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Helping Public Housing Agencies Implement an Alternative Rent Policy: A Technical Assistance Summary Report from the Rent Reform Demonstration


Authors: Olejniczak, Keith     Azurdia, Gilda L.     MDRC    

Report Acceptance Date: January 2023 (56 pages)

Posted Date: May 16, 2024

The purpose of the Rent Reform Demonstration was to test an alternative to the current rent-setting system for families using housing choice vouchers (HCVs). The goals of the alternative rent-setting model being tested were 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. Using a rigorous random assignment design, the demonstration began enrolling voucher holders in 2015 in four cities at four Moving to Work (MTW) public housing agencies (PHAs) sites with approximately 6,600 HCV assisted households participating. The current report documents the technical support provided by the study team, illustrates operationally how an interested PHA could implement various elements of the alternative rent policy tested in the Rent Reform Demonstration, serves as a resource for PHAs thinking about how to operationalize the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA) of 2016 statute that requires the use of prior year’s income, and provides guidance to PHAs implementing new rent policies in the Moving to Work (MTW) Expansion for Cohort 2, Stepped and Tiered Rent Demonstration (STRD).


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