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Cityscape: Volume 15 Number 2 | Article 10


Mixed Messages on Mixed Incomes

Volume 15 Number 2

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

Examining Mobility Outcomes in the Housing Choice Voucher Program: Neighborhood Poverty, Employment, and Public School Quality

Victoria Basolo
University of California, Irvine

Low-income housing policies seeking to deconcentrate poverty and increase opportunities through mobility have produced mixed results. The Moving to Opportunity (MTO) program, for example, resulted in some beneficial outcomes for low-income households moving from high- to low-poverty neighborhoods, but it did not produce the widespread positive effects anticipated by many policymakers and researchers. The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) does not require moves to low-poverty neighborhoods, as MTO did, but rather it relies on a weaker policy of choice to achieve more income-diverse neighborhoods. As compared with what researchers have learned about the MTO participants, less is known concerning the mobility behavior and outcomes of HCVP recipients. Using survey data from voucher holders under the jurisdiction of two local housing authorities in California combined with secondary data from multiple sources, this article examines a range of outcomes, including neighborhood poverty rates, employment, and school quality, associated with mobility in the HCVP. The results of the analyses show that movers did not have better outcomes than nonmovers but, compared with conditions in their previous residence, movers lived in neighborhoods with lower poverty rates and better school quality after they moved. By contrast, employment for movers dropped significantly from before to after their moves.

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