The Importance of Housing Benefits to Welfare Success

This brief analyzes data from the Urban Institute’s 1999 National Survey of America’s Families on current and former welfare recipients to assess the importance of housing benefits for welfare success. The data show that families that despite reporting significantly more personal challenges that make employment difficult, poor families that had left welfare but received housing assistance did better at work than those without it. Also, families leaving welfare tend to retain housing benefits, unlike other work supports such as food stamps and Medicaid. The brief concludes that housing assistance can clearly make a difference in moving families from welfare to work.