Date of Award


Degree Type

Closed Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Erin Ruel

Second Advisor

Deirdre Oakley

Third Advisor

Amy Spring


In recent decades housing vouchers have been used widely as a tool to assist public housing households in accessing to low-poverty neighborhoods, with the stated goal of these households gaining greater access to resources that may help in achieving self-sufficiency. Unfortunately, low-poverty neighborhoods are becoming harder for low-income households to access. A recent study by the Brookings Institution found that concentrated poverty increased by 75% nationally in the 2000s, which raises concerns about the widespread strategy of attempting to deconcentrate poor households by providing housing vouchers. Although relocation neighborhoods are increasingly homogeneous in their poverty rates, these neighborhoods vary widely on other measures of quality. It is important to understand the different types of neighborhoods to which residents relocate, and how neighborhood characteristics interact with various assisted household preferences, needs, and resources, to impact resident outcomes. Drawing on data from a longitudinal study of public housing relocations in Atlanta, Georgia, this study explores person-environment fit theory as a framework for understanding short-term outcomes of an involuntary voucher relocation program, and as a potential strategy for facilitating appropriate resident-neighborhood matches to produce positive outcomes for households receiving housing assistance. K-means cluster analysis and multivariate structural analysis yielded four resident types and five neighborhood types, respectively. Regression analyses results revealed that for some types of residents the relationships between resident type and place attachment, residential satisfaction, and social interaction with neighbors, were strengthened when they resided in some types of destination neighborhoods, demonstrating the value of person-environment fit theory in this application. With more housing authorities and affordable housing organizations moving toward public-private partnerships and “wraparound” supportive services, person-environment fit could prove to be a useful framework with which to approach resident placement and case management.


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