U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced on January 31 “The Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Act” (S. 291). This bipartisan bill would help families receiving housing vouchers move to areas with stronger opportunities.
The Opportunity Starts at Home multi-sector affordable homes campaign supported voucher mobility in the last Congress and again calls on Congress to support this legislation. This voucher-mobility demonstration would be an important step in helping families with housing vouchers access high-opportunity communities with strong schools, accessible transit, and better job prospects.
Research shows that when children in poor families grow up in neighborhoods with low poverty, quality schools, and low crime, they are significantly more likely to attend college, less likely to become single parents, and more likely to earn dramatically more as adults over the course of their lifetimes. These results can help break cycles of generational poverty and produce a positive taxpayer return. Research also shows that low-income students perform better academically and close achievement gaps faster when housing assistance enables them to live stably in opportunity neighborhoods with lower-poverty schools.
The “Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Act” would require public housing authorities (PHAs) to submit a regional housing mobility plan detailing how they will help families move to higher opportunity areas. The bill would authorize HUD to award demonstration program funds on a competitive basis and prioritize regional collaborations among PHAs that have high concentrations of voucher holders in low-opportunity neighborhoods and an adequate number of moderately-priced rental units in higher-opportunity areas, an existing high-performing Family Self Sufficiency program, or a strong regional collaboration including one or more small housing agencies, among other factors.