Encouraging Low-Income Households to Make Location-Efficient Housing Choices

Andree Tremoulet, Portland State University


The purpose of this project is to develop and evaluate tools to assist Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program participants in the Portland, OR, metro region with considering transportation needs and options when making decisions about where to live. The project consists of two elements: development of a set of tools in collaboration with the four metro-area housing authorities, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the tools. The four housing authorities conceptualized and initiated this project, and then selected our team to fully design and complete it. Transportation costs are typically a household’s second-largest expense after housing and, on average, account for about one-fifth of household spending. Low-income households are especially burdened by transportation costs, with low-income households spending up to two times as much of their income on transportation than higher-income households (Litman, 2013). Thus, reducing transportation costs is likely to have a disproportionately positive effect on the budgets of low-income households, both because of the share of their budgets it claims and because they have little to no discretionary resources to absorb higher transportation costs without impacting their ability to purchase other essentials, such as food and health care.


The outcomes of this project will affect the practices of the four regional housing authorities with respect to the information provided to voucher holders when they enroll in the program and move.

It is likely to generate interest nationally from housing authorities and researchers interested in the topic of mobility, which, in the housing field, means changing residences, typically from a lower opportunity area to a higher opportunity area.

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
End Date:
December 31,2015
UTC Grant Cycle:
Natl Round 1
UTC Funding:

Other Products

  • Housing Policy Debate doi/full/10.1080/10511482.2016.1150314 (PUBLICATION)
  • In Search of Location-Affordable Housing: Challenges Faced by Voucher Program Participants (PRESENTATION)