• American Housing Survey
  • Volume 14 Number 1
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga

Public Housing Transformation and Resident Relocation: Comparing Destinations and Household Characteristics in Chicago

Robert J. Chaskin, University of Chicago

Mark L. Joseph, Case Western Reserve University

Sara Voelker, Amy Dworsky , University of Chicago

Refereed Papers


Nearly a decade after the start of the Chicago Housing Authority’s (CHA’s) Plan for Transformation, more than 16,000 households have been relocated into a variety of housing contexts, including new mixed-income developments, private rental housing subsidized with vouchers, scattered-site public housing units, and rehabilitated 100-percent public housing developments. Using administrative data from the CHA and a number of state agencies, we compare the characteristics of residents who ended up in the different housing contexts and examine differences in their current well-being. Counter to expectations, our analysis reveals no evidence of any sorting of higher functioning households into new mixed-income developments or into the private market with housing choice vouchers, or of more challenged households being left behind in traditional public housing developments. On the contrary, we find that the households that ended up taking vouchers were relatively more challenged (as suggested, for example, by patterns of employment, income, and welfare receipt) in 1999 than other subgroups and even have relatively more troubling indicators of well-being in 2008. Furthermore, although the households living in scattered-site housing in 2008 seem to be faring quite well, those in mixed-income developments are surprisingly indistinguishable across most indicators from the households living in traditional public housing developments.

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