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Expanding Housing Choice: Abt Team To Evaluate HUD Mobility Demonstration

Rockville, Md.  –  Building on research showing long-term benefits for the children of low-income families who move to low-poverty neighborhoods, HUD has launched a $50 million demonstration to evaluate the effectiveness of efforts to help families with federal housing vouchers access such neighborhoods.  A team led by Abt Associates has been selected to evaluate the first phase of this demonstration through a $3.6 million, five-year contract.

HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration will offer comprehensive mobility services to help housing-choice voucher holders expand their housing choices. The goal is to increase the number of voucher holders who move to and stay in a higher-opportunity area in five to 10 locations around the United States. The Abt team will implement a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the extent to which the program has the desired impacts. 

The team will also interview voucher-holders, housing agency and mobility program staff, and landlords to better understand the challenges voucher holders face when trying to access and retain housing in opportunity areas, and determine the types of services that appear to be most effective in facilitating such moves.  The research will include an analysis to estimate the costs of different types of mobility services, such as help finding an available unit in an opportunity area and financial assistance with security deposits.  Toward the end of the contract, a second arm of the experiment will begin testing the effectiveness of one or more specific mobility services.

“Housing mobility programs can play a critical role in helping children secure a brighter future,” said Mary Joel Holin, division vice president, Social & Economic Policy. “The work we’ll conduct with our partners on this study will clarify how to help low-income families access neighborhoods that expand economic opportunities for their children.”

In addition to Abt Associates, the study team includes the Urban Institute, MEF Associates, Sage Computing, Social Policy Research Associates, and several technical advisors: Stefanie DeLuca, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Jennifer O’Neil, Sarah Oppenheimer, and Katherine O’Regan.  The study will be directed by Jeffrey Lubell and managed by Melissa Vandawalker, both at Abt.  The principal investigators are Daniel Gubits at Abt and Martha Galvez at the Urban Institute.

About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is a global consulting and research firm that uses data and bold thinking to improve the quality of people’s lives. From combatting infectious disease and conducting rigorous program evaluations, to ensuring safe drinking water and promoting access to affordable housing—and more—we partner with clients and communities to tackle their most complex challenges.

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