Housing Choice Vouchers: The number of housing units being subsidized by HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program
Other Project-Based Programs: The number of housing units being subsidized by the Moderate Rehabilitation, Project-Based Section 8 (including Loan Management Set-Aside, Section 202/8, and Property Disposition), Rent Supplement/Rental Assistance, Section 236/Below Market Interest Rate, Section 202 Capital Advance, or Section 811 Capital Advance programs
Public Housing: The number of public housing units in a given area
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Why are these variables important to measure?
Housing Choice Vouchers
Started in 1974, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Housing Choice Voucher Program provides housing vouchers to low-income families, and elderly and disabled people to help them afford housing by paying for private market housing units. Participants must meet certain income requirements and pay a portion of their income towards rent. The government voucher pays the remaining portion.
Housing choice vouchers are an example of a place-based subsidized housing policy because they allow residents to choose their housing at any location in the private market instead of requiring them to live in a specific public housing development. Place-based subsidies have been an important initiative to decentralize urban poverty sometimes associated with public housing developments. Historically, neighborhoods with high concentrations of public housing developments have experienced economic isolation, poverty, crime and disinvestment. Because housing choice vouchers allow low-income households to find subsidized housing in a neighborhood of their choosing instead of limiting them to public housing developments, the logic behind the program is that families and individuals can potentially move to areas with better opportunities and quality of life.
Other Project-Based Vouchers
Other project-based programs included in this category include Moderate Rehabilitation, Project-Based Section 8 (including Loan Management Set-Aside, Section 202/8, and Property Disposition), Rent Supplement/Rental Assistance, Section 236/Below Market Interest Rate, Section 202 Capital Advance, or Section 811 Capital Advance programs.
In project-based programs, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) creates contracts with specific owners of multifamily rental housing. The project-based rental assistance makes up the difference between what low-income households can afford and the approved rent. There are a number of project-based programs that are geared towards different populations such as people with disabilities or veterans, but the most heavily used program is the Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance. Over 1.2 million low-income households use the Section 8 program annually. Project-based programs differ from place-based programs (like Housing Choice Vouchers) because tenants must rent from the approved owners and are not free to choose housing from any location.
Public housing units are owned and managed by government housing authorities and are designed to provide safe and affordable housing to low-income families, and elderly and disabled people. Usually, public housing units are concentrated within a small geographic area.
Public housing originated under the Housing Act of 1937 to create housing for low-income people. Since then, the public housing program has faced controversy, as neighborhoods with high concentrations of public housing units tend to have higher rates of crime, poverty, economic isolation, and racial segregation. Although Congress has appropriated less funds towards public housing in favor of other subsidized housing policies in recent years, millions of people still reside in public housing units across the country.
“Housing choice vouchers fact sheet.” U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 7 March 2018. Link.
“HUD’s public housing program.” U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 7 March 2018. Link.
“Policy Basics: Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. 7 March 2018. Link.
“Renewal of Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance” U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 7 March 2018. Link.
Turner, Margery Austin. “Moving out of poverty: Expanding mobility and choice through tenant-based housing assistance.” Housing Policy Debate, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 373-394. Link.
Woo, Ayoung, Kenneth Joh, and Shannon Van Zandt. “Impacts of the low-income housing tax cr4edit program on neighborhood housing turnover.” Urban Affairs Review, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 247-279, 2016. Link.