State and Metropolitan Administration of Section 8: Current Models and Potential Resources, Final Report
April 1997 (164 pages)
February 17, 2009
This report examines how the administration of the Section 8 program might affect a family's choice in where to live. Despite Congressional and HUD changes to the Section 8 program broadening the housing choices available to program participants, many families still choose to live within a narrow range of neighborhoods. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) commissioned this study to examine how State, metropolitan, and local Section 8 programs are dealing with problems that may be created by a geographic mismatch between the predominantly local administration of the program and the metropolitan scope of urban housing markets. These problems include uneven access and inhibited mobility for program participants, confusion among participating landlords, and serious strains on the resources of housing agencies. The study used telephone interviews with 42 Section 8 administrators in different types of agencies, addressing topics such as administrative structure and jurisdiction, agency experience with portability and mobility, the extent of metropolitan cooperation, and views on recent program changes. The study discussion is organized around four key challenges: participant access, participant movement, landlord involvement, and program administration. Researchers discovered a remarkable array of administrative approaches being employed to make the selection of neighborhoods easier for families, landlords, and housing agencies alike. State agencies, not surprisingly, were found to be most likely to have made the greatest progress toward choice for families because of their ability to operate over many jurisdictions.