Roundtable: Creating Moves to Higher Opportunity Neighborhoods Using Housing Choice Vouchers
(Housing, Community Development, and Urban Policy)

Thursday, November 8, 2018: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Harding - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Moderators:  Kristen D. Watkins, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab North America
Speakers:  Sarah Oppenheimer, King County Housing Authority, James Riccio, MDRC, Greg Russ, Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and Christopher Palmer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Although the US spends $20 billion annually on the Housing Choice Voucher program, more than 80% of vouchers are used in moderate- or high-poverty neighborhoods. Emerging research from the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) study has shown that the neighborhoods that children grow up in have a long-term impact on their lives – young children who grow up in higher opportunity neighborhoods are on average 32% more likely to go to college and earn 31% more in adulthood. The Creating Moves to

Opportunity (CMTO) project was created to generate new knowledge of effective ways to promote and facilitate families’ housing mobility in the United States. CMTO focuses on helping families with young children access high opportunity neighborhoods where voucher-holders have traditionally struggled to successfully find and lease a home.


This roundtable will highlight the ongoing research of CMTO and how the partnership of academic and nonprofit researchers and practitioners from public housing authorities has enabled the development and evaluation of mobility programs. Greg Russ (Minneapolis Public Housing Authority) will share the motivation behind the creation of CMTO and how partnering with researchers has influenced program development and resource allocation at participating housing authorities. Christopher Palmer (MIT Sloan) will discuss the research questions motivating current CMTO research, and the ongoing academic research projects underway. Jim Riccio (MDRC) will share insights from implementing CMTO research projects and future plans for expanding CMTO’s research efforts. Sarah Oppenheimer (King County Housing Authority) will discuss the experience of implementing and evaluation a new housing mobility initiative as part of CMTO from the practitioner’s perspective.