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Section 8 Vouchers and Mobility

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Strengths and Weaknesses of the Housing Voucher Program (Testimony)
Margery Austin Turner

Replacing the federal housing voucher program with a state block grant would be a retreat from the nation's 54-year-old goal of "a decent home in a suitable living environment for every American family." Instead of resolving the fundamental dilemma of inadequate funding for affordable housing, a block grant would make housing hardship a state problem rather than a federal problem, and open the door to untested program changes that could undermine the proven strengths of the voucher approach.

Posted to Web: June 17, 2003Publication Date: June 17, 2003

Choosing a Better Life?: Evaluating the Moving to Opportunity Social Experiment (Book)
John Goering, Judith D. Feins

As the centerpiece of policymakers’ efforts to “deconcentrate” poverty in urban America, the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) project gave roughly 4,600 volunteer families the chance to move out of public housing projects in deeply impoverished neighborhoods in five cities—Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Researchers wanted to find out to what extent moving out of a poor neighborhood into a better-off area would improve the lives of public housing families. Choosing a Better Life? is the first distillation of years of research on the MTO project, the largest rigorously designed social experiment to investigate the consequences of moving low-income public housing residents to low-poverty neighborhoods. In this book, leading social scientists and policy experts examine the legislative and political foundations of the project, analyze the effects of MTO on lives of the families involved, and explore lessons learned from this important piece of U.S. social policy. “I recommend the book to all scholars of housing and antipoverty policy.” --Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of Housing and Development

Posted to Web: June 15, 2003Publication Date: June 15, 2003

Clearing the Way: Deconcentrating the Poor in Urban America (Book)
Edward Goetz

Over the past three decades, the concentration of poverty in America’s inner cities has exacerbated a wide range of social problems. School delinquency, school dropout, teenage pregnancy, out-of-wedlock childbirth, violent crime, and drug abuse are magnified in neighborhoods where the majority of residents are poor. In response, policymakers have embarked on a large and coordinated effort to “deconcentrate” the urban poor by dispersing the residents of subsidized housing. Despite the clean logic of these policies, however, deconcentration is not a clean process. In Clearing the Way, Edward Goetz goes beyond the narrow analysis that has informed the debate so far, using the experience of Minneapolis-Saint Paul to explore the fierce political debate and complicated issues that arise when public housing residents are dispersed, sometimes against their will. Along the way, he explores the cases for and against deconcentrating the poor, the programs used to pursue this goal, and the research used to evaluate their success. Clearing the Way offers important lessons for policymakers, activists, and anyone interested in poverty in America. [View the corresponding press release]

Posted to Web: June 05, 2003Publication Date: June 05, 2003

H.R. 1614 HOPE VI Reauthorization and Small Community Mainstreet Revitalization Housing Act: Testimony before U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Financial Services (Testimony)
Susan J. Popkin

Susan Popkin's testimony, presented to the Financial Services Committee, provides a brief history of the HOPE VI program, outlines the program's goals, and reports on recent findings from two Urban Institute studies: The HOPE VI Panel Study, which is tracking the living conditions and well being of residents from five developments who were surveyed as revitalization began in mid- to late 2001. The HOPE VI Resident Tracking Study provides a snapshot of the living conditions and well being of former residents of eight properties in early 2001-between two and seven years after the housing authority received a HOPE VI grant.

Posted to Web: April 29, 2003Publication Date: April 29, 2003

The HOPE VI Program — What about the Residents? (Policy Briefs)
Susan J. Popkin

While much has been written about the impact of welfare reform on the lives of former recipients, until now little has been known about the impact of the dramatic shift during the 1990s in public housing policy on the lives of residents.

Posted to Web: December 11, 2002Publication Date: December 11, 2002

HOPE VI Helps Many in America's Worst Public Housing, but Vulnerable Families Face Significant Barriers (Press Release)
Urban Institute

A large number of families face serious barriers to leaving their dilapidated homes, while others who have moved struggle to find and maintain private market housing, according to the first systematic, multicity evaluations of HOPE VI's impact on residents, conducted by the Urban Institute and its partner, Abt Associates. [View reports corresponding to this release.

Posted to Web: December 10, 2002Publication Date: December 10, 2002

Chicago Program Holds "Substantial Promise" of Helping Residents Move to Lower-Poverty Neighborhoods (Press Release)
Urban Institute

A local effort that uses housing-search counseling to assist low-income Chicagoans in moving to lower-poverty neighborhoods "has made significant progress," according to a new analysis of the city's Housing Choice Voucher Program by the nonpartisan Urban Institute. [Read the corresponding report]

Posted to Web: December 02, 2002Publication Date: December 02, 2002

The HOPE VI Resident Tracking Study: A Snapshot of the Current Living Situation of Original Residents from Eight Sites (Research Report)
Larry Buron, Susan J. Popkin, Diane K. Levy, Laura E. Harris, Jill Khadduri

The HOPE VI Resident Tracking Study represents the first systematic look at what has happened to original residents of distressed public housing developments targeted for revitalization under the HOPE VI program. It provides a snapshot of the living conditions and well-being of former residents of eight properties as of the spring of 2001—between two and seven years after the PHA was awarded a HOPE VI grant. At that time, the redevelopment process was still under way in six of the eight study sites, so the results describe a "work in progress."

Posted to Web: November 01, 2002Publication Date: November 01, 2002

CHAC Mobility Counseling Assessment: Final Report (Research Report)
Mary K. Cunningham, Susan J. Popkin, Erin B. Godfrey, Beata A. Bednarz

The CHAC Mobility Counseling Assessment intends to examine neighborhood outcomes for Housing Choice Voucher holders and to assess CHAC's efforts in providing mobility counseling to voucher holders interested in moving to opportunity neighborhoods. The study also aims to provide ongoing feedback to the CHA and CHAC--the organization that administers the Housing Choice Voucher program and operates the Mobility Program--and other actors concerned about the Housing Choice Voucher Program, such as the Mayor's Office; Chicago Department of Human Services; and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This final report outlines the findings and lessons learned from the study. [Read the press release]

Posted to Web: October 28, 2002Publication Date: October 28, 2002

HOPE VI Panel Study: Baseline Report: Final Report (Research Report)
Susan J. Popkin, Diane K. Levy, Laura E. Harris, Jennifer Comey, Mary K. Cunningham, Larry Buron

The HOPE VI Panel Study focuses on the longer-term location, neighborhood conditions, physical and mental health, and socioeconomic outcomes for original residents of five HOPE VI developments where redevelopment activities began in mid- to late 2001. The specific research questions the study addresses fall into seven issue areas: housing outcomes; neighborhood outcomes; social integration; health outcomes; child education and behavior outcomes; socioeconomic outcomes; and experiences with relocation and supportive services. The study is structured as a pre- and post-intervention study, with the intervention being the changes brought about by HOPE VI activities.

Posted to Web: September 01, 2002Publication Date: September 01, 2002

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