Advancing Choice in the Housing Choice Voucher Program: Source of Income Protections and Locational Outcomes

47 Pages Posted: 11 May 2022 Last revised: 5 Aug 2022

See all articles by Ingrid Gould Ellen

Ingrid Gould Ellen

New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Katherine M. O'Regan

New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Katharine WH Harwood

New York University (NYU) - Wagner School of Public Service

Date Written: May 31, 2022

Abstract

An elusive goal of HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program is to provide more – and better – locational choices for recipient households. Landlord discrimination against voucher recipients is one potential barrier, particularly in areas of greater opportunity. Using a difference-in-difference design (and confirmed with event-study results), this paper evaluates the effectiveness of source of income laws in 31 jurisdictions enacting such laws between 2007 and 2017 in improving locational outcomes for voucher households. We find consistent evidence that such laws lead to more upwardly mobile moves (or greater improvement in neighborhoods) among existing voucher holders who move. Specifically, existing voucher holders who move post enactment experience greater reductions in neighborhood poverty rates and in voucher household shares. We also find that after SOI laws pass, voucher holders move to neighborhoods with larger white population shares. Effects are modest, but hold for households whose head is Black as well as for families with children, two groups who may face greater challenges in housing markets. We do not find any change in the neighborhoods where new voucher holders lease up after the passage of SOI laws, but this may be confounded by a compositional change in the neighborhoods where successful voucher holders originate.

Keywords: Vouchers, discrimination, mobility, fair housing, poverty concentration, segregation

Suggested Citation

Ellen, Ingrid Gould and O'Regan, Katherine M. and Harwood, Katharine WH, Advancing Choice in the Housing Choice Voucher Program: Source of Income Protections and Locational Outcomes (May 31, 2022). This is an original manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Housing Policy Debate on August 1, 2022, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10511482.2022.2089196?src, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4102425 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4102425

Ingrid Gould Ellen

New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service ( email )

The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States

Katherine M. O'Regan (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service ( email )

The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States
212-998-7498 (Phone)
212-995-3890 (Fax)

Katharine WH Harwood

New York University (NYU) - Wagner School of Public Service ( email )

295 Lafayette St
Second Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States

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