Report Finds Some Moving to Work PHAs Promote Mobility
The Urban Institute recently released a report entitled Moving to Work and Neighborhood Opportunity. This report explored how public housing authorities (PHAs) granted Moving to Work (MTW) status by HUD use their unique policy and fiscal flexibility to help low-income households move to opportunity-rich neighborhoods. Policy and programs adopted through MTW include changes to the tenant-based Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program or policies that increase the affordable housing supply in opportunity neighborhoods through the project-based voucher (PBV) program.
The report lists MTW PHAs’ initiatives related to increasing housing choices and geographic mobility. Of the 24 MTW PHAs with mobility-related initiatives four had comprehensive mobility programs, which provide counseling or case management and other services to HCV recipients before, during, or after their search for housing; eight had incentives and supports for landlords to accept vouchers, including financial incentives such as property damage or vacancy insurance and modifications to inspection requirements; 11 had incentives and supports for tenants to make voucher moves to opportunity-rich areas, such as financial incentives or modifications to voucher payment standards in opportunity areas; and four placed PBVs in high-opportunity neighborhoods. However, 14 agencies had restrictive policies that limit mobility, such as requiring households to live in their current jurisdiction for a year before moving to another jurisdiction.
The report identified the various initiatives for possible insights for further research into mobility-related programming and opportunities. The report pointed out that additional work to gather information directly from PHAs would be necessary to paint a more detailed and comprehensive picture of MTW activities. It argues that a more comprehensive assessment would require intensive engagement with the 39 MTW agencies through qualitative or survey work to identify and describe their activities in more detail.