Work requirements associated with federal assistance programs have drawn more attention since the administration’s 2018 executive order calling for federal agencies to add or strengthen such policies. Although work requirements for Medicaid recipients have received considerable news coverage, other federal programs have also made or considered changes to existing requirements.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has not required public housing agencies to implement [these policies], but a small number have done so for more than a decade. Despite that fact, there is still little evidence of the outcomes of work requirements in public housing. The Urban Institute is addressing this knowledge gap to inform the debate among policymakers and practitioners regarding work requirement policies.

We recently released a case study on the implementation and outcomes of the Chicago Housing Authority’s work requirement policy. We found that a relatively small portion of residents are subject to the policy and, among those who are, most are compliant. The agency is implementing the policy in a supportive, rather than punitive, manner. And though data show some increase in residents’ employment and incomes, the increases are insufficient to support a household’s ability to leave housing assistance.

This study helps fill gaps in what we know about work requirements in public housing. But we still don’t know nearly enough to determine whether work requirement policies overall are positive, neutral, or negative for residents.

Read the full article about work requirements in public housing agencies by Diane K. Levy at Urban Institute