The Story of Housing Mobility

ICP Pic-Lil GirlsHistorically, public housing in the United States provided separate and unequal opportunities for white and non-white residents. African Americans were confined to poor, racially isolated neighborhoods, while whites lived in nicer units in wealthier parts of town. Starting in the 1960s and 1970s, however, black residents in Chicago, Dallas and elsewhere began suing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to end the segregation.

The concept of housing mobility arose from those cases, in which its proponents were striving to make sure that minority families had the same range of opportunities available to low-income white families. Black and Latino families needed access to diverse communities with safe streets, good schools and job opportunities. Housing mobility programs helped them use their vouchers to find those places. Programs like the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program, Inclusive Communities Project in Dallas and Housing Choice Partners in Chicago have helped thousands of families move to places where they feel safe and have hope of improving their lives.

More recently, the concept of housing mobility has been expanded to address the chronic levels of segregation in the Housing Choice Voucher program. Even though the voucher (Section 8) program was originally intended to give families a broader range of housing choices, in many places voucher families have been unfairly limited in where they can live. Mobility strategies are a complement to other important efforts that focus on bringing more resources to the neighborhoods that need them. Housing mobility programs have helped families have a broader range of choices and gain access to neighborhoods and communities with lower poverty rates and high-quality schools.

“It has been a blessing that the program helped me and my family out with a better community and helped with rent and a great start.
Thanks to the program I feel less stress, relief.”
– Housing Mobility Participant