Place matters: Federal funds help low-income families move to areas of their choice

Date: Wednesday, May 5, 2021

HUD Grants $5.2 Million to Minneapolis and Met Council housing authorities to offer opportunity for upward mobility through federal demonstration program

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) and the Metropolitan Council’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority (Metro HRA) $5.2 million and 74 new vouchers to promote increased housing choices and opportunities among low-income families.

The two agencies partnered to apply for and participate in the federal Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Program. Both agencies allocate housing choice vouchers, providing federal rent assistance to low-income families to help them find housing stability and all the benefits of having a safe home environment.

The Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Program supports selected housing authorities, including MPHA and Metro HRA, to offer services that help families with children move to areas in the city and suburban areas that can provide more opportunities.

“Studies show that place matters, and access to educational opportunities and other resources create lasting impacts on life outcomes for children,” said Dominique Blom, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing at HUD.

“The Mobility Demonstration provides families the choice to live where they want to live to raise their children,” said Blom. “We are thrilled to announce this new program, which will remove barriers to opportunity-rich communities for families across the country.”

“We’re extremely grateful for this award of funds and to our MPHA partner,” said Metro HRA Director Terri Smith. “This award will allow us to build upon the work we’re doing to help families live in places where they want to live — areas where there is less poverty, improved access to jobs, high-performing schools, and more opportunity overall.

“Opportunity means different things to each family,” said Smith. “The program goal is to help families identify what opportunity means to them and provide support to help them achieve success and improved outcomes.”

“Having a place to call home is foundational to well-being in so many ways, physically and mentally,” said MPHA CEO Abdi Warsame. “Housing that’s safe, permanent, and affordable is critical and improves well-being, reduces poverty and homelessness, and improves outcomes for children.”

As the program administrator, Metro HRA will rely on its existing voucher experience to provide services for families with children, including:

  • Landlord Recruitment
  • Pre-Move Counseling
  • Housing Search Assistance
  • Post-Move Counseling

“We know from the work we do that it’s not always enough to simply provide families with a housing voucher,” said Smith. “The investment in families is far more effective when they get the needed support to be successful in their homes and their communities.”

"What makes this program unique is that it not only addresses barriers to housing affordability and availability but also provides much needed supportive services that help families set and achieve goals," said MPHA Housing Choice Voucher Director Kyle Hanson.

"This is an investment in the next generation,” said Hanson. “The program gives families choices that break generational cycles of poverty by having a support network to help ensure success. This demonstration program will help us help clients to overcome barriers to achieve what we all want: a safe, affordable place to call home.”

HUD awarded $45.7 million in funding to nine lead public housing authorities. Through this demonstration program, HUD says PHAs will provide more than 10,000 families with children better access to low-poverty neighborhoods with high-performing schools and other strong community resources.

The demonstration will remain in effect for six years, ending in October 2028.

Posted In: Housing