UPDATE: After thoughtful consideration, and out of general caution for COVID-19, we have made the decision to cancel this event. We look forward to bringing this and other events to our community in the future.
Brian J. McCabe is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University and an affiliated faculty member in the McCourt School of Public Policy. He is the author of No Place Like Home: Wealth, Community and the Politics of Homeownership.
Brian will be speak on Ready to Rent: Housing Authorities and the Making of Market-Ready Citizens. Clients in the Housing Choice Voucher program encounter numerous obstacles as they search for housing on the private market. Many clients enter the program with poor credit scores, eviction records and a limited understanding of the dynamics of the housing market. Structural constraints, including racial discrimination and a lack of source of income protections, create systemic impediments in the search housing. To improve their success as market actors, housing authorities work to ensure that clients are ready to rent. In this talk, I argue that they do so in three ways. First, housing authorities rely on tenant selection practices designed to evaluate the market readiness of voucher households. Second, they regularly counsel clients on their interactions with private landlords, often reinforcing norms of private renters. Finally, housing agency officials steer clients toward particular segments of the rental market where they are likely to succeed. Agency officials mediate landlord-tenant disputes to remind clients of the expectations of market renters. These practices highlight agency efforts to create market-ready citizens ready to meet the demands of the private market.