Subsidized Housing and Children’s School Outcomes: Evidence from Housing Lotteries

Does moving into newly constructed, place-based subsidized housing improve the educational experiences and outcomes of near-poor children?

Place-based subsidized housing is widely seen as providing low-income children with a platform for success through access to better schools and neighborhoods with more resources, but evidence that housing matters is still limited. This project builds on an existing study that examines the impact of moving to newly constructed affordable housing in a range of urban neighborhoods with differing income characteristics in New York City. The team will consider impacts on the educational experiences and outcomes of near-poor children and will analyze whether place-based subsidized housing improves children’s educational experiences and outcomes through a decrease in families’ housing costs and an increase in parents’ time spent with their children.(An individual is near poor if his or her earnings are between one and two times the poverty threshold.) The team draws on the Housing and Neighborhood Study (HANS), which follows 3,000 households that applied for affordable housing at 10 newly constructed rental developments. About half of the 3,000 households were randomly chosen to be offered new housing while the other half were eligible but not offered housing due to lack of availability. About 45 percent of the households, or 1,400 households, are families living with children. The findings will inform debates about whether to support place-based subsidized housing and whether effects vary depending on the income mix of the neighborhood.