In late 2015, the Vancouver Housing Authority (VHA) initiated a new policy experiment for distributing Section 8 housing vouchers. Rather than using basic income eligibility requirements, vouchers would be deliberately deployed to maximize their impact on community health by targeting those with complex medical needs and homeless families with school-age children. The central question this study seeks to answer is whether targeting specific subpopulations to prioritize Section 8 housing vouchers can increase the total impact of those vouchers on key community health indicators.
The study will analyze the randomized strategy to assess the causal impact of receiving a Section 8 voucher on health and education outcomes in two geographically adjacent but policy-distinct sites: legal housing authorities in Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. The results of this study can both help to understand the association between receipt of Section 8 vouchers and health care and education outcomes, and facilitate decisions about distribution of vouchers in other populations.