Publication Features Systematic Review Evidence for Housing Voucher Programs

A father walks his daughter to school; the young girl is wearing a backpack.

An article in the November issue of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice details systematic review evidence supporting housing voucher programs. The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends tenant-based housing voucher programs to improve health and health-related outcomes for adults and to advance health equity. Health-related outcomes include housing quality and security, healthcare use, and neighborhood opportunities (e.g., lower poverty level, better schools). Read highlights from the paper or access the full-text document [PDF – 263 KB] on The Community Guide website.


What are Tenant-based Housing Programs?

Tenant-based housing voucher programs help households with very low incomes afford safe and sanitary housing in the private market. Vouchers are tied to households rather than specific housing units, so that households can use vouchers to move to neighborhoods with greater opportunities. Vouchers pay a substantial portion of the rent, which leaves households with money to cover other needs.

Tenant-based housing voucher programs may vary with regard to eligibility criteria (e.g., family income level), rental process (e.g., time allowed to find and rent a property), assistance (e.g., counseling in finding rentals), relocation requirements (e.g., housing in low-poverty neighborhoods), and availability of short-term payments for initial expenses (e.g., rental deposits).

Why is this important?

Housing is an established social determinant of health.1,2 In the United States, housing quality, housing security, and neighborhood characteristics have been associated with health and health-related outcomes.3-5

For More Information:


1Fullilove MT. Housing is health care. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2010;39(6): 607-8.

2U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2030. Bethesda (MD): 2020. Available from URL:

3Alley DE, Soldo BJ, Pagán JA, et al. Material resources and population health: disadvantages in health care, housing, and food among adults over 50 years of age. Am J Public Health 2009;99 (Suppl 3):S693-S701. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2009.161877.

4Chetty R. The effects of exposure to better neighborhoods on children: New evidence from the Moving to Opportunity experiment. American Economic Review 2016;106(4):855-902.

5Cutts DB, Meyers AF, Black MM, Casey PF, et al. US housing insecurity and the health of very young children. American Journal of Public Health 2011;101(8):1508-14.