The Durability of the Gautreaux Two Residential Mobility Program: A Qualitative Analysis of Who Stays and Who Moves from Low-Poverty Neighborhoods

Melody L. Boyd, Temple University
Kathryn Edin, University of Pennsylvania
Greg J. Duncan, Northwestern University
Susan Clampet-Lundquist, Princeton University

This paper explores the durability of the Gautreaux Two housing mobility program, implemented in 2002, which gave low-income residents of Chicago public housing a special voucher providing them with the opportunity to move to more advantaged neighborhoods—neighborhoods in which at least 76.5 percent of households were non-poor and 70 percent were non-black. We conducted four waves of in-depth qualitative interviews with a randomly chosen sample of 91 families. Among those who moved, we compare those who made secondary moves to those who stayed at their Gautreaux placement addresses. There were several key factors motivating secondary moves, including feelings of social isolation, distance from kin, transportation difficulties, hassles with landlords, and substandard unit quality. We discuss why some secondary movers were able to maintain a level of neighborhood affluence similar to that of their placement neighborhood, while others returned to more disadvantaged neighborhoods, and we also offer policy implications.

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Presented in Session 48: Residential Segregation