Due to limited affordable options for homes in high opportunity neighborhoods, families living below the poverty line that have the best option to move neighborhoods are ones participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP), also known as Section 8. This program exists to provide low income individuals the opportunity to select a comfortable residence in a neighborhood and home of their choice.
The reality of the program is that in many states, including Texas, landlords do not have to accept HCVP tenants (Walters & Satija, Texas Tribune 2018). Voucher holders also have a limited time to sign a lease before their voucher expires and they lose their chance to participate in the program. As a result, participants often find that they have limited options in terms of neighborhood and quality housing. With very little time to make a decision, and legalized discrimination, the majority of residents participating in Section 8 programs are clustered in the same high-poverty, high crime neighborhoods.
Participants in the Housing Choice Voucher Program benefit from significantly reduced rent. This allows households to spend more on other essentials such as nutritious food, healthcare and education.
However, the benefits can be extended even further when HCVP participants with children are able to move to high opportunity neighborhoods. Studies have shown that each year a child spends in a better environment improves a child’s long term outcome in terms of expected earnings, college attendance, teen birth and marriage (Chetty & Hendren, 2018).
NestQuest’s mission is to increase voucher acceptance in high opportunity neighborhoods, thereby increasing the choices families have when selecting a new home on the voucher program. Learn more about our mission and how we help families.