The Impact of Pittsburgh's Innovative Mobility Vouchers and Mobility Counseling Program on Racial and Economic Equity

Principal Investigators
The Pennsylvania State University
The Pennsylvania State University
Funded on

Housing choices for those with traditional housing choice vouchers (HCV) are constrained and rent subsidies set too low to significantly increase moves to high-opportunity neighborhoods. Moreover, many landlords in destination neighborhoods are unaware of the HCV program and its benefits, producing an additional hurdle to HCV use. As a result, most voucher recipients end up in neighborhoods similar to those they previously lived in. For this project, the research team will partner with the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP) and the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania to investigate the effects of HACP's innovative mobility vouchers and mobility counseling programs on improving low-income racial minority access and transition to opportunity-rich neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, PA.  

Most work to date examines these types of programs separately. This project assesses the value of an integrated approach by asking:  

  1. What factors are related to a landlord's willingness to a) participate in HACP's mobility counseling program and b) rent to individuals and families with HACP mobility vouchers?  

  1. Does participating in HACP's mobility counseling program a) improve landlord attitudes towards mobility voucher recipients and b) increase landlord willingness to rent to mobility voucher recipients?  

  1. What are the effects of the use of HACP mobility vouchers on racial/ethnic and economic equity in neighborhood attainment compared to the use of traditional housing vouchers?  

This project will apply a mixed-method, community-engagement in research study design that moves systematically from formative processes to the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, coalition building, and research dissemination. Our project has implications for housing mobility and access to resource-rich neighborhoods for voucher recipients, racial equity in neighborhood attainment and socioeconomic outcomes, and will help to establish positive engagement among landlords and residents.