Closing the Housing Opportunity Gap
Investing in Housing Vouchers Improves Neighborhoods and Health
Every parent strives to ensure their child grows up in a stable home where they can reach their fullest potential. Decades of research shows that when children – particularly young children – have access to high-quality, affordable homes and in neighborhoods with economic opportunities, green space, good schools, and reliable transportation, they are better able to thrive. A rental voucher – which caps the cost of rent for eligible families at 30 percent of the amount of take-home income and subsidizes the remaining cost – means that families do not have to choose between rent, food, energy costs, and health care. By enabling families to afford rent in neighborhoods of their choosing, a voucher takes care of more than just rent, also opening the door to neighborhoods and schools that can give a child and family a chance at a better life. Unfortunately, for millions of families – and disproportionately families of color – this reality is out of reach. A long history of racist policies in the United States paired with chronic disinvestment in housing for people with very low incomes has led to inequities in housing stability today. For example, Black families represent just 13 percent of the general population, but one-third of tenants facing eviction and half of families experiencing homelessness.
These inequities have been further exacerbated by the economic fallout created by the COVID-19 pandemic jeopardizing long-term health and educational outcomes for our country’s children. Urgent policy solutions are necessary to respond to longstanding racial inequities and advance an equitable economic recovery in light of the current crisis. Our nation’s leaders must act boldly to make critical investments in rental assistance, and intentionally reverse residential segregation and housing discrimination in order to ensure all children have better opportunities to succeed.
To read the related one-pager, ‘Closing the Housing Opportunity Gap: Investing in Vouchers Improves Neighborhoods and Health, click here.
This work was made possible thanks to generous support from The Ballmer Group.