Affordable Housing, Community Development, Reports and Publications

Housing Programs and Location-Based Measures Can Positively Impact Children

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report that furthers the case for housing programs to invest in location-based measures that will positively impact education attainment for children.

Not surprisingly, housing location impacts educational performance for children. Many studies have shown that low-income students that lived in low-poverty neighborhoods (fewer than 10% of the residents have incomes below the poverty line) and consistently attended high-quality schools do better than their counterparts that live in high-poverty neighborhoods.

According to the report - Creating Opportunity for Children: How Housing Location Can Make a Difference -  90% of federal housing assistance is administered through three programs, the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, public housing, and Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance. Unfortunately, these programs have not done much to move families out of high-poverty neighborhoods. Of the families receiving this assistance, more children (18%) lived in extreme-poverty neighborhoods (at least 40% of the residents are poor), than children (only 15%) who lived in low-poverty neighborhoods.

The report found that of those programs, the HCV program did the best job at giving low-income families with children the opportunity to live in low-poverty areas. The HCV program also reduced the likelihood that families lived in extreme-poverty neighborhoods when compared with similar families that receive project-based rental assistance or families that don’t receive any type of housing assistance.

That being said, the HCV program still falls far short of its ability to pair children with good schools in safe neighborhoods. To address this shortfall, the authors have suggested two goals for federal rental assistance policy:

  1. federal rental assistance programs should provide greater opportunities for families to choose affordable housing outside of extreme-poverty neighborhoods; and
  2. the programs should provide better access for families to low-poverty, safe communities with better-performing schools.

To help achieve these goals the authors recommend that the government (federal, state, and local) work on the following:

  1. Create strong incentives for local and state housing agencies to achieve better location outcomes.
  2. Modify policies that discourage families from living in lower-poverty communities.
  3. Minimize jurisdictional barriers to families’ ability to choose to live in high-opportunity communities.
  4. Assist families in using vouchers to live in high-opportunity areas.

Read the report here
Click here to download the full report. 


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