Amenities, affordability, and housing vouchers
Against the background of an emerging rental affordability crisis, we examine how the standard rule that households should not spend more than 30% of their income on housing expenditures leads to inefficiencies in the context of federal low-income housing policy. We quantify how the current practice of locally indexing individual rent subsidies in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program regardless of quality-of-life conditions implicitly incentivizes recipients to live in high-amenity areas. We also assess a novel scenario for housing policy reform that adjusts subsidies by the amenity expenditures of low-income households, permitting national HCV program coverage to increase. © 2018 The Authors. Journal of Regional Science published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.