Housing Mobility Programs Fall Short for Complex Reasons
Housing mobility programs have “largely failed” to move poor families to or keep them in better neighborhoods for deep-seated reasons related to the multidimensional and cumulative effects of housing instability, posits a paper by Rachel Garshik Kleit, Seungbeom Kang, and Corianne Payton Scally. Fundamentally, the authors argue, greater housing instability indicates lower prospects for successful “mobility moves.” The authors suggest that past and current housing policies have focused principally on informational and financial barriers to better mobility outcomes and have not paid sufficient attention to how prolonged housing instability affects resident discretion and ability to benefit from rental assistance.
- While housing vouchers on their own “do a good job of making housing more accessible and affordable,” they generally do not enable households to move to and stay in better neighborhoods, most likely due to nonfinancial and noninformational factors.
- Specifically, voucher holders are usually in an unstable housing situation before they receive a voucher, an experience that creates additional pressures and “pushes” that may require additional support and intervention to enhance the prospects for a successful mobility move.
- The Moving to Work Demonstration program and the Rental Assistance Demonstration program are piloting the delivery of such additional supports to voucher holders.
- For households that are stably housed at the time they receive a voucher, the voucher may be enough to enable a mobility move to a better neighborhood.