The NYU Furman Center has received $1.55 million to conduct new research on Advancing Equity and Efficiency in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Led by Faculty Directors Katherine O’Regan, Ph.D. and Ingrid Gould Ellen, Ph.D., the two-year project will examine lease-up and success rates for families seeking rental housing with a Housing Choice Voucher. Funding for the research comes from the Wells Fargo Foundation ($500,000), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Research Partnership Program ($700,000), and the Oak Foundation ($350,000). Previously committed Housing Solutions Lab funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will also support the research.
The Housing Choice Voucher program assists over 2.3 million low-income households each year with rent subsidies administered through a network of 2,170 local public housing agencies (PHAs). Research shows that this highly effective program can reduce rent burdens, help households avoid homelessness, and improve children’s performance in school. However, many households are still unable to successfully rent a secure, quality home. There is limited research on these success rates and search times with the last major study being conducted over two decades ago in 2000.
This research will examine variations in voucher recipient outcomes and test the efficacy of programmatic reforms, such as incentives offered to landlords, improved use of technology or communication tools, and revised unit inspection procedures, among others, for improving voucher recipient outcomes. The project will develop and validate a methodology for estimating timely lease-up rates and search durations for a much larger set of housing authorities than current data offers. Additionally, researchers will analyze that data to better understand how lease-up rates and search times vary across markets and across household demographics within markets.
Voucher program administrators and local researchers interested in learning more about this research can contact the Housing Solutions Lab for details.