Why is Voucher Mobility Important?

Voucher Mobility programs offer households a choice in where they decide to make a home for their families. A strong body of research has demonstrated the powerful lifelong effects on children who move out of high-poverty areas. 

These recent studies, conducted by Opportunity Insights, looked at long term census data in 2015 and again in 2019. The studies found that children who moved to better neighborhoods show long-term improvement in a few key areas. Children who lived in a household that moved to a better neighborhood were found to have:

  • Increased lifetime earning, on average about 13.9% more as adults than those who grow up in low-opportunity areas in families with comparable incomes.
  • Higher graduation rates
  • Increased rates of college attendance

The most frequent protest against voucher mobility programs is that we should focus on improving high-crime, low-income neighborhoods. Rather than focusing on moving families out of these neighborhoods. However, neighborhood improvement and sustainable growth takes time. Even with current plans to improve existing neighborhoods, the children living there now are still limited in their choices. Parents looking into better options for their children now should be given a true choice in where they live. As it stands today, regardless of where they choose to live, almost all families in the Housing Choice Voucher Program are limited in their choice.  According to the Kinder Institute, fewer than 10% of Housing Choice Voucher holders move to more affluent neighborhoods. 

The barriers to move are not insignificant.

Many households are moving outside of their traditional support networks. While also searching in unfamiliar neighborhoods and in a system where landlords hold the majority of power. Landlords have the final say in whether or not an applicant can live in their rental. 

This is where a third party voucher mobility program steps in to guide families that are looking to make a change. At this time, there is no standard model for how voucher mobility functions, but you can learn more about NestQuest’s process here.