Reducing Work Disincentives in the Housing Choice Voucher Program: Rent Reform Demonstration Baseline Report
The purpose of the Rent Reform Demonstration is to test an alternative to the current rent-setting system for families using housing choice vouchers (HCV). The goals of the alternative rent-setting model now being tested are to incentivize employment and reduce the complexity and burden (and, thus, the cost) of administering the rent policy, while not causing unnecessary hardship for HCV households. The study team, PHAs, and HUD collaboratively designed the alternative rent model that is being tested at four local Moving to Work (MTW) public housing agencies (PHAs) sites with 6,600 participating HCV assisted households using a rigorous random assignment design. The four participating PHAs are the District of Columbia Housing Authority, Lexington Housing Authority, Louisville Metropolitan Housing Authority, and San Antonio Housing Authority. This report provides a detailed explanation of the alternative rent model, a description of the demonstration implementation, and an outline of the preliminary baseline information and survey data that has already been gathered from the assisted families participating in the study. Future reports will assess the impact of the alternative rent model at 12 and 36 months after random assignment on employment, earnings, and hardship for the study sample and on administrative efficiencies for the PHA, provide a process evaluation of the demonstration implementation, and analyze the cost effectiveness of the new rent policy compared to the existing rent policy.