A different lens: Administrative perspectives on portability in Illinois' housing choice voucher program

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the last decade, the Housing Choice Voucher Program has grown to become the USA's primary strategy for providing safe, decent, and affordable housing. Annually serving more than 2 million low-income households, the program is designed to help low-income households afford private market rental housing. The program also allows for the "portability" of vouchers nationally between housing authority jurisdictions. Both features aim to mitigate the effects of concentrated poverty. Research on the Moving to Opportunity Program and the Gautreaux consent decree have produced data confirming that residential mobility can at times lead to positive opportunities for assisted households. This past research has been conducted on specific programs occurring outside of the general Housing Choice Voucher Program framework and has focused on household-level outcomes, paying little attention to the ways in which program administration may affect outcomes for voucher households. This article aims to understand voucher portability from the perspective of housing authority executive directors and program administrators, in order to better understand how program administration impacts the types of household outcomes observed in prior research. The results reveal that housing authority administrative practices and inter-housing authority relationships play a significant role in shaping the types of outcomes realized by porting voucher households. These findings suggest several changes to program administrative design and policy that may improve support for voucher households as they make portability moves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-403
Number of pages27
JournalHousing Policy Debate
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • HUD
  • Low-income housing
  • Mobility
  • Vouchers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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