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Source of Income Protections and the Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program provides assistance to over 5 million people in approximately 2.3 million households. Although the program frees up recipients to rent in the private market, there is widespread evidence that landlords discriminate against voucher holders. Consequently, 14 states and 60 localities have passed source of income (SOI) laws that bar landlords from discriminating against renters based on SOI. 

This research brief summarizes a peer-reviewed study that analyzes HUD administrative data to compare the locational outcomes of voucher holders before and after the enactment of SOI laws in the 31 jurisdictions. The study finds that after SOI enactment, voucher holders who move experience a larger decrease (0.6 percent) in neighborhood poverty rates between their origin and destination neighborhoods compared to voucher movers in nearby jurisdictions without SOI protections. The study also finds that voucher movers reach neighborhoods with relatively lower shares of households with vouchers and higher white population shares. While most results are modest (suggesting that it takes time for SOI protections to affect the neighborhood outcomes of voucher movers), the impacts appear to be driven primarily by voucher holders originating in the highest poverty neighborhoods.

Read the research brief.

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