Work Requirements in Public Housing: Impacts on Tenant Employment and Evictions
38 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2015 Last revised: 15 Dec 2015
Date Written: September 22, 2015
In recent years, many have debated adopting work requirements in the Public Housing Program, and eight public housing authorities have implemented these policies through the flexibility provided by the Moving to Work demonstration. One such agency – the Charlotte Housing Authority (CHA) – has adopted a work requirement across five (of its 15) public housing developments that mandates heads of household work 15 hours per week or face sanctions. This paper evaluates this policy and presents the first empirical comparison of employment and eviction rates between those subject to the work requirement and a comparison group not subject to the policy. We find that, following work requirement enforcement, the percentage of households paying minimum rent (a proxy for employment) decreased relative to the comparison group. Analysis of additional data on both employment and hours worked indicates similar employment gains, but no increase in average hours worked. We find no evidence that work requirement sanctions increased evictions, and only modest evidence that enforcement increased the rate of positive move-outs. Surveys of CHA residents indicate that a large proportion support work requirements in public housing. While our findings clearly support the effectiveness of the CHA’s work requirement, we caution against imposing such a requirement before more research is conducted.
Keywords: public housing, Moving to Work, work requirements
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation