This research was used by USA Today for an investigative series called 'Segregated by Section 8.' The series is available online here (subscriber-only).
Housing Choice Vouchers are a subsidy that helps extremely low income individuals and families (defined by HUD as earning less than 30% of area median income) afford housing in the private market. The program, commonly known as "Section 8," is administered by local and state housing authorities.
In addition to providing housing, the voucher program seeks to alleviate the concentrated poverty and racial segregation that historically occurred when low-income renters were confined to only a few public housing projects. The voucher program was developed to give low-income renters the choice of where they want to live.
But is that what happened? We found:
- High poverty neighborhoods have absorbed 3 times as much voucher eligible housing as low poverty neighborhoods.
- Over 70% of the voucher-subsidized housing is located in minority concentrated neighborhoods.
- Minority concentrated areas accounted for 70% of Housing Choice Vouchers units available for occupancy.