Housing vouchers work, new study finds

A bold social experiment that aims to transform people's lives by moving them out of poor neighborhoods appears to be succeeding, with families enjoying more safety, fewer behavior problems among boys, and even better health, according to a new study by researchers at Princeton and Harvard universities.

The study, by Jeffrey R. Kling at Princeton and Jeffrey B. Liebman and Lawrence F. Katz at Harvard, reports on the early progress of Boston families who moved out of high-poverty neighborhoods as part of a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program known as Moving to Opportunity. .

"The main policy conclusion is that vouchers do work," said Kling, an economist who is an assistant professor in Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Those who received vouchers to move from the poor communities fared better "in almost every dimension" than those who received traditional housing assistance and remained in their neighborhoods, he said.

Former HUD Assistant Secretary Xavier Briggs described the research as "extraordinarily significant," providing solid evidence for the theory that neighborhoods have powerful effects on many aspects of family life.

Contact: Justin Harmon (609) 258-3601