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What Determines the Success of Housing Mobility Programs?


There is currently interest in crafting public housing policy that combats, rather than contributes to, the residential segregation in American cities. One such policy is the Housing Mobility Program (HMP), which aims to help people move from disinvested neighborhoods to ones with more opportunities. This paper studies how design features influence the success of HMPs in reducing racial segregation. We find that the choice of neighborhood opportunity index used to define the opportunity areas to which participants are encouraged to move has limited influence on HMP success. In contrast, we find that three design features have large effects on HMP success: 1) whether the geographic scope is confined to the central city or is implemented as a metro-level partnership; 2) whether the eligibility criteria are race-based, race-conscious, or race-neutral; 3) whether tenant counseling, tenant search assistance, and landlord outreach are successful in relaxing rental housing supply constraints.

Keywords: housing mobility program; opportunity mapping; neighborhood effect; housing choice voucher program.
JEL Classification Codes: J15, R23, I38, H43.


Suggested citation: Aliprantis, Dionissi, Hal Martin, and Kristen Tauber. 2020. “What Determines the Success of Housing Mobility Programs?” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper No. 20-36. https://doi.org/10.26509/frbc-wp-202036.

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