Research Report

DC Flexible Rent Subsidy Program: Findings from the Program's First Year

This report summarizes the first-year results of the District of Columbia’s Flexible Rent Subsidy Program (DC Flex), which gave families an annual subsidy of $7,200 in an escrow account and allowed them to decide how much rental assistance to withdraw each month. The randomized controlled trial evaluation tested whether the shallow rental subsidy was effective at helping families with extremely low incomes avoid homelessness. The qualitative component of this study, led by the Urban Institute, found high participant satisfaction with the program and the flexibility it provided, as well as the lack of required case management. The quantitative component of the study found that participation reduced the use of local homeless assistance programs like rapid re-housing but did not significantly reduce the use of coordinated entry or homeless shelter programs, although the use of both was rare in the treatment and comparison groups.

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