Brief Public Housing Programs Could Benefit from Greater Flexibility
Learning from the COVID-19 Pandemic Experience
Monique King-Viehland, Elizabeth Champion, Susan J. Popkin
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In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many public housing authorities (PHAs) to quickly adjust their operational procedures to protect their staff while providing emergency assistance to residents. Many PHAs had to close their offices and convert to remote operations almost overnight, while staff focused on supporting their tenants by delivering them food, doing wellness checks for vulnerable residents, and ensuring they had access to and in some cases providing the technology needed for children to attend school remotely and isolated residents to remain connected to friends, family, and service providers. Moreover, as the economic crisis caused by the pandemic worsened, PHAs were under pressure to rapidly adjust rents for tenants who had lost income and process housing choice voucher (HCV) applications so people could use their vouchers to find housing. This brief provides insights into how public housing authorities used additional flexibilities that became available through a series of HUD-issued regulatory and statutory waivers, and makes the case for the potential benefits for added flexibilities for the  HCV and public housing programs going forward.

Research Areas Housing
Tags Federal housing programs and policies Housing vouchers and mobility Housing markets Housing affordability Public and assisted housing
Policy Centers Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center Research to Action Lab