Check out this critique from commenter Amitav. Also follow the discussion here and here. One meme I see popping up is that Section 8 rewards irresponsible behavior. That seems pretty broad-brush, unless the mere status of being poor is considered irresponsible. People are poor for all sorts of reasons. Even if you contend that there are more irresponsible people among the impoverished, it doesn't follow that Section 8 is necessarily a hand-out to those who are irresponsible.
I gather from Amitav that screening is left up to the landlords. It seems that one way to get around this--and to relieve the waiting list--is for the administers of the actual vouchers to do the screening. Something that came through in Nicholas Lehmann's book The Promised Land is that certain projects in Chicago actually did work. But the moment folks stopped screening, it was downhill. We need partnership, an effort to enroll everyone into the society. That means, to my mind, requiring standards of people who take government help, and at the same time, committing to giving that help as long as those standards are met.
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