Loyola University Chicago

Department of Sociology

Peter Rosenblatt Summer Stipend

As large public housing projects across the country are demolished, more and more low-income families are turning to the Housing Choice Voucher program to find housing. This program has the potential to allow families to live in more affluent, less racially segregated neighborhoods, by giving them a subsidy that can be used anywhere rather than one that is tied to a particular housing project.  But in practice minority voucher holders struggle to reach better off neighborhoods, and tend to cycle through poor and segregated places.  Why doesn’t the Housing Choice Voucher program do a better job deconcentrating poverty?  The proposed project builds on research that Dr. Rosenblatt has done to understand why the voucher program falls short of its potential.  It incorporates new methods in sociology by using advanced mapping software to look at the spatial dimensions of voucher use in the Chicago Metropolitan region.  It also analyzes competing hypotheses about what may be driving these patterns. The assumptions about how the voucher program should work are not met in reality—it is critical to understand the factors that actually shape how low-income people operate in housing markets.