Subsidized Housing and Employment: Building Evidence about What Works to Improve Self-Sufficiency

James Riccio

RR07-6: For many years, policymakers have agreed that low-income, working-age people who receive government rent subsidies ought to strive for self-sufficiency and that the housing subsidy system should play an actively supportive role—or at least not stand in the way. This intent is clear in the most recent major public housing reform legislation, the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act (QHWRA) of 1998, which makes promoting residents’ self-sufficiency a core objective. At the same time, there is a widely shared belief that government needs to push further in this direction, as reflected in the 2002 recommendation of the bipartisan Millennial Housing Commission that “more should be done to link housing assistance with economic opportunity, self-sufficiency, and personal responsibility…”