Iowa's Limited Benefit Plan. B. Housing


We analyzed the housing situations of LBP cases and how they changed after cash benefits were terminated, in terms of housing quality, arrangements, and assistance. As shown in Table V.4, approximately 30 percent of survey respondents moved between the last month of cash assistance and the interview month. These moves include both improvements and reductions in housing quality: while nearly half moved to housing of higher quality, about one-fifth moved to housing of lower quality. This pattern of "gainers" and "losers" among LBP families following benefit termination--that is, one set of families that experienced an improvement and another set that experienced a decline--reappears in the analysis of household income in Section C of this chapter.

Table V.2
Table V.3
Table V.4

Table V.5 presents our findings on housing arrangements and assistance. Both before and after benefit termination, the majority of survey respondents lived in rental housing. Approximately two-thirds lived in rental housing in the month before benefit termination, while less than 10 percent owned their homes. The next most common housing arrangement was living with a relative. Survey respondents reported very little reliance on shelters before or after benefit termination.

There were only small shifts in the housing arrangements of LBP families following benefit termination. Contrary to our expectation that loss of benefits might lead families to move in with relatives, the percentage of respondents living with relatives decreased. However, there is some evidence of an increase in shared housing following benefit termination, as the percentage of families that reported living with friends increased from 4 to 8 percent.

In the month prior to benefit termination, approximately 16 percent of respondents lived in public housing and 26 percent received rental assistance. Following benefit termination, the percentage of respondents living in public housing increased slightly, but the share of households that received rental assistance decreased. This decrease parallels reductions in the receipt of other forms of government assistance, as discussed in Section E of this chapter.