Panel: Housing Vouchers and Access to Opportunity
(Housing & Community Development)

Thursday, November 8, 2012: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Pratt A (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizers:  Keren Horn, New York University
Moderators:  Michael Lens, University of California, Los Angeles and Philip Tegeler, Poverty & Race Research Action Council
Chairs:  Cynthia Guy, Annie E. Casey Foundation

The housing voucher program currently serves over 2 million households, and over 2.5 million children under the age of eighteen. Given the scale of this program and HUD’s strategic goal of utilizing housing as a platform to improve quality of life, it is critical that we understand how this form of federal assistance shapes opportunities for our nation’s most disadvantaged populations. In this panel, each of the papers explores whether housing vouchers help households reach better neighborhoods. In the first paper, Ellen Horn and Schwartz conduct a national analysis, exploring whether low income households use housing vouchers to move to neighborhoods with better schools. DeLuca and Rosenblatt, focus on the effects of a class action housing desegregation lawsuit in Baltimore, Maryland, which provided resources for almost 2000 families to relocate from Baltimore’s public housing communities into mostly white, non-poor neighborhoods across the metropolitan region. They conduct in depth interviews to explore whether these moves shaped the educational access for the children of housing voucher holders. Freeman explores the implementation of Source of Income Anti-Discrimination laws, and whether the creation of these laws improves residential outcomes for housing voucher holders. Galvez and Hall study how low-income voucher holders approach and experience the housing search process and neighborhood decisions using qualitative and survey data from Seattle. They focus on ways that counseling services may help facilitate access to high-quality neighborhoods and schools. Together these programs shed light on the effectiveness of the housing voucher program in providing access to opportunity for low income households.

Do Housing Vouchers Break the Link Between Poverty and Poor Schools?
Ingrid Gould Ellen, Keren Horn and Amy Schwartz, New York University

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