Next City: How New Rules for Section 8 Voucher Payments Mean More Mobility for Voucher Holders

Next City: How New Rules for Section 8 Voucher Payments Mean More Mobility for Voucher Holders
January 27, 2018 Joanna Rivas

While officials currently at the highest levels of government may be delaying or undoing initiatives to end housing segregation, local public housing authorities now have a powerful tool to that end. Starting this year, local public housing authorities all over the country will be allowed to offer higher Section 8 rental assistance voucher payments to landlords in more affluent neighborhoods. As research from Raj Chetty and others have shown, the “zip code effect” is real. When families are given the chance to move from a poor zip code to an affluent one, children do better in school and eventually land higher wage jobs and more stable careers. But for many poor families, making that move is not possible because rents in affluent neighborhoods are out of reach; rental assistance vouchers, which pay the difference between 30 percent of a tenant’s income and the fair market rent for the unit, only go so far.

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