Relationships Beyond the Rental Market: How do Stakeholder Interactions in the Housing Choice Voucher Program Relate to Tenant Outcomes?
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This research examines the interactions of stakeholders (e.g. landlords, property managers, housing officials, inspectors, etc.) from the point of view of several housing advocates and landlords working in the HCVP in City of Pasadena, CA. I seek to answer how they impact tenant outcomes for voucher recipients. Since housing discrimination still persists in other forms, the perspectives of housing advocates who directly work with landlords and voucher households become important in understanding more about stakeholder relationships. Their unique perspectives, focusing on both the personal and the structural, make their voices tremendously important in analyzing the housing actions and approaches taken on by landlords. With the high number of low-income households that struggle to find affordable and decent housing, the HCVP only solves a part of the problem. This research uses the City of Pasadena as a case study for the continually increasing number of overburdened low-income households and consequent turnover to chronic homelessness. I use examples of fair housing ordinances, the Fair Housing Act, and administration of the HCVP in other cities to establish examples of forms of discrimination based on race and income. In addition, some of these examples show examples of local Public Housing Authorities that were successful in their administration of housing choice vouchers. Overall, these examples serve to show that tenant outcomes are influenced by discrimination based on not only race but also one’s source of income. These findings contextualize the significance of stakeholders in causing tenant outcomes. The case study on the City of Pasadena provides context for rent overburden and housing shortage. Furthermore, a section of the case study includes considerations for the impact that new administrative and budget changes to the U.S. Depart of Housing and Urban Development. As the Trump Administration has released its preliminary 2018 budget blueprint, there will be a stark rise in unwanted concerns for the future of the HCVP and other housing assistance programs. My findings focus on the roles of stakeholders in the processes of administering the HCVP. Moreover, I use the perspectives of landlords and housing advocates in order to examine the relationships of stakeholders in these processes. Given the perspective of housing advocates in their personal experiences in working with landlords, voucher recipients, and housing officials, how do stakeholder interactions influence voucher households directly? There are four ways in which I identified how stakeholder interactions influence household outcomes: voucher household selection, roles of HCVP stakeholders, responses to tenant behavior, and expectations for the future of the HCVP. In response to these findings, recommendations for the City of Pasadena are presented with consideration for voucher household outcomes and the expectations for the future of the HCVP. The primary recommendation for addressing voucher households that face housing discrimination based on race and income requires more support from not only the private sector but also housing advocacy groups. Consequently, housing advocates can help to form more transparent and favorable relationships between stakeholders through housing services and active outreach. These recommendations may allow for landlord exposure to the HCVP and administrative burdens to be minimized in their impacts on voucher tenant outcomes.