Streamline Administration of the Housing Choice Voucher Program

Bruce Katz and Margery Austin Turner, Brookings Institute, October 2013, available here

“The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, the federal government’s primary tool for addressing the housing needs of low-income renters, is administered by thousands of local public housing agencies (PHAs), most of which serve individual cities, towns, or counties.  This balkanized system seriously undermines the potential of the housing voucher program while at the same time raising administrative costs.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) should replace the current system by competitively awarding the operation of the voucher program to one well-qualified organization or consortium that will administer the program throughout an entire metropolitan area.  In the near term, HUD can and should more vigorously encourage the formation of regional consortiums, mandate regional administration in metros where large shares of eligible households are served by failing PHAs, and strengthen existing performance standards to create incentives for voluntary regionalization.”

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