Housing Policy Briefs

Race, Housing Assistance, and Access to Quality Education in the U.S.

Poverty and Race Research Action Council (PRRAC)

The Poverty and Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) released a national study titled Housing and Educational Opportunity: Characteristics of Local Schools Near Families with Federal Housing Assistance earlier this year. The study sought to measure several key indicators for access to educational opportunity: an assisted household’s proximity to local public schools; the number and race/ethnicity of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch (as an indicator of low poverty households with children in the area); and the quality of the schools (supplemented with additional measures capturing teacher experience and certification). Households with children, renter households with children, and poor families with children comprised the three comparison groups analyzed in this study.  

The four major types of federal housing assistance analyzed were public housing, Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, Housing Choice Vouchers, and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). Overall, households receiving any type of assistance in 2016 were more likely to live near more disadvantaged schools than other poor families. Additionally, racial disparities were identified in the locations of voucher holders 

Ultimately, the study suggests that while the intention of voucher and housing assistance programs is to provide families with the opportunity to move into neighborhoods with better access to supports and public institutions, this is often not the case. The researchers identify a need for a change in the location of affordable housing rental units across the nation.  

To learn more from this report, click here.


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