Research and Evaluation of the MTW Demonstration
Since the authorizing of the Moving to Work (MTW) Demonstration in 1996, there have been a number of HUD-funded and outside evaluations of the program. The reports included on this page include a range of the many activities and policy innovations that MTW agencies have undertaken along with their associated results/outcomes. Please note that many of the evaluations are written by external parties to HUD and the presence of these reports are not meant to reflect an endorsement by the Department.
Cover page of the HUD Evaluating MTW Flexibility for Smaller PHAs report

Evaluating MTW Flexibility for Smaller PHAs: Baseline Report

In May 2023, HUD published Evaluating MTW Flexibility for Smaller PHAs: Baseline Report. This report is the first of five annual reports that will be published during the evaluation of the first MTW Expansion cohort, which is testing the overall impact of MTW flexibilities for smaller PHAs. With the first MTW Expansion cohort, researchers are examining the ways in which MTW regulatory flexibility impacts smaller PHAs. Using data from PHA applications and telephone interviews, the report explores PHAs’ motivations for participating in MTW and the interrelated objectives that these agencies hope to pursue using their new flexibility to improve program operations for tenants. The report also lays the groundwork for future reports by detailing the outcome measures that researchers will use to assess the impact of MTW designation and by documenting and confirming the soundness of the experimental research design for this evaluation.

Author: PD&R and Abt Associates Inc.
Published: May 23, 2023

Cover page of the HUD Cityscape Symposium Reflects on MTW

HUD Cityscape Symposium Reflects on MTW

The November 2020 issue of Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research features a symposium reflecting on the MTW Demonstration. Six articles report research conducted by Urban Institute and MDRC for a HUD-sponsored retrospective evaluation of MTW. Congress requested an assessment of the MTW demonstration as a whole, rather than studies of initiatives at individual agencies. The six retrospective studies reported on in this symposium offer the first longitudinal analysis and the most comprehensive view to date of MTW agencies, MTW housing assistance, MTW activities, and the performance of MTW agencies in relation to statutory objectives. The essay on HUD’s Rent Reform Demonstration also included here explains MTW’s contribution to a major, groundbreaking study on rent setting in HUD programs.

Author: PD&R and Various Outside Authors
Published: January 5, 2021

Cover page of the Impact of the Moving to Work Demonstration on the Per Household Costs of Federal Housing Assistance

MTW Retrospective Evaluation

The HUD-sponsored MTW Retrospective Evaluation will produce six reports that together provide the most comprehensive description to date of the housing assistance provided by MTW agencies, the households served by MTW agencies, and the success of MTW agencies in relation to the demonstration’s statutory objectives of cost effectiveness, self-sufficiency, and housing choice. To learn more, HUD sponsored a retrospective evaluation of MTW, performed by the Urban Institute, designed to assess the success of the demonstration based on administrative data. The six reports are focused on: A Picture of MTW Agencies’ Housing Assistance; MTW Agencies’ Use of Funding Flexibility; Housing Choice and Self-Sufficiency Outcomes at MTW Agencies; the Impact of the MTW Demonstration on the Per Household Costs of Federal Housing Assistance; Evaluating the Effects of the Santa Clara County Housing Authority’s Rent Reform; and MTW Agencies’ Use of Project-Based Voucher Assistance. As the reports are published, they can be found here.

Author: Urban Institute
Published: First report published April 2020

Cover page of the Creating Moves to Opportunity report

Creating Moves to Opportunity: Experimental Evidence on Barriers to Neighborhood Choice

The Creating Moves to Opportunity (CMTO) study examines the results of providing services that reduce the barriers to moving to high-upward-mobility neighborhoods. These services were provided using a randomized controlled trial with Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) participants of the Seattle and King County MTW agencies.

Author: Opportunity Insights, Harvard University
Published: August 2019

Cover page of The Rent Reform Demonstration: Interim Findings on Implementation, Work, and Other Outcomes report

The Rent Reform Demonstration: Interim Findings on Implementation, Work, and Other Outcomes

The purpose of the Rent Reform Demonstration is to test an alternative to the current rent-setting system for families using Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV). The demonstration began enrolling voucher holders in 2015 and is operating in four cities at four local MTW public housing agencies.

Author: HUD Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R)
Published: August 9, 2019

Cover page of the Public Housing Work Requirements Urban Institute report

Public Housing Work Requirements: Case Study on the Chicago Housing Authority

This report presents a case study of the Chicago Housing Authority’s (CHA) work requirement policy, one of a small number of work requirements implemented by public housing authorities. The report describes the CHA work requirement, the policy’s implementation and how it has changed, and perceptions of implementation and outcomes from key CHA and service provider staff and residents. The CHA work requirement has been in place for nearly 10 years, allowing for the analysis of implementation over time and outcomes.

Author: Urban Institute
Published: April 16, 2019

Abt Testing Performance Measures for the MTW Program cover page

Testing Performance Measures for the MTW Program

This report summarizes the results of a study to identify and test a series of performance indicators to track the performance of MTW programs in advancing core goals.

Author: Abt Associates
Published: July 25, 2017

Cover page of the MTW and Neighborhood Opportunity Urban Institute report

MTW and Neighborhood Opportunity: A Scan of Mobility Initiatives by MTW Public Housing Authorities

This report explores how MTW agencies use their unique policy and fiscal flexibilities to help low-income households move to opportunity-rich neighborhoods. Policy and programs adopted through MTW include changes to the tenant-based Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program or policies that increase the affordable housing supply in opportunity neighborhoods through the Project-Based Voucher (PBV) program.

Author: Urban Institute
Published: February 7, 2017

Cover page of Abt Innovations Report

Innovations in the Moving to Work Demonstration

This report catalogues and describes those MTW innovations that participating PHAs and the study team consider most important and far-reaching in their effect on residents, the agency, and the local community. The report is largely descriptive and does not attempt to measure the results of the innovations undertaken by MTW PHAs. However, it does classify the innovations, discuss their significance, and explain how they make use of the flexibilities afforded by MTW.

Author: Abt Associates
Published: December 2014


If your agency or organization has an MTW evaluation that you would like to have included on this page, please send an email to and provide the link to the report or copy of the report.

Older evaluations can be viewed on the Research and Evaluation archive page.


Last updated July 10, 2023