Vouchering Out and Success in Housing Searches

RCED-96-161R: Published: Jun 20, 1996. Publicly Released: Jun 20, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Section 8 program, focusing on: (1) HUD programs that require public housing agencies (PHA) to provide Section 8 rental assistance to residents of distressed public housing; (2) housing market and household characteristics that promote or restrict housing searches by former residents of distressed public housing; and (3) HUD and PHA efforts to maximize the use of Section 8 vouchers and certificates. GAO noted that: (1) HUD allocated about 15,600 vouchers and certificates under the HOPE VI, Demolition and Disposition, and Vacancy Consolidation programs to 39 PHA between fiscal year (FY) 1991 and FY 1995; (2) the supply of decent, affordable housing and racial discrimination among landlords may affect Section 8 households' ability to secure housing with vouchers and certificates; (3) while some public housing officials reported little or no difference between households in terms of their ability to find private rental housing, public housing residents' poor credit histories and resistance to change may make it more difficult for them to move from public housing; (4) PHA and HUD have undertaken several initiatives to help distressed families find decent, affordable rental housing; and (5) HUD has revised program rules and proposed statutory changes to increase landlord participation.

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