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Document Type

Restricted Access Paper

Publication Date

Fall 2015


In this paper, we use the three municipalities in which Washington University is located—St. Louis, University City, and Clayton—as case studies to show how patterns of HCV usage reconcentrate poverty. We begin with a brief discussion of the origins of the HCV program and the use of HCVs in St. Louis, University City, and Clayton. We then examine the effects of this program through the lens of justice, considering the relationship between poverty and place by gathering data on education, crime, and health. Finally, we turn to a variety of public and private barriers that have undermined the HCV program, rendering the goal of moving people from low-income areas to mixed-income communities illusory. In these three municipalities, the voucher program—despite aiming to promote justice—results in injustice, because HCV units are clustered in impoverished communities, where residents are afforded fewer socioeconomic opportunities than those available to people living in higher-income areas.

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