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The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • The Fair Housing Act at 50
  • Volume 21 Number 1
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga

Does Jobs Proximity Matter in the Housing Choice Voucher Program?

Michael Lens
University of California Los Angeles

Kirk McClure
University of Kansas

Brent Mast
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research

The Housing Choice Voucher Program is the centerpiece of a housing strategy that attempts to influence neighborhood opportunity while making housing more affordable for low-income families. A key neighborhood opportunity is proximity to jobs. This study uses a household-level, longitudinal dataset from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to examine whether households with people in the workforce are more likely to locate closer to jobs than are households without people in the workforce. We then look at whether being closer to jobs is associated with greater likelihood of employment or greater earned incomes. We find no evidence that households attached to the labor force are more likely to locate closer to jobs, and we find no associations between earned income and greater proximity to jobs. We take those findings as evidence that, although locational advantages may be achieved with help from housing vouchers, jobs proximity does not seem to be one of those advantages. Given that jobs proximity is not correlated to higher earned incomes, however, we question the importance of jobs proximity when weighed against other neighborhood opportunities.

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