Government Assistance Protects Low-Income Families from Eviction
A lack of affordable housing is a pressing issue for many low-income American families and can lead to eviction from their homes. Housing assistance programs to address this problem include public housing and other assistance, including vouchers, through which a government agency offsets the cost of private market housing. This paper assesses whether the receipt of either category of assistance reduces the probability that a family will be evicted from their home in the subsequent six years. Because no randomized trial has assessed these effects, we use observational data and formalize the conditions under which a causal interpretation is warranted. Families living in public housing experience less eviction conditional on pre-treatment variables. We argue that this evidence points toward a causal conclusion that assistance, particularly public housing, protects families from eviction.