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Section 8 Vouchers and Mobility

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Driving to Opportunity: Understanding the Links among Transportation Access, Residential Outcomes, and Economic Opportunity for Housing Voucher Recipients (Research Report)
Rolf Pendall, Christopher Hayes, Taz George, Zach McDade, Additional Authors

In the 1990s and early 2000s, the Department of Housing and Urban Development sponsored two major experiments to test whether housing choice vouchers propelled low-income households into greater economic security, the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing program (MTO) and the Welfare to Work Voucher program (WTW). Using data from these programs, this study examines differences in residential location and employment outcomes between voucher recipients with access to automobiles and those without. Overall, the findings underscore the positive role of automobiles in outcomes for housing voucher participants.

Posted to Web: March 31, 2014Publication Date: March 31, 2014

Do Homeownership and Rent Subsidies Protect Individuals from Material Hardship?: Evidence from the Great Recession (Research Report)
Robert I. Lerman, Sisi Zhang

Do homeownership and rent subsidies protect individuals from experiencing material hardships? Do the relationships differ by race and ethnicity? Using the Survey of Income and Program Participation, we find that the likelihood of experiencing any material hardship is 5.6 percentage points lower for homeowners than renters without rent subsidies, a reduction of about 25 percent. Owning a home over ten years provides a larger protection than owning a home less than four years. Homeownership’s role in shielding people from material hardship is at least as important for non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics as for non-Hispanic whites.

Posted to Web: January 29, 2014Publication Date: January 08, 2014

Examining Housing as a Pathway to Successful Reentry: A Demonstration Design Process (Research Report)
Jocelyn Fontaine

This paper describes a reentry housing demonstration design process that will fill the gaps in the literature and strengthen policy and practice. The demonstration would include a range of housing and supportive services for formerly incarcerated persons, primarily focused on making meaningful reductions in returns to incarceration. The associated study would explore whether housing leads to reductions in recidivism and increases in the reintegration of those released from incarceration. Examples of potential partnerships and opportunities for reentry housing programming and funding are discussed. The paper concludes with several key hallmarks for the proposed demonstration to achieve its intended goals.

Posted to Web: November 15, 2013Publication Date: November 13, 2013

How Chicago's Public Housing Transformation Can Inform Federal Policy (Research Report)
Susan J. Popkin

For more than a decade, the Urban Institute has been following the experiences of CHA families as they were relocated and their buildings were demolished and replaced with new, mixed-income housing. In this brief, the author distills a decade's worth of research and outlines lessons from this research that have important implications for cities across the nation grappling with how to improve their most troubled communities and provide decent, affordable housing for vulnerable families in an era of shrinking resources.

Posted to Web: March 11, 2013Publication Date: March 11, 2013

CHA Residents and the Plan for Transformation (Research Report)
Susan J. Popkin, Megan Gallagher, Chantal Hailey , Elizabeth Davies, Larry Buron, Christopher Hayes

This brief provides an overview of the Urban Institute research on CHA families since 2001. It describes how most former residents now live in better housing in safer neighborhoods. Those who got intensive case management and supportive services through the Chicago Family Case Management Demonstration have significantly lower rates of depression, better physical health, and higher rates of employment. However, even with these gains, many adults struggle with extremely high rates of debilitating chronic illnesses that prevent them from finding full-time employment and many children still grapple with the fallout from growing up with chronic violence.

Posted to Web: March 11, 2013Publication Date: March 11, 2013

An Improved Living Environment, But... (Research Report)
Larry Buron, Christopher Hayes, Chantal Hailey

Chicago's Plan for Transformation improved housing quality for residents in our study; most reported living in extremely distressed units in 2001 but by 2011, just 25 percent reported such severe problems. Although their neighborhoods are still poor and racially segregated, they have higher rates of collective efficacy, less social disorder, and fewer signs of physical disorder. Many respondents are experiencing material hardship, including food insecurity and trouble paying bills and utilities. Voucher holders, in particular, are moving frequently with no perceptible improvement in housing or neighborhood quality. In fact, voucher holders report more housing problems than residents in public housing.

Posted to Web: March 11, 2013Publication Date: March 11, 2013

Improving the Lives of Public Housing's Most Vulnerable Families (Research Report)
Susan J. Popkin, Elizabeth Davies

Demonstration participants, who were particularly vulnerable and hard to house in 2007, received intensive supportive services focused on improving family stability, mental health, and self-sufficiency. Our analysis finds significant gains in employment for working-age Demonstration participants living in traditional public housing (and subject to the CHA work requirement). In contrast, the health of Panel Study respondents—comparable CHA residents who did not receive intensive services— deteriorated steadily over the past decade. Despite these overall positive results, chronic disease remains a major challenge and mortality rates for these CHA residents are shockingly high.

Posted to Web: March 11, 2013Publication Date: March 11, 2013

Chronic Violence: Beyond the Developments (Research Report)
Chantal Hailey , Megan Gallagher

Youth in our study who lived through CHA's Plan for Transformation remain in crisis. Many exhibit the short-term effects of growing up around violence, including high rates of criminal and delinquent behaviors. In 2011, fear and violence was affecting youth whose families had relocated with vouchers more than it was affecting those who had relocated to mixed-income or public housing. To manage their exposure to violence, some youth socially isolate themselves, or their families continue to seek refuge by moving. Still, some children are witnesses, victims, and perpetrators of violence as they leave their protective networks and enter new communities.

Posted to Web: March 11, 2013Publication Date: March 11, 2013

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