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Federally Assisted Households Do Not Have Access to Better Schools

Poverty Race and Research Action Council

New report finds that assisted households as a whole are more likely to live near low performing schools than other households. In an attempt to find the relationship between federally assisted households and proximity to high performing schools, Ingrid Gould Ellen and Keren Mertens Horn of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University examined the four programs that comprise the majority of federal housing assistance: Public Housing, Project based Section 8, Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and Housing Choice Vouchers.

Their report- Do Federally Assisted Households Have Access to High Performing Public Schools? -found that ironically, Housing Choice Voucher holders do not tend to live near higher performing schools when compared with households that receive other forms of housing assistance despite the fact that vouchers are intended to provide recipients with the opportunity to move into better neighborhoods. Data tables for Connecticut and its Metropolitan Statistical Areas, including Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven, show a similar pattern.

Other findings include:

  • Recipients of all four major federal housing assistance live near schools that rank very low in standardized test performance in their states.
  • Public housing tenants live near schools with the lowest performance levels out of all tenants in the four programs.
  • The median performance levels of schools near tenants living in LIHTC developments is ranked slightly higher and has lower poverty rates than the typical school nearest to poor households.
  • Schools near voucher households and tenants of Project based Section 8 developments have median performance levels higher than those nearest to public housing tenants, but these schools are still ranked below the median of schools nearest to households living below the poverty line.

Overall, the findings indicate that assisted households do not tend to live near high performing schools but instead live in neighborhoods with lower performing schools than renters and other poor households. However, the study is based on data from 2008-09 and does not include improvements that the Department of Housing and Urban Development and state housing agencies have made to those programs in the past four years.

Click here to read Do Federally Assisted Households Have Access to High Performing Public Schools? 


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