Housing Study Finds Low Income Renters Not Very Mobile

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A new study released today (Thurs) by the non-profit Housing Research and Advocacy Center finds that low income renters still have trouble moving around Cuyahoga County.  

Housing vouchers implemented during the Clinton Administration were supposed to allow them to move to towns with more opportunities.   But ideastream’s Mark Urycki reports that’s not always happening.



Since 1998 a federal housing voucher has allowed low income renters to shop for housing anywhere they can find it.  In Cuyahoga County, some 35,000 residents rely on these housing vouchers.  Senior researcher Michael Lepley at the Advocacy Center says the vouchers helped alleviate the problem of poor residents concentrated in urban centers but he says the vouchers haven’t done enough.  

“Voucher holders who are primarily African-American are stuck in neighborhoods with high poverty, high crime, low performing schools.  That’s not where they told us they want to live.” 

Lepley says it’s easier for low income families to break out of a cycle of poverty when they don’t live in an area where it’s concentrated.   Fellow researcher Lenore Healy

“A high percentage of them were female-headed households.   They want what’s good for their children, especially the opportunity for good schools as well as a stable job for themselves.” 

The study found that vouchers don’t pay enough for many desirable neighborhoods, that renters often are unable to come up with a full month’s security deposit, and that many landlords refuse to accept vouchers saying the government standards and inspections are too cumbersome.  

Among the Housing Research and Advocacy Center study’s recommendations

– create a registry of landlords who take vouchers,

-start a security deposit assistance program,

-and build voucher housing units in high wealth neighborhoods.

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