Academic journal article Cityscape

Using Near-Repeat Analysis to Measure the Concentration of Housing Choice Voucher Program Participants

Academic journal article Cityscape

Using Near-Repeat Analysis to Measure the Concentration of Housing Choice Voucher Program Participants

Article excerpt


Public housing authorities (PHAs) are often concerned about housing voucher recipients' reconcentrating after entering the Section 8 voucher program. I use a near-repeat analysis method in this analysis for Dallas, Texas, to test whether new voucher recipients concentrate and, if so, how quickly. The results reveal that new recipients do locate in close proximity to each other at a steady pace over time. PHAs can use this method and subsequent results to measure the progress of déconcentration plans and to help new housing voucher recipients make more informed choices about where to locate.

Housing Choice Vouchers, Déconcentration Plans, and Monitoring Mobility

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) provides low-income families the opportunity to move out of impoverished neighborhoods and relocate to better neighborhoods with greater economic opportunity.1 A common concern for local PHAs about the freedom HCVP offers, though, is that participants will reassemble in the same neighborhoods and potentially undo efforts to deconcentrate poverty, which could lead to the emergence of a range of social and economic problems (Ellen, Lens, and O'Regan, 2012; Freeman and Botien, 2002; Mast and Wilson, 2013; Pendall, 2000; Popkin, et. al, 2012; Wilson and Mast, 2013). In addition, PHAs are concerned that voucher holders will reconcentrate in neighborhoods and be exploited by landlords. For example, landlords could set higher rents than average because rents for nearby properties become uniform. Landlords might not maintain properties to maximize profits because residents are unlikely to organize and demand better conditions. Further, lack of property upkeep can lead to neighborhood blight and deter additional investment, which ultimately leaves voucher recipients with diminished economic opportunities.

Many PHAs develop plans to measure and monitor poverty déconcentration, but these plans are primarily aimed at public housing developments.2 Rules set forth by Title 24, Part 903 of the Code of Federal Regulations3 list a number of factors PHAs must measure in their plans to ascertain whether public housing developments are achieving poverty déconcentration; several of the factors require identifying geographic areas to evaluate change. Many plans include the use of vouchers as a mechanism to facilitate poverty déconcentration because participants relocate out of public housing developments altogether (Huartung and Henig, 1997) and into other neighborhoods with mixed income levels. Given the geographic nature of mobility, spatial analysis tools can be used to assess if HCVP participants are reconcentrating or dispersing. By using an approach that incorporates time into the spatial analysis, PHAs can determine not only if voucher holders are reconcentrating, but also how fast they are co-locating with other HCVP participants. Results may also be used to examine the neighborhoods where new voucher recipients are co-locating to gain an understanding of their mobility choices or gamer an idea of how likely other voucher holders are to move into areas where other participants have relocated.

I demonstrate in this article how to perform a near-repeat analysis to geographically measure the speed at which new HCVP participants concentrated when they entered the HCVP between 2007 and 2010 in the Dallas-Arlington-Fort Worth, TX metropolitan area. I used 13,788 new HCVP participant admission locations from the Public and Indian Housing (PIH) Inventory Management System (IMS)/PIH Information Center (PIC) databases.4 The results depict the likelihood that new HCVP recipients will co-locate in proximity to each other and the speed with which they co-locate. I extend the analysis by identifying relocation density clusters that reveal the least and greatest relocation concentration.

The Near-Repeat Concept

A near-repeat analysis is an approach used in measuring the spatial and temporal relationships of crime. …

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