April 5, 2018
This paper, by Stephen Norman and Sarah Oppenheimer of the King County Housing Authority (KCHA), originally presented at A Shared Future: Fostering Community of Inclusion in an Era of Inequality, a national symposium hosted by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies in April 2017, reviews the King County Housing Authority's (KCHA) ambitious efforts to use federal housing subsidies to provide families with broader neighborhood choice. Informed by growing national evidence on the effects of neighborhood quality on life outcomes, they note, KCHA has used both tenant-based mobility approaches and site-based affordability approaches to expand low-income families' access to a wider set of neighborhoods in the county, which includes Seattle and many surrounding communities. KCHA's tenant-based mobility strategies have included offering to pay higher rents in higher-opportunities areas and providing extensive counseling to voucher holders. The site-based strategies have focused on acquiring and preserving housing and using federal vouchers to support new development in higher-opportunity areas. As a result, about 31 percent of KCHA's federally-subsidized households with children currently reside in low-poverty areas.
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