An Uneven Housing Policy for America’s Poor

Gillian White in The Atlantic: “When you look at the nationwide statistics, it’s clear that voucher recipients are able to live in areas of less-concentrated poverty, and that they live in less-segregated neighborhoods than poor families who have no choice but to live in shelters, transitional housing, or traditional public-housing units. (Vouchers are a rent subsidy that people can use to live in privately owned housing.)”

But “finding better neighborhoods with landlords who will accept vouchers can be nearly impossible in some areas.”

Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow at Brookings has found “that voucher holders in the 100 largest metro areas lived in neighborhoods where the poverty rate was an average of 10 percentage points higher and the minority population share was 21 percentage points higher than the average for all neighborhoods in the largest metros.”

Difference Between Regional Poverty Rate and Voucher-Holder Poverty Rate

“Part of the issue is that vouchers, made specifically to allow families to move away from highly concentrated areas of poverty and into areas of greater racial and economic integration, often wind up not being all that portable because of discriminatory housing practices, landlords who refuse to accept vouchers, or difficulty identifying and moving to neighborhoods with more economic promise.”

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