Understanding HUD’s Moving to Work Demonstration: A Retrospective Evaluation

Nearly 4,000 public housing authorities and agencies (PHAs) provide housing assistance to over 3.2 million households with low incomes nationwide, primarily through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) public housing and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs.

In 1996, HUD launched the Moving to Work (MTW) demonstration program to allow a small subset of PHAs to implement innovative, locally designed activities intended to achieve one or more of the demonstration’s three statutory objectives. The objectives are to “reduce cost and achieve greater cost effectiveness in Federal expenditures; give incentives to families with children where the head of household is working, is seeking work, or is preparing for work by participating in job training, educational programs, or programs that assist people to obtain employment and become economically self-sufficient; and increase housing choices for low-income families.”

As of 2020, a total of 39 agencies were participating in the demonstration, with HUD expected to designate additional MTW agencies in the future through the MTW Expansion. MTW designation encourages innovation by allowing PHAs to waive or adapt public housing and HCV program requirements so long as HUD approves the activities and the agencies continue to serve substantially the same number and mix of households. In addition, MTW agencies may combine their public housing and HCV program funding to provide housing assistance in ways that traditional PHAs cannot.

HUD contracted with the Urban Institute and MDRC to complete a retrospective MTW evaluation and produce several reports that examine various aspects of the MTW program and participating agencies’ activities and performance under the program’s three statutory objectives. This page will be updated as these reports are published.

Publications

Synopses of the reports are also included in the Volume 22, Number 3, 2020 issue of Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, HUD’s housing and community development research journal. The issue is dedicated to the retrospective evaluation of MTW and includes the following articles.

 

Learn more about MTW agencies and the residents they serve in the pages on the left. These pages are a companion to the report A Picture of Moving to Work Agencies’ Housing Assistance, which describes MTW agencies, the assistance they provided, and the characteristics of the households they served in 2008 and 2016.