March 3, 2015
The federal Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, also known as Section 8, allows low-income households to find their own modestly-priced rental housing on the private market as an alternative to living in public housing developments. Researchers at the UNC Center for Urban and Regional Studies conducted a survey of more than 1,000 randomly-selected Section 8 households in 2014—with a 66 percent response rate—to assess the household characteristics, levels of satisfaction, social needs, health and work efforts of those participating in the Charlotte Housing Authority’s (CHA) primary voucher program.
The research team, led by CURS Director Bill Rohe, found respondents had high levels of satisfaction with both CHA management and the HCV specialists, and also reported high levels of satisfaction with their landlords, housing units, and neighborhood. The survey also found very high levels of physical and mental health problems such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and depression. The report presents several recommendations to improve services to HCV recipients, including:
- Expand family self-sufficiency programming to more HCV recipients to help improve employment rates among Section 8 residents;
- Expand mental health awareness and treatment options to help HCV recipients (48% of respondents met CES-D criteria for depression); and
- HCV specialists should be urged to discuss with tenants the benefits of high opportunity neighborhoods with low crime, good schools or access to jobs and transportation.
Read the full report.
This report was prepared under a contract with the Charlotte Housing Authority.