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Impacts of Welfare Reform on Recipients of Housing Assistance: Evidence From Indiana and Delaware

Report Acceptance Date: 
February 2003 (103 pages)
Posted Date:   
February 1, 2003

Welfare reform and housing assistance programs have the potential to strongly affect one another, because of the substantial overlap in the populations they serve. Nationally, about 30 percent of families on welfare receive federal housing assistance. Conversely, close to half of all HUD-assisted families with children receive some income from welfare in any given year. This overlap creates the possibility for housing assistance to influence welfare reform efforts and, in the other direction, for welfare reform to affect housing assistance.

Although the potential for interactive effects between welfare reform and housing assistance has been recognized, relatively little rigorous research evidence is available on the subject. For example, this is the first study that uses HUD administrative data to estimate the experimental impacts of welfare reform on exits from housing assistance. On the other hand, intriguing evidence from welfare reform experiments in three states indicates that welfare reform may have larger impacts on families with housing assistance than on welfare recipients living in private, unsubsidized housing (Miller et al. 2000; Riccio and Orenstein 2000). Housing subsidies' potential to improve the effectiveness of welfare reform has implications for how state welfare agencies and housing programs might target resources, and provides a strong rationale for integrating services.

This study builds on previous research in three ways. First, it presents experimental impact estimates of welfare reform for housing assistance subgroups from two states, adding to the existing findings from three other states. Second, this study uses HUD administrative records to identify receipt of housing assistance, a more accurate source than survey measures of housing assistance, the measure used in prior studies. Third, this study presents experimental estimates of welfare reform's impacts on length of time spent receiving housing assistance, using longitudinal measures of housing assistance from HUD administrative records, which has not been done before.