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The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • Moving to Opportunity
  • Volume 14 Number 2
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga

Making MTO Health Results More Relevant to Current Housing Policy: Next Steps

Thomas D. Cook, Northwestern University

Coady Wing, University of Illinois, Chicago


This article examines the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) for Fair Housing demonstration and concludes that it has limited relevance for understanding the effects of the federal Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8 Program) for four reasons. First, MTO focused on a group of people who lived in public housing at the outset of the study, and this subpopulation represents a small fraction of the recipients of the Section 8 Program. Second, MTO improves neighborhood quality more, on average, than the Section 8 Program does. Third, MTO fails to activate a mechanism that often improves health and is central to the Section 8 Program. Fourth, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development could probably not bring MTO’s major treatment condition to scale because of the relative shortage of affordable rental units in affluent neighborhoods. Because MTO had its clearest effects in the health domain, this article briefly outlines a study of the health effects of the Section 8 Program.

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