Housing Policy Briefs

What Keeps People in Assisted Housing?

Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research
 

Researchers from the University of Kansas recently released a new report analyzing what causes a household to remain in an assisted living unit, titled Length of Stay in Assisted Housing. The research collected data from four broad categories: income level, source of income, household characteristics (including family composition and race and ethnicity), and housing market conditions to determine an estimated length of stay.  
 
The research sought to answer four primary questions: 
 
How long do HUD-assisted households stay in the public housing, Housing Choice Voucher (HCV), and project-based Section 8 programs? 
Has the length of stay changed over time and for various cohorts of households? 
What factors influence the length of stay? 
Does the distribution of stays reflect a threshold that separates households that exit early from households that stay for an extended period? 

The researchers conclude: “households that remain in assisted housing tend to follow a common pattern of stays. Once admitted…over 90% remain in that housing through the first year. 70 to 80%...remain through the second year. 50% leave by 4 to 6 years after entry, and about 80% leave by years 9 to 11.” Further, of those cohorts of households, elderly and disabled individuals tend to have the longest length of stay. 

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