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PHA Homelessness Preferences: Web Census Survey Data

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PHA Homelessness Preferences: Web Census Survey Data

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administered a web-based survey to 3,988 public housing agencies (PHA) that administer the Housing Choice Voucher program and/or operate public housing to understand the extent to which PHAs prioritize homeless households for these two forms of housing assistance.

This survey of all PHAs nationwide was used to provide an understanding of the activities that PHAs are using to serve homeless individuals and families, including whether they use general or limited preferences for homeless households or make other special efforts to serve homeless households. The self-administered survey, conducted from June through September 2012, consisted of close-ended questions about the size of the PHA and the types of programs it administers, the existing preferences and limited preferences for homeless households and how they fit into the PHA’s overall preference system, barriers the PHA perceives as limiting its ability to serve homeless households, the extent of PHA partnerships with organizations that provide services to people experiencing homelessness , whether the PHA participates in the CoC, and other programs administered through the PHAs that could serve homeless households. A special section on the survey pertained only to PHAs that have been provided Moving to Work (MTW) authority, which allows PHAs additional flexibility related to the allowable uses of their funds, as well as flexibility in the development of administrative policies.

The study team, led by Abt Associates, obtained an 80 percent response rate to the Web survey. It is important to note that because PHAs are allowed to modify their systems of preferences and often do, the data must be considered a point-in-time “snapshot” of PHA efforts to serve homeless households in 2012.


  • Final survey instrument (.pdf)
  • PHA Census Survey Data (.zip)
  • SAS File (.zip)
  • Data Dictionary (.xlsx)
  • Accompanying Notes to PHA Preferences Web Census Survey Data Documentation (.pdf)
  • README (.pdf)