Transportation can significantly limit where voucher holders are able to live, particularly in regions with few transit options. In many high-opportunity neighborhoods, living without a car is simply not an option. Areas with access to good jobs, quality schools and low crime are made inaccessible to voucher holders that do not own a car and are reliant on public transit. Improving mobility opportunities often requires addressing this lack of transportation access. Car sharing programs and low-income automobile ownership opportunities can give households freedom to move outside areas served by transit.
While the city of Baltimore offers a number of public transit options, an efficient region-wide transit system has yet to be realized. Limited transit options outside of city limits create a sizeable barrier for voucher holders participating in the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program, a comprehensive mobility project that came out of the 1995 litigation against HUD. Because most of the region’s targeted move areas are located in the region’s suburban counties, it is impractical for families to move to these areas without access to an automobile. In 2003, a local nonprofit car ownership program, Vehicles for Change, was brought in to help voucher-holding families purchase an automobile before moving to a new home in a high-opportunity neighborhood. If a family is eligible and is moving to an opportunity area outside of the city, it can receive a car for about $750, which it can pay off in low monthly installments of around $50 to $75. The Baltimore Housing Mobility Program also provides funding for state-required driving school tuition, paying 75 percent of the $300 to $350 fee. As of 2015, the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program had helped over 2,800 families make high-opportunity moves throughout the region.
For More Info:
Rachel Brash, Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership
Email: [email protected]