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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2012): Social housing - overseas

Moving to Opportunity: the political effects of a housing mobility experiment

C. Gay

Urban Affairs Review, vol. 48, 2012, p. 147-179

In 1994, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, in an effort to reduce concentrations of poverty and move poor families to self-sufficiency, recruited more than 4000 families, from five different cities, to participate in an ambitious social experiment: a lottery that offered participants the opportunity to move out of public housing in poor neighbourhoods into private apartments in affluent communities. This Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing Demonstration Programme (MTO) aimed to improve labour market outcomes, educational attainment and health for low income families, but also had unintended consequences for the political lives of participants. Analysis of the vote history of MTO adult participants seven to ten years after the lottery revealed that those who moved were less likely to vote in November 2004. These results suggest that residential mobility, a popular tool in the fight against poverty, may strain poor Americans' weak ties to the political system.

The past and future of housing policy innovation: the case of US state housing trust funds

C.P. Scally

Housing Studies, vol. 27, 2012, p. 127-150

As a result of federal housing devolution and retrenchment in the United States, state governments are increasingly expected to help fill the ever-widening gap between the demand and supply of affordable housing. Given the increasing role of states in adopting and implementing housing policies to address the needs of their populations, it is important to understand why they adopt the policies they do in order to predict and facilitate future innovations. This research asks what factors influence state housing policy innovation, and if these factors differ based on the administering agency and/or the scope of the innovation. It utilises an event history analysis of pooled cross-sectional data over a 20-year period to evaluate state housing trust fund adoption. Results show that whether or not a state adopts a housing trust fund, who administers it and how they fund it varies based on rates of new, single-family development, the size of the black population, prior state housing expenditures, and citizen ideology.

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