Change Report
A car gets towed while men walk in floodwaters on a road in Houston, August 2017, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. (Getty/Thomas B. Shea/AFP)

A CRA To Meet the Challenge of Climate Change

A modernized Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) would be a useful tool to effectively address climate resilience and environmental racism in low-income communities of color.

Michela Zonta, Caius Z. Willingham

Racial Disparities in Home Appreciation Report

Racial Disparities in Home Appreciation

Segregation and racial disparities in home appreciation put African Americans at a disadvantage in their ability to build equity and accumulate wealth.

Michela Zonta

Homes for All Report

Homes for All

It is time for the federal government to contribute more aggressively to the U.S. supply of affordable housing, as it did in the past.

Michela Zonta

Housing the Extended Family Report
Dilsia Acosta holds her grandson, March 2016. (AP/Allen G. Breed)

Housing the Extended Family

The housing needs of an increasing number of extended families are not being fully met by the current housing market.

Michela Zonta

Protecting Communities on the Road to Recovery Report
DASP needs additional protections to ensure that note purchasers handle the assets they purchase responsibly.

Protecting Communities on the Road to Recovery

Strong standards are critical to ensure that the Distressed Asset Stabilization Program protects homeowners and neighborhoods still recovering from the housing crisis.

Sarah Edelman, Michela Zonta, Shiv Rawal

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