New civil rights research from PRRAC: 


Do Federally Assisted Households Have Access to High Performing Public Schools?  by Ingrid Gould Ellen and Keren Mertens Horn, Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University. 


This important new study examines the location of federally subsidized family low income housing units in relation to their nearest elementary school, to provide a deeper understanding of access to opportunity in federal housing programs.  The report looks at family location in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, and in the three primary types of place-based, subsidized housing-public housing, Project Based Section 8 developments, and housing developed through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.  Local elementary schools near family housing are ranked by their combined math and reading scores, percent of children receiving free and reduced lunch (a common school poverty measure), and, for the 100 largest metro areas in the country, racial and ethnic demographics of schools.


The results for the old public housing and project based Section 8 programs will not be surprising to followers of PRRAC's advocacy work, but we are most concerned by the low performance of the two programs that are still actively locating families near schools - the Section 8 voucher program and the LIHTC program.  One silver lining is that the analysis is based on the most recent available data (from 2008-09), which raises the possibility that some progress may have been made during the first term of the Obama Administration - but we won't know that for a couple more years.  


We hope this report will renew efforts at the federal level to make all federal housing programs more opportunity-driven.  The significant variation in outcomes among different metropolitan areas also suggests the importance of continuing state and local advocacy to promote fair housing goals in the administration of these programs at the regional level.  


Download the full report and metro-by-metro appendices at


Philip Tegeler

Poverty & Race Research Action Council

(202) 360-3906