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Innovations in the Moving to Work Demonstration

Jill Khadduri, Melissa Vandawalker, Rebecca Cohen, Jeffrey Lubell; Abt Global


December 1, 2014
Moving to Work (MTW) is a demonstration program, enacted by Congress in 1996, under which a limited number of public housing authorities (PHAs) test ways to increase the cost effectiveness of federal housing programs, to increase housing choices for low-income families, and to encourage greater economic self-sufficiency of assisted housing residents.

This report catalogues and describes those MTW innovations that participating PHAs and the study team consider most important and far-reaching in their effect on residents, the agency, and the local community. The report is largely descriptive and does not attempt to measure the results of the innovations undertaken by MTW PHAs. However, it does classify the innovations, discuss their significance, and explain how they make use of the flexibility afforded by MTW. Based on this review of MTW innovations, later stages of this study will develop a set of proposed performance indicators for measuring the performance of MTW agencies and attempt to collect and analyze performance data for MTW agencies based on these metrics.

In addition to cataloguing MTW innovations broadly across all MTW agencies, this report includes case studies of five of the MTW PHAs that have been particularly far-reaching in their use of MTW authority: the Cambridge Housing Authority, Home Forward (Portland, OR), the King County Housing Authority, the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority, and the San Diego Housing Commission. The purpose of the case studies was to examine in greater detail how a subset of MTW agencies have integrated individual MTW innovations into an overall housing strategy and the extent to which MTW may have contributed to agency-wide shifts in approach and culture.

In developing this report, the study team reviewed the Annual MTW Reports and Plans and fielded a web survey of the 34 current MTW housing authorities that joined the demonstration before 2013. The team also conducted telephone interviews with agency staff on 48 separate MTW initiatives and conducted site visits to the five case study agencies.
North America