Affordable Housing, Community Development, Homelessness, Reports and Publications

Female-Headed Families Funneled into High-Distress Locations


A recent study found that female-headed households using housing choice vouchers (HCVs), a program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), were underrepresented in communities with low levels of distress (e.g., poverty, unemployment, high-school dropouts, etc.). Less than 10% of female-headed households receiving vouchers lived in these low distress areas. When the dataset was categorized by race, the authors found that less than 3% of black and Hispanic female-headed households resided in these communities.

The study also found that female-headed households using HCVs were overrepresented in neighborhoods with very-high levels of distress. Over a third of households using HCVs were located in very-high distress neighborhoods. Over half of black and Hispanic female-headed households were concentrated in these communities.

The authors acknowledge that simply increasing the availability of affordable housing in low-distress neighborhoods may not address these disparities. Their research found that low-distress areas with relatively more affordable units did not attract higher levels of HCV minority residents. There are clearly other factors besides availability that are inhibiting minority access to these neighborhoods, which must be addressed. 

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