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Moving or Moving Up? Understanding Residential Mobility for Housing Choice Voucher Families in Illinois

By Andrew Greenlee, Janet Smith, Katherine E. Walz & Sharon Legenza

The federal Housing Choice Voucher program offers very low-income families the opportunity to move  to communities with improved access to jobs, schools, diversity, and other advantages. “Voucher portability,” or the process of moving outside the jurisdiction of the voucher-issuing housing authority, has been burdensome for participants and public housing authorities, even though the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reminds housing authorities of their duty to comply with fair housing laws and other requirements. Regional and statewide cooperation among housing authorities and advocates, coupling moving with housing mobility counseling, landlord outreach and education, and establishing a HUD complaint process for affected households are, in this analysis of the Illinois experience, among recommended ways to improve a voucher holder’s right to move to communities of opportunity.

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