Affordable Housing, Reports and Publications

Housing Choice Voucher Program Can Improve Location Potential for Families

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is a great resource for families but can be improved upon to provide more opportunity to families and their children by giving them greater ability to live in low-poverty neighborhoods.

Previous studies have shown that when children are allowed to grow up in safe, low-poverty neighborhoods with good schools there are positive long-lasting impacts on their well-being and earning potential as adults. Conversely, when children grow up in high-poverty neighborhoods with violent crime and low-quality schools, it has a detrimental impact on their long-term success and family well-being.

Despite overwhelming evidence that links neighborhoods to child well-being, there are still an abundance of families with HCV’s that are living in extreme-poverty neighborhoods even though there are higher-opportunity neighborhoods in their area available to them with their HCV’s.

To facilitate the HCV program’s ability to give families access to high-opportunity neighborhoods, this report put forth “Recommendations to realize the HCV program location potential”

  1. Create strong incentives for local and state housing agencies to achieve better location outcomes. 
  2. Modify policies that discourage families from living in lower-poverty communities. 
  3. Minimize jurisdictional barriers to families’ ability to choose to live in high-opportunity communities.
  4. Assist families in using vouchers to live in high-opportunity areas. 

The researchers realize that even if these recommendations were implemented there are families that would prefer not to move and there are not enough vouchers for all the families who would like to move, but by improving the HCV’s program, steps can be taken to reduce the share of families using vouchers in extreme-poverty areas.

Read the full report. Realizing the Housing Voucher Program’s Potential to Enable Families to move to Better Neighborhoods.


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