Vice President for Housing Policy
The House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations subcommittee will consider this afternoon its fiscal year 2019 funding bill, which includes $50 million for a new Housing Choice Voucher mobility demonstration. Building on legislation from Sean Duffy and Emanuel Cleaver, the Republican chairman and ranking Democrat, respectively, of the House Financial Services Committee’s Housing and Insurance Subcommittee, appropriators have proposed a multi-year demonstration that would help more families with vouchers move to privately owned units in lower-poverty areas. These proposals show that policymakers — on a bipartisan basis — recognize the growing body of evidence that low-income families with children who move to low-poverty areas do better in the long term (see chart), and that they have identified increasing housing voucher mobility as a key to arresting intergenerational poverty.
We estimate that this demonstration will offer mobility services to over 22,500 families and that over 7,000 families will move to opportunity communities.
As part of the demonstration, the subcommittee bill would:
To ensure the demonstration has the greatest impact, the bill would require HUD to award funds on a competitive basis and prioritize regional collaborations among PHAs that have high concentrations of voucher holders in low-opportunity neighborhoods, a high-performing FSS program, or a strong regional collaboration including one or more small housing agencies, among other factors. HUD would have flexibility to decide how many grants to award.
The House should move forward with this well-designed, research-based solution to help the voucher program reach its potential. The Senate should include a similar provision in its 2019 appropriations bill.
CBPP will analyze other provisions in the House subcommittee appropriations draft in the coming days.