MPHA & FHFund Team Up to Explore Regional Approach to Housing Vouchers
Possible partnership among metro housing authorities would mean greater mobility, opportunity, and choice for low-income families
The Family Housing Fund has awarded $300,000 over two years to the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) to explore how the region’s public housing authorities can work together to provide metro-wide mobility for families with housing vouchers (also known as “Section 8”). The “Regional Mobility Initiative” will involve planning and coordination with partner PHAs, policy and operational changes, and a long-term research component to track outcomes for families.
“The structure we have in our region—with separate public housing agencies all administering their own vouchers—creates barriers for families seeking different neighborhoods and greater opportunity,” says MPHA Executive Director/CEO Greg Russ. “The core idea is to discover how agencies in the Twin Cities can collaborate to increase the ‘choice’ in the Housing Choice Voucher program.”
The initiative will become part of a national research collaboration called “Creating Moves to Opportunity” (CMTO). CMTO is a partnership of housing practitioners from 17 housing authorities and academic institutions including Stanford, Harvard, MIT, and the think-tank MDRC. Through this research partnership, Stanford economist Raj Chetty and his collaborators have found that younger children of voucher-holding families who move to low-poverty neighborhoods experience long-term improvements in education and income, along with near-term improvements in health and safety. The Twin Cities Regional Mobility Initiative will also seek to integrate researchers from the University of Minnesota to maximize local insights.
“The Regional Mobility Initiative continues to build on the dedicated work of the Family Housing Fund and collaboration among many partners that seeks to expand access and choice for families in our region,” says Family Housing Fund President Ellen Sahli. “We are pleased to be partnering with MPHA, area HRAs, and landlords on this innovative approach. This is one of a number of initiatives that we have supported with area PHA/HRAs that puts choice and opportunity at the forefront.”