|OKLAHOMA CITY – State Reps. Andy Fugate, D-Del City, and Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore, teamed up Wednesday to present an interim study focused on barriers to upward economic mobility for low-income citizens.
Participants in the bipartisan study, titled “Housing Choice Voucher Mobility,” reviewed the Creating Moves to Opportunity project in Seattle / King County, Washington. This project looked at what barriers exist that keep low-income, housing voucher recipients from moving to areas with more upward mobility.
“There is no need to reinvent the wheel when we have the opportunity to learn from others,” Fugate said. “CMTO is a joint project between the Seattle / King County Housing Authority and Harvard University’s Opportunity Insight’s Institute. Their approach has proven to improve family outcomes by empowering families to move to areas of higher opportunity.”
The Fugate/Townley study also looked at Oklahoma’s Family Self-Sufficiency program. The FSS program is voluntary and designed to help residents of Section 8 Housing meet their individual financial goals.
“The Family Self-Sufficiency Program is just one of the many wonderful ways that Oklahoma assists low income families achieve their goals of obtaining home ownership,” Townley said. “It is our hope that through this study more Oklahoma families will take advantage of the programs offered by Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency.”
Both members hope that this study will lead to bipartisan legislation that increases opportunities for Oklahomans.
“The United States spends over $20 billion each year on Section 8 Housing,” Fugate said. “Most of that money is spent in high-poverty, low-income neighborhoods. Research shows growing up in better neighborhoods means better outcomes for children.”
The study was presented before the House Business and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond.
“It is always a great day when we can come together in a bipartisan manner and work together for our low income citizens to have a better opportunity for jobs and educational opportunities for their children,” Townley said. “This is exactly how it should be all day, every day!”