Why Housing Mobility?
What's the Need?
Every neighborhood should be a good place to live, but longstanding factors like racist disinvestment have made it so most neighborhoods where Housing Choice Voucher holders lives lack the necessary conditions for families to thrive.
In these neighborhoods they face toxic stressors such as crime, high unemployment rates, and ill-equipped schools.
Research shows that for low-income children, relocation to a high-opportunity neighborhood has immediate benefits that lead to better health and significantly higher earnings in adulthood. This is especially true for Black and Hispanic families, who are more likely than white voucher holders to live in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty.
Many efforts are underway to make low-income neighborhoods better for their inhabitants. Simultaneously, though, families should have options; they should be able to move somewhere that works for them.
Why Housing Mobility?
The voucher alone is a subsidy; it doesn’t come with information or access. Families need information about what’s available in unfamiliar neighborhoods as well as tools to overcome barriers to using their voucher.
In researching neighborhoods on their own, many families only hear about available rentals through word of mouth. Others face discrimination from landlords during their search. Mobility programs perform vital dual roles: recruiting and supporting landlords in high-opportunity areas to rent to voucher holders, as well as coaching and advocating on behalf of their tenants.
Housing mobility programs in Baltimore, Dallas, and Chicago have helped move thousands of families from neighborhoods that don’t work for them to safer, economically mixed neighborhoods with high-performing schools, where their children have greater academic success.
1. Mobility programs provide the information and tools clients need to access desirable neighborhoods.
2. They reach out to landlords in those areas and offer counseling to help their clients get a lease.
3. Housing mobility clients receive ongoing program support after they arrive in their new neighborhood so they can acclimate and remain for the long term.