Masters Thesis

A proposal to address deficiencies in the Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Housing Choice Voucher Program that is administered by the Housing Authority of the County of Kern is income-based. This standard approach of issuing rental subsidies that ties rent to the percentage of income is defective because it inclines families and individuals to hide or underreport their incomes. Moreover, since there are no time restrictions on rental assistance for existing and incoming participants, many families and individuals are seen living off government aid, fostering generational dependency. Without strengthening housing policies, beneficiaries of rental assistance will not be incentivized to reach their own economic security. Moving to Work is a demonstration program that provides greater flexibility to a select number of public housing agencies to identify, develop, and test innovative strategies for issuing housing assistance that more effectively addresses the housing needs of low-income families and individuals. The purpose of this pilot program is to inform the Department of Housing and Urban Development about ways to better address local community needs, such as helping participants find employment and become self-sufficient and increase the housing choices for low-income families and individuals. This proposes redesigning the Section 8 Program within the Housing Authority of the County of Kern. By obtaining Moving to Work status from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the agency will be able to move away from income-based subsidies to fixed subsidy amounts. It will allow for a time limit on housing assistance to be implemented to further encourage self-sufficiency and allow families and individuals to depart from subsidized housing. In doing so, the Housing Choice Voucher Program would be in line with welfare reform and serve as a platform for economic mobility.

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