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This report compares and contrasts three methods of providing housing assistance to low-income renters: the public housing program, which actually constructs housing for eligible tenants; the housing allowance program, which supplements the income of eligible tenants on condition that they live in housing that meets minimum standards; and unrestricted cash grants, which unconditionally supplement the income of eligible tenants. The evaluation finds that if the alternative programs serve the same population, impose the same housing standards, and provide the same total subsidy to participants, the allowance program will perform unambiguously better than public housing and conditionally better than cash grants.

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