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The Dream Revisited
Discussion 20: Making Vouchers More Mobile

Discussion 20: Making Vouchers More Mobile

July 2016

The twentieth discussion examines the benefits of defining fair market rent by zip code, to make it easier for families to move to higher-opportunity neighborhoods, and weighs potential unintended costs.


  • Expanding Neighborhood Choices for Voucher Tenants Using Small Area Fair Market Rents

    by Rob Collinson

    Since the Housing Act of 1949 set out the goal of “a decent home and suitable living environment for every American family,” federal low-income housing policy has targeted the dual aims of improving both the physical housing unit quality and the neighborhood environment for low-income families. The Housing Choice Voucher program is expressly designed to give low-income families the choice of a better neighborhood environment. 


  • Housing Choice Shouldn’t Be At The Expense of Other Low-Income Renters

    by Rachel Fee

    HUD wants to expand their successful pilot for Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMR) to New York City. With promising outcomes in a Dallas demonstration program, HUD proposes new rules for New York City and other regions with high levels of voucher concentration to both encourage and enable voucher holders to move to areas of higher opportunity and lower poverty. This proposal is full of promise and may work well in some localities, but in a high-cost, extremely low-vacancy city like New York, it could have disastrous consequences.

  • Small Area FMRs: A Jump-Start to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

    by Demetria McCain

    While Collinson highlights important research showing that Dallas movers accessed lower poverty areas with better schools and less crime when SAFMRs came to town, his post doesn’t sufficiently emphasize the power of zip-code based subsidies to combat racial segregation and affirmatively further fair housing. 

  • Supporting, Protecting Low Income Residents Is Essential to Ensuring Successful SAFMR Implementation

    by Diane Yentel

    Almost 14 million people live in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty and the number is growing, nearly doubling since the year 2000. The impacts of this trend are felt most within communities of color. Recent research affirms the profound impact of place on the trajectory of our lives, and so it is distressing that so many recipients of HUD subsidized assistance live in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty.

Discussion 19: Public Housing and Deconcentrating Poverty

May 2016

The nineteenth discussion debates what we should do about high-poverty, distressed public housing developments in light of recent research from the Moving to Opportunity Program about the costs of concentrated poverty.

Discussion 18: Segregation & the Financial Crisis

February 2016

The eighteenth discussion debates the extent to which segregation exacerbated the unequal effects of the mortgage-driven financial collapse of 2007 and ways to address racial disparities in mortgage lending.

Discussion 17: Community Preferences and Fair Housing

November 2015

The seventeenth discussion debates the extent to which preferences in neighborhood residents in accessing new affordable housing promote or betray the goal of truly inclusionary communities. 

Discussion 16: A New Approach to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

November 2015

The sixteenth discussion reacts to HUD’s renewed commitment to the new requirement of the Fair Housing Act to “affirmatively further fair housing.”

Discussion 15: Moving Up or Moving Out

July 2015

The fifteenth discussion explores the most effective ways to address concentrated poverty, focusing on policies that target both people and place.

Discussion 14: Housing Subsidies & Inclusive Communities

June 2015

The fourteenth discussion examines the policy issues underlying Texas vs. The Inclusive Communities Project: how government officials should balance the use of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) allocations to create affordable homes in low-poverty neighborhoods with the use of LIHTC allocations to catalyze economic development in high-poverty neighborhoods.

Discussion 13: The Future of the Fair Housing Act

April 2015

The thirteenth discussion debates the significant of disparate impact liability under the Fair Housing Act, in light of the Supreme Court's deliberation in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project.

Discussion 12: The Poor Door Debate

March 2015

The twelfth discussion weighs the controversy about "poor doors" in the context of a debate over the costs and benefits of mixed-income housing in high-cost markets.

Discussion 11: Explaining Ferguson Through Place and Race

January 2015

The eleventh discussion in The Dream Revisited explores how metropolitan development patterns shaped by race and class set the stage for the events in Ferguson, MO.

Discussion 10: Balancing Investments in People & Place

November 2014

The tenth discussion in the Dream Revisited debates the appropriate balance between investments to help low-income households move to neighborhoods that offer greater access to opportunity and investments to improve the quality of life in low-income neighborhoods.

Discussion 9: Residential Income Segregation

November 2014

The ninth discussion in The Dream Revisited analyzes segregation by income and debates the significance of the increasing isolation of the affluent.

Discussion 8: Neighborhoods, Opportunities, and the Housing Choice Voucher Program

October 2014

The eighth discussion in The Dream Revisited explores how the federal Housing Choice Voucher program can most effectively improve social, educational, and economic opportunities for voucher recipients. 

Discussion 7: Comparative Perspectives on Segregation

September 2014

The seventh discussion in The Dream Revisited explores what can be learned by looking at racial and economic segregation through a comparative lens. 

Discussion 6: Implicit Bias and Segregation

August 2014

The sixth discussion explores how implicit bias contributes to residential segregation and whether or not awareness of implicit biases can heighten a sense of moral urgency.

Discussion 5: Place-Based Affirmative Action

July 2014

The fifth discussion explores proposals to re-imagine affirmative action by focusing on neighborhood disadvantage instead of race.

Discussion 4: Neighborhood Gentrification

May 2014

The fourth discussion explores the relationship between gentrification, neighborhood integration, and public participation.

Discussion 2: Economic Segregation in Schools

March 2014

The second discussion on The Dream Revisited explores economic segregation in our schools and argues for its continued relevance today. 

Discussion 1: Why Integration?

January 2014

The frst discussion in The Dream Revisited asks what we mean by "integration" and why it may be a necessary strategy to acheive racial and economic equality.