Why Do Housing Mobility Programs Fail in Moving Households to Better Neighborhoods?

Rachel Garshick Kleit, Seungbeom Kang, Corianne Payton Scally

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


This article conceptualizes the relationship between housing instability, residential mobility, and neighborhood quality. We summarize the existing literature about residential mobility and housing instability and examine their potential interactions along three dimensions: (a) the reasons for a move, including a variety of push and pull factors; (b) mobility outcomes in terms of whether moves result in residing in a better or worse neighborhood than that of the prior residence; and, especially important for low-income households, (c) the degree to which the current move and past experiences of moving have been discretionary or forced. Housing instability is a cumulative concept, with involuntary moves at its center. This synthetic model of housing instability's impact on mobility outcomes suggests that the more instability a household has experienced, the less likely mobility moves are to occur, or, if they do occur, to be long lasting. Policy implementation may underestimate the interaction between cumulative housing instability and residential mobility in housing mobility policies. Thus, these interactions have implications for mobility policies, pointing toward a path for future research that inform policies to move low-income households toward both greater housing stability and better neighborhood outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-209
Number of pages22
JournalHousing Policy Debate
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 2

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Professor G.M. Lavrentyeva and Dr. V. Yu. Georgievsky provided valuable materials for the chapter. The authors acknowledge the great help from N.I. Katolikova and M.I. Eremin who compiled the data and prepared illustrations for the Don River. Dr. Yu. A. Rebriev, I. Sirenko, S. Zatsarinniy, V. Rusu, and G. Syrodoev kindly provided photographs of river reaches. V. Gorbenko is thanked for arranging a field trip along the Kuban River. Professor G. Nützmann is thanked for the friendly encouragement and permanent support. A. Sukhodolov and N. Loboda appreciate the financial support provided by the Security Through Science Programme of NATO (ESP.NR.EV 982416). N. Arnaut acknowledges the financial support provided by budget program of the Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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