On March 15, President Biden signed the bipartisan FY 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Act. The legislation includes $25 million for housing mobility services, which will help low-income Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) families exercise greater choice in where they live so they can truly thrive. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HCV program, also known as the Section 8 voucher program, subsidizes the housing costs of more than two million low-income American households.
Eligible public housing authorities (PHAs) will now have more funding accessible to provide counseling and other assistance to families with children as they use their vouchers. Additionally, PHAs will be able to deploy funds to educate families about the positive effects living in low-poverty neighborhoods has on children, help families use their vouchers to secure quality housing in high-opportunity communities, conduct outreach to landlords on behalf of families with vouchers, and provide continued support to HCV families after they move in.
“This substantial investment in housing mobility services will provide families with the holistic support they need to transition and adjust to their new home and community successfully. At BRHP, we’ve seen first-hand the impact housing mobility counseling has on a family’s ability to access and their decision to stay in a high-opportunity community long-term,” said Adria Crutchfield, Executive Director of the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership. “This stability makes all the difference in their children’s lives.”
“It’s great to see Congress making this kind of investment for families with children in our largest low-income housing program. Every large housing authority in the country should be looking at housing mobility programs to expand housing choices for families with vouchers,” said Philip Tegeler, Executive Director of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council.
Andrea Juracek, Executive Director of Housing Choice Partners, said, “Mobility programs help open doors to communities that have historically been off-limits to Housing Choice Voucher participants. The investment in housing mobility made by Congress in this year’s spending bill takes an intentional step towards undoing the harms of housing discrimination that have left many families with little choice but to use their vouchers in neighborhoods that have not been afforded investment. Thousands of families across the country will now have greater opportunity to live in the neighborhood of their choice and access the resources they need to thrive.”
Ann Lott, Executive Director of Inclusive Communities Project, said, “For families who want to move to lower-poverty neighborhoods, housing mobility programs are essential to making ‘choice’ a meaningful part of the Housing Choice Voucher program.”
“Congress’s action is an important step toward enabling all state and local agencies that administer federal housing vouchers to provide families with the services they need to access housing of their choice,” said Barbara Sard, former Vice President for Housing Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
About Mobility Works
Mobility Works is a consortium of nonprofit groups, researchers, and policy experts that works to help low-income families move from high poverty, segregated neighborhoods into diverse communities with high-performing schools. Our members include the national civil rights policy group PRRAC and the personnel of three leading housing mobility practitioners: Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership, Housing Choice Partners in Chicago, and Inclusive Communities Project in Dallas.