History of MTO
This background material is based on information from: Office of Policy Development and Research, “Expanding Housing Choices for HUD-Assisted Families: First Biennial Report to Congress -- Moving to Opportunity Fair Housing Demonstration,” U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, April 1996.
THE GAUTREAUX PROGRAM
The Moving to Opportunity program grew in part out of the research of
Professor James Rosenbaum of
Rosenbaum found that adults in the Gautreaux program who moved to suburban communities experienced notable improvements in employment experience, and that the prospects for children who moved improved dramatically. However, the way in which the Gautreaux program was designed limits the application of Rosenbaumï¿½s findings. For example, interest in the Gautreaux program among eligible families is difficult to disentangle from more general interest in Section 8 assistance, because Gautreaux offered families a short-cut around the Chicago Public Housing Authority's years-long Section 8 waiting list. In addition, Rosenbaum's research was largely limited to families who stayed in their new housing units, making it impossible to determine the number or characteristics of families who chose not to remain in the predominantly white neighborhoods to which they moved.
Finally, the comparison reference group for research on Gautreaux
participants (families who used their Section 8 certificates within the city of
MTO LEGISLATIVE HISTORY
The Moving to
When MTO was authorized, Congress appropriated approximately $70 million for
approximately 1,300 Section 8 rental assistance payments for the demonstration
and a modest amount of funding for housing counseling. Although Congress
rescinded a second year of funding for MTO in 1995, Section 8 rental assistance
resources and counseling resources increased because the
Five sites were selected by HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros in March of 1994 --
MTO PROGRAM DESIGN
The MTO Program was implemented in five large cities with populations of at least 400,000 in metropolitan areas of at least 1.5 million people. Participant eligibility was limited to very low-income families with children who lived in public housing or Section 8 project-based housing located in central city neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty.
Eligible participants in the MTO demonstration were randomly assigned to three groups:
HUD has implemented a carefully controlled experimental design for MTO to definitively answer questions about the effectiveness of mobility counseling and about the long-term impacts of moving to low-poverty communities. Specifically, the demonstration is designed to answer two important sets of questions about the role and effectiveness of assisted housing mobility. First, what are the impacts of mobility counseling on families' location choices and on their housing and neighborhood conditions? And ultimately, what are the impacts of neighborhood conditions on the employment, income, education, and social well-being of MTO families?
The participants in the MTO program volunteered to participate. Thus the results of the MTO study cannot be generalized to the larger population; the qualities that led them to volunteer may also affect their outcomes. However, because of the random assignment of the volunteers into one of the three groups mentioned above, the characteristics of the members of each group will, on average, be the same. Hence, the MTO program makes it possible to isolate the effects on various outcomes of MTO versus standard Section 8 vouchers and public housing.
Outcomes for all three groups will be systematically monitored and evaluated over a ten-year period, in order to fully assess the impacts of housing mobility assistance. This random-assignment experimental design is essential to achieve the statutory goals of MTO.
Brennan, Brian and Matt Sciandra. “History of MTO.” Moving To
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