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Inspirations Drawn from US Rental Voucher Program to Boost the Development of Affordable Rental Housing in China (No.285, 2021)


By Wang Ruimin, Research Institute of Market Economy, DRC & Long Tingyu, Renmin University of China

Research Report, No.285, 2021 (Total 6350) 2021-9-24

Abstract: The US Rental Voucher Program is a policy tool to provide government-subsidized rental housing for low- and middle-income earners, the policy goal of which is to enable low- and middle-income people to live in adequate and affordable housing by providing housing consumption vouchers. The rent subsidy is paid directly to house owners and the amount of subsidy is equivalent to the difference between the reasonable rent ceiling within the affordability of the tenants and rent payment standard. Rental housing included in the voucher program must meet specific construction quality requirements. Approximately about two million US families are benefited by the housing voucher policy each year. Rental vouchers have significantly reduced the rent burden of beneficiaries, and are conducive to improving living conditions, alleviating poverty and enhancing human capital. The practice of the US Housing Voucher Program can provide useful references for the development of affordable rental housing in China to ease housing difficulties of new city dwellers. Exploring the issuance of rental vouchers for eligible new residents can effectively revitalize the stock rental housing resources and improve the quality of rental housing. Rental vouchers could be issued mainly in cities where housing supply and demand are generally balanced or housing supply exceeds demand.

Keywords: rental housing, housing vouchers, government-subsidized rental housing, policy options