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Welfare Reform on the Web (October 2011): Social housing - overseas

A different lens: administrative perspectives on portability in Illinois' Housing Choice Voucher Program

A.J. Greenlee

Housing Policy Debate, vol.21, 2011, p. 377-403

The US Housing Choice Voucher Program aims to offer low-income households access to decent private rented accommodation in good neighbourhoods through rent supplements that pay the difference between 30% of the household's income and the rental price. The programme also allows for the 'portability' of vouchers nationally between housing authority jurisdictions. Recent research supports the claim that the programme is meeting its first goal of providing access to decent affordable housing, but garners more mixed findings relating to residential mobility outcomes for low-income households. This paper investigates the role that programme administration plays in determining outcomes for households undertaking moves that involve voucher portability between housing authorities. Results show that housing authority administrative practices and inter-housing authority relationships play a significant role in shaping the outcomes realised by households wishing to take advantage of the Moving to Opportunity element of the programme.

Low Income Housing Tax Credit and racial segregation

K.M. Horn and K.M. O'Regan

Housing Policy Debate, vol. 21, 2011, p. 443-473

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) programme is the largest place-based subsidised housing programme in the USA. Developers competitively apply to their respective state for these credits which they then use to leverage private capital into acquisition, new construction or rehabilitation of affordable rental units. Developers who build in high poverty neighbourhoods which often have high minority concentrations are awarded higher tax credit amounts and given priority when credits are allocated. This paper addresses a critical but almost unexamined aspect of the LIHTC programme: whether its use is associated with increased racial segregation in the metropolitan area. The study examines three potential channels through which the LIHTC programme could affect segregation: where LIHTC units are built relative to where other low-income households live; who lives in these tax credit developments; and changes in neighbourhood racial composition in areas that receive tax credit projects. The evidence on each of these channels suggests that LIHTC projects do not contribute to increased segregation, even those in high poverty neighbourhoods.

The housing transition in Mexico: expanding access to housing finance

P. Monkkonen

Urban Affairs Review, vol. 47, 2011, p. 672-695

Reform and expansion of the Mexican housing finance system since the early 1990s have transformed the production of urban housing from a system in which households built their own houses incrementally and outside formal regulation, to one in which housing is constructed by private firms and purchased with a mortgage. Most housing finance in Mexico, however, is provided by government sponsored provident funds that are both mortgage lenders and pension providers. Under this system mortgages from provident funds are only available to the 60% of the population in formal salaried employment. This article describes the housing transition in Mexico quantitatively, and assesses the impact of restricted access to mortgage lending.

The impact of privatization of public housing on housing affordability in Beijing: an assessment using household survey data

Z. Yang and S. Wang

Local Economy, vol. 26, 2011, p. 384-400

Privatization of public housing has been one of the most significant market-oriented economic reforms in China. Since the 1990s, public housing has been sold at below market value to its residents. This has benefited households unequally and is leading to economic and social stratification. This article considers the impact of privatisation of public housing on housing affordability in Beijing. It draws on a household survey to assess affordability for households according to residents' family structures, educational attainment and employment status, using a residual income approach.

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