The Urban Institute and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) published Expanding Choice: Practical Strategies for Building a Successful Housing Mobility Program. The toolkit provides a step-by-step outline and extensive resources for public housing agencies, state and local governments, and nonprofits interested in helping housing choice voucher families make moves to higher-opportunity areas.
The toolkit notes that evaluation of HUD’s Moving to Opportunity (MTO) demonstration challenges policymakers and practitioners to strengthen the design and implementation of housing mobility programs. A low poverty rate alone may not be an adequate indicator of a neighborhood truly rich in opportunities for households with children. Other indicators of opportunity should be considered, such as low crime, good neighborhood schools, and access to decent jobs. In addition, the MTO evaluation observed that households need help staying in high-opportunity neighborhoods.
The toolkit’s chapters are:
- Aligning Your Community’s Policies to Support Housing Mobility. Discusses how to adjust underlying Housing Choice Voucher policies and better align other housing policies to support full housing choice.
- Setting Program Goals and Making Other Key Decisions. Discusses establishing goals, target populations, and definitions for opportunity neighborhoods, as well as assessing the housing market and the needs of prospective program participants to inform program design.
- Building Your Housing Mobility Program. Offers basic, standard, and enhanced options for key housing mobility program components: landlord development, outreach, pre-search counseling, housing search assistance, and post-move support.
- Measuring Success. Presents a framework for tracking program activities and outcomes.
- Funding and Implementing Your Mobility Program. Shows how to put all the components together, firm up funding for the core voucher program, identify new funding sources, and plan the implementation of a housing mobility program.
- Advocating for Policy Changes. Presents an overview of pending issues that communities can bring to HUD and their elected representatives to build policies that better support housing mobility