The Impact of Source of Income Laws on Voucher Utilization and Locational Outcomes
Housing vouchers were initially championed as a more efficient way of subsidizing housing for the poor and more suitable for a nation whose primary housing problem is one of affordability (Lowry 1971). More recently, vouchers have come to be seen as a tool for promoting economic and racial/ethnic integration (McClure 2008). Because vouchers augment the purchasing power of tenants a more expansive set of geographic options should be available. Indeed, when the Housing Choice Voucher program was enacted, improving the neighborhood outcomes of voucher recipients was a stated goal.
The advantages of vouchers vis-à-vis project based housing assistance is dependent upon voucher recipients being able to locate a landlord who will accept the voucher. For a number of reasons, this is not always the case. Some landlords wish to avoid the administrative burden associated with the voucher program. Other landlords resist renting to voucher recipients perhaps because they perceive this group to be undesirable tenants and/or fear their other tenants would object to voucher recipients as neighbors (Sard 2001). This type of discrimination based on the source of income could prevent the voucher program from living up to its full potential.