Advancing Choice in the Housing Choice Voucher Program: Source of Income Protections and Locational Outcomes
The housing choice voucher program, the largest low-income housing subsidy program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), provides assistance to over 5 million people in approximately 2.3 million households. But, one of the program’s elusive goals is to provide more - and better - locational choices for recipient households. Surveying data between 2007 and 2017, this paper evaluates how source of income laws in 31 jurisdictions impact where voucher holders live. These laws prohibit discrimination based on the source of income a tenant uses to pay rent. The authors find consistent evidence that adopting such laws result in greater neighborhood improvements among existing voucher holders who move. More specifically, voucher holders who move after a law has been enacted live in areas with lower poverty rates and more racially diverse populations.
Rent Payments in Affordable Housing During the Pandemic: The Role of Rental Subsidies and the Safety Net
In this brief, the NYU Furman Center and the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley join together as members of the Housing Crisis Research Collaborative to conduct updated and additional analysis of renters and rental payments in primarily affordable housing portfolios in New York City and California. We are able to elevate similarities in trends and provide a more complete picture of the challenges facing both renters and property owners as they exit the depths of the economic crisis.
Rent Payments in a Pandemic: Analysis of Affordable Housing in New York City
In partnership with the New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH) and its members, as well as with feedback and support from the Housing Crisis Research Collaborative, the Furman Center compiled a novel data set of detailed information on rent charges and payments at the tenant level. Using these data, this report examines how rent payments and rental arrears (accumulated rent owed) changed for tenants residing in this sample provided by affordable housing owners and managers.
Through the Roof: What Communities Can Do About the High Cost of Rental Housing in America
Housing affordability continues to be a major concern for residents across the country. In this report, the authors look at what local governments can do to mitigate rising costs of rental housing in the U.S. The report reviews the root causes of high rent burdens and the consequences, including the impact of housing choice vouchers and modest increases in income. It also discusses why housing costs rise, looking more closely at housing markets and the factors that contribute to rising rent burdens. The report then reviews government policy responses at the local, state, and federal level before laying out a framework that municipalities can use to help provide citizens affordable housing options. It serves as a helpful tool for local officials considering new housing strategies or those interesting in improving existing policies.
A Renter Safety Net: A Call for Federal Emergency Rental Assistance
For decades, escalating housing costs have outpaced income growth for middle- and lower-income earners. As a result, millions of American households struggle to accumulate a savings buffer with the little income they have leftover after paying rent, and are therefore left vulnerable to evictions or forced moves when unexpected financial shocks occur. In this chapter, authors Ingrid Gould Ellen, Paulette Goddard Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and Faculty Director of the NYU Furman Center, Amy Ganz, Deputy Director of the Economic Strategy Group, and Katherine O’Regan, Professor of Public Policy and Planning at NYU Wagner and Faculty Director of the NYU Furman Center, document the costly externalities that such housing instability poses and propose the creation of a Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program to provide one-time, short-term financial help to low-income renters who face unexpected financial shocks.
Do Housing Vouchers Improve Academic Performance? Evidence from New York City
This paper examines whether—and to what extent—housing vouchers improve educational outcomes for students whose families receive them. Using data from New York City, the nation's largest school district, the authors match over 88,000 school‐age voucher recipients to longitudinal public school records. Results indicate that students in voucher households perform better in both English Language Arts and Mathematics in the years after they receive a voucher.
The Effects of Small Area Fair Market Rents on the Neighborhood Choices of Families with Children
This paper reports and extends the quantitative findings of the Small Area Fair Market Rent Demonstration Evaluation, focusing on the important subgroup of families with children. The authors test whether varying housing assistance subsidy caps with ZIP Code rent levels (that is, introducing Small Area Fair Market Rents or SAFMRs) increases the likelihood that voucher-holder families with children locate in higher opportunity neighborhoods, as proxied by poverty rates, the proficiency levels of local elementary schools, jobs proximity, and environmental hazards. Five years after implementation, Small Area FMRs do not appear to affect overall move rates, but they meaningfully affect the locational outcomes among families with children who move.
Do Vouchers Protect Low-Income Households from Rising Rents?
Using restricted administrative data on the voucher program, the authors examine the experience of voucher holders in metropolitan areas with rising rents. While some of the authors' models suggest that rising rents in metropolitan areas are associated with a slight increase in rent-to-income ratios among voucher holders, poor renters in general see significantly larger increases in rent-to-income ratios. The authors see little evidence that rising rents push voucher holders to worse neighborhoods, with voucher holders in central cities ending up in lower-poverty neighborhoods as rents rise. It appears that vouchers may help low-income households remain in neighborhoods as they gentrify.
Neighbors and networks: The role of social interactions on the residential choices of housing choice voucher holders
This study considers the role of information and social influence in determining the effective set of potential housing choices for participants in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. It finds that pairs of voucher participants in close proximity are 40% more likely to move to the same neighborhood than pairs that live more than 1,000 feet apart, and that the neighborhoods selected by close proximity pairs are likely to be more economically disadvantaged by several measures. These findings were magnified in tight rental markets, and in highly segregated cities.
Housing and Educational Opportunity: Characteristics of Local Schools Near Families with Federal Housing Assistance
This report focuses on access to neighborhood elementary schools, highlighting disparities between families living in subsidized housing and those who do not. It describes the characteristics of the local public elementary schools to which children living in subsidized housing have access, including their student demographics, teacher characteristics and relative proficiency rates. The report shows that that families receiving all four major types of federal housing assistance lived near lower performing and higher poverty schools than other poor families with children as well as other renters with children.