Washington DC

Do Shallow Rental Subsidies Promote Housing Stability? Evidence on Costs and Effects from D.C.’s Flexible Rent Program

By Maria Alva (Georgetown University), Natnaell Mammo (The Lab @ DC), Ryan T. Moore (The Lab @ DC), and Sam Quinney (The Lab @ DC) | The District of Columbia piloted and evaluated a shallow rent subsidy to answer two questions: Do shallow flexible rental subsidies promote housing stability? And, can they be a vehicle to further stretch the existing housing resources to serve more people? These questions are important to growing metropolitan areas like D.C. that face severe challenges in making housing affordable and preventing homelessness. Similar to New York or San Francisco, most D.C. residents are renters, 70% of whom spend more than 30% of their gross income on rent. Approximately 1 out of every 125 residents in D.C. is in emergency shelters, in transitional housing, or is unsheltered. Housing vouchers, representing "deeper subsidies," have historically been in short supply and, necessarily, targeted at the most vulnerable households. In 2017, D.C.'s Department of Human Services (DHS) decided to test a model that could serve more residents by targeting a shallow subsidy to families experiencing housing instability but not homelessness. To this end, DHS began piloting the Flexible Rent Subsidy Program (D.C. Flex). Read More

September 20, 2022 // 0 Comments