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Moving to Work: Incentivizing Landlords in the Housing Choice Voucher Program


  • The most recent cohort of MTW PHAs focuses on whether landlord incentives improve their participation in the Housing Choice Voucher program.
  • Abt has developed a mixed-methods evaluation approach that includes describing the process of implementing incentives, and the impact of these incentives.
  • Results from the study are expected in the fall of 2026.
The Challenge

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program provides voucher subsidies that enables low-income households to select the type of housing and location that meets their needs. However, the HCV program only delivers on “choice” if owners of rental housing are willing to make their units available to voucher holders. Landlords may refuse to participate in HCV for a variety of reasons, from administrative costs to personal biases toward certain racial or ethnic groups.  As the number of landlords participating in the HCV program had declined, HUD created the Moving to Work Landlord Incentives demonstration to test whether providing incentives to landlords impacts their participation and, if so, which types of incentives have the most impact. HUD engaged Abt Global to advise on the evaluation’s design and to conduct process and impact evaluations.

The Approach

In close collaboration with HUD, Abt developed a mixed-methods evaluation design that includes a quasi-experimental design (QED) and rich qualitative data collection and analysis. The QED uses a large comparison group to permit the detection of impacts and analysis of subgroup impacts for public housing agencies that choose to use varied types of incentives. The strong qualitative component includes on-site and remote interviews with PHAs to document variations in the incentives and their implementation.

The Research Design also includes interviews with a large sample of landlords to learn about their awareness of the incentives, their attitudes and behaviors related to the HCV program and voucher holders, and which incentives influenced their attitudes and behaviors. Importantly, the study also will engage the residents to better understand the challenges and findings.

The Results

Results from the study are expected in the fall of 2026.