WI21-Q1: Access to a Local Public Housing Authority Office and SSI Participation



This project seeks to understand what types of counties have a brick-and-mortar local Public Housing Authority (PHA). Since there are more people eligible for housing assistance than there are benefits available, allocations systems are designed to prioritize benefits. In addition, there are not enough resources for every US county to have a local PHA office. Instead, some—but not all—less-populated counties are served by either nearby county’s offices or state-level offices housed in state capital cities. The lack of a local PHA office may increase the cost of application. We seek to understand how county-level population demographics correlate with whether or not a county has a local PHA. We then seek to understand how county-level SSI applications correlate with access to a local PHA, as the two programs often serve similar populations. We conclude that counties with relatively more non-Hispanic Black residents and counties with more Hispanic residents are more likely to have a local PHA, as well as counties with a greater fraction of their age distribution between 18 and 64. Further, SSI applications and local PHA presence are highly correlated, suggesting perhaps that placement of local PHAs is determined at least in part by the need of local populations.

This study builds a dataset of counties that do and do not have local public housing authority physical offices from 2010-2017. It then seeks to understand the demographic, geographic, and program participation differences across counties that do and do not have physical offices within their borders. A link to download the dataset as a .dta file is available HERE .


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WI21-Q1: Access to a local public housing authority office and SSI participation

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