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Recent Releases


Cityscape: Two Essays on Unequal Growth in Housing Volume 22, Number 2Cityscape: Two Essays on Unequal Growth in Housing Volume 22, Number 2

The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies. Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
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Review of Energy Performance Contracts in Public HousingReview of Energy Performance Contracts in Public Housing

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has approved approximately 315 Energy Performance Contracts (EPCs) since the 1980s that have generated nearly $1.5 billion in energy efficiency investments affecting about 250,000 public housing units. EPCs have been executed in all ten HUD Regions and in Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) ranging from very small (fewer than 250 units) to very large (6,600 units or more). This study provides the first substantive review of the program’s performance and documents the effectiveness and value of HUD’s EPC program, based on an online survey administered to over 400 PHAs, telephone interviews with a subset of the responding PHAs, examination of HUD data about utility consumption and the financial and physical condition of PHAs, and an assessment of HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Program and its interaction with the EPC program. The evidence suggests that HUD’s EPC program is accomplishing one of its principal purposes of helping PHAs improve their units’ energy efficiency. Access to private capital through the RAD program, however, is reducing PHAs’ usage of EPCs. The report makes recommendations for supporting and maintaining the EPC program for PHAs who are not interested in RAD or are unable to take advantage of RAD.
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Understanding Whom the LIHTC Serves: Data on Tenants in LIHTC Units as of December 31, 2017Understanding Whom the LIHTC Serves: Data on Tenants in LIHTC Units as of December 31, 2017

This report summarizes data received from the state housing finance agencies (HFAs) that administer the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. The HFAs are required by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008 to submit certain demographic and economic information on tenants in LIHTC units to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HERA specifically requires HFAs to submit to HUD information concerning race, ethnicity, family composition, age, income, use of rental assistance, disability status, and monthly rental payments of households residing in LIHTC properties. The report summarizes the required data.
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Cityscape: Housing Tenure and Financial Security Volume 22, Number 1Cityscape: Housing Tenure and Financial Security Volume 22, Number 1

The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.
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Examining the Effects of the Rental Assistance Demonstration on Children Living in Public Housing in Fresno, CaliforniaExamining the Effects of the Rental Assistance Demonstration on Children Living in Public Housing in Fresno, California

This report, "Examining the Effects of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) on Children Living in Public Housing in Fresno, California," presents findings on HUD's Rental Assistance Demonstration program (RAD). The RAD program is intended to improve physical conditions, resident quality of life and long-term affordability of HUD assisted housing developments. In particular, the report assesses outcomes and the well-being of children living in developments that have undergone rehab and conversion under the RAD program at the Fresno Housing Authority.
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Moving to Work Retrospective: Evaluating the Effects of Santa Clara County Housing Authority's Rent Reform Final ReportMoving to Work Retrospective: Evaluating the Effects of Santa Clara County Housing Authority's Rent Reform Final Report

This study evaluates the effects of a rent reform implemented by the Santa Clara County Housing Authority (SCCHA). In 2013, SCCHA used its MTW flexibility to increase the proportion of income that assisted tenants paid toward rent, with the goal of decreasing the costs of housing assistance payments (HAP). SCCHA’s intention was to avoid terminating households, but the policy also offered the opportunity to test whether the rent increase would act as a higher tax on earnings and would negatively affect employment and earnings of work-able HCV recipients. SCCHA initially raised the tenant contribution rate for all HCV households from 30 percent of adjusted income to 35 percent of gross income, then dropped the rate a year later to 32 percent of gross income. SCCHA also stopped exemptions to the two-person per bedroom standard, causing a sudden, sharp decrease in subsidy for 23 percent of its assisted families, usually families with children of different sexes or multigenerational households. Based on a sample of about 15,000 work-able households at SCCHA and three comparison PHAs, the study estimated the impact of SCCHA’s rent increase on employment, earnings, and level of housing subsidies provided. It found that SCCHA’s rent increase did not affect the average of all work-able HCV recipients’ employment and earnings in the four years after rent reform. SCCHA’s HCV recipients increased their employment and earnings, on average, in the four years after rent reform, but the increase was comparable in the comparison communities around the area who were not affected by rent reforms. However, further analysis suggested that the subgroup of families hit by the changed bedroom standard (plus the higher proportion of income paid toward rent) may have earned less than they would have in the absence of rent reform. By increasing rent without affecting average earnings, SCCHA lowered total housing assistance payments and served the same households at a lower cost. It is not known whether assisted households reduced spending, increased debt, and experienced material hardship.
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Characteristics of HUD-Assisted Renters and Their Units in 2015Characteristics of HUD-Assisted Renters and Their Units in 2015

The 2015 American Housing Survey (AHS) included a supplemental survey of rental units receiving subsidies from programs administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau used addresses provided by HUD to identify other units in its regular AHS sample that are subsidized by HUD. Together, the 2015 AHS supplemental and regular sample contained 5,346 assisted units. This report uses information on those units to characterize the 4.5 million rental units assisted by HUD in 2015. In addition, this report uses information from previous address-matched efforts to analyze how the HUD-assisted rental stock has changed over the last three decades. From 1989 to 2015, the number of HUD-assisted units increased by 11 percent, or approximately 400,000 units. HUD's program mix has changed substantially as the Housing Choice Voucher program expanded its share from 26 percent of the assisted stock in 1989 to 47 percent in 2015. Overall the HUD-assisted stock is in fairly good condition, with only 2.7 percent of units severely inadequate in 2015, about the same as unassisted units occupied by very low-income renters.
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Characteristics of HUD-Assisted Renters and Their Units in 2017Characteristics of HUD-Assisted Renters and Their Units in 2017

The 2017 American Housing Survey (AHS) included a supplemental survey of rental units receiving subsidies from programs administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau used addresses provided by HUD to identify other units in its regular AHS sample that are subsidized by HUD. Together, the 2017 AHS supplemental and regular samples contained 4,728 assisted units. This report uses information on those units to characterize the 4.5 million rental units assisted by HUD in 2017. In addition, this report uses information from previous address-matched efforts to analyze how the HUD-assisted rental stock has changed over the last three decades. From 1991 to 2017, the number of HUD-assisted units increased by 12 percent, or approximately 500,000 units. HUD’s program mix has changed substantially as the Housing Choice Voucher program expanded its share from 26 percent of the assisted stock in 1989 to 48 percent in 2017. Overall the HUD-assisted stock is in fairly good condition, with only 2.3 percent of units severely inadequate in 2017, about the same as unassisted units occupied by very low-income renters.
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Cityscape: Small Area Fair Market Rents Volume 21, Number 3Cityscape: Small Area Fair Market Rents Volume 21, Number 3

The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies. Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
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The Rent Reform Demonstration: Interim Findings on Implementation, Work, and Other OutcomesThe 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 goals of the alternative rent-setting model now being tested are to incentivize employment and reduce the complexity and burden (and, thus, the cost) of administering the rent policy, while not causing unnecessary hardship for HCV households. The demonstration began enrolling voucher holders in 2015 and is operating in four cities at four local Moving to Work (MTW) public housing agencies (PHAs) sites with 6,600 participating HCV assisted households using a rigorous random assignment design. The four participating PHAs are the District of Columbia Housing Authority, Lexington Housing Authority, Louisville Metropolitan Housing Authority, and San Antonio Housing Authority. The current report presents interim results (covering more than 2 years of followup) on the new rent policy’s effects, or “impacts,” on families’ labor market and housing-related outcomes, receipt of other government benefits, and use of homelessness services. It also uses indepth qualitative interviews with PHA staff and tenants to explore their experiences with and views of the new policy. (A companion report that presents findings covering 12 to 18 months of follow-up, “Early Effects,” is being released under its own cover.) The results indicate that, when the findings for all four PHAs are combined, the new policy did not generate statistically significant increases in tenants’ average earnings during the available followup period. The story varied substantially across locations, however, with some positive effects on earnings in Lexington and San Antonio, but not in Louisville and Washington, D.C. The report also presents other impacts on housing subsidies, tenure in the voucher program, receipt of other government benefits, PHA administrative costs, and PHA and tenant experiences with the alternative rent model.
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The Rent Reform Demonstration: Early Effects on Employment and Housing SubsidiesThe Rent Reform Demonstration: Early Effects on Employment and Housing Subsidies

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 goals of the alternative rent-setting model now being tested are to incentivize employment and reduce the complexity and burden (and, thus, the cost) of administering the rent policy, while not causing unnecessary hardship for HCV households. The demonstration began enrolling voucher holders in 2015 and is operating in four cities at four local Moving to Work (MTW) public housing agencies (PHAs) sites with 6,600 participating HCV assisted households using a rigorous random assignment design. The four participating PHAs are the District of Columbia Housing Authority, Lexington Housing Authority, Louisville Metropolitan Housing Authority, and San Antonio Housing Authority. The current report presents early results (covering more 12 to 18 months of followup) on the new rent policy’s effects, or “impacts,” on household heads’ labor market and housing-related outcomes. (A companion report that presents findings covering 27 to 30 months of follow-up, “Interim Findings,” is being released under its own cover.) The results indicate that, when the findings for all four PHAs are combined, the new policy generated a small statistically significant increase in heads of household’s quarterly employment rate. When findings for all of the PHAs except Washington, DC are combined, there is a small statistically significant increase in both quarterly employment rates and Year 1 average annual earnings. The story, however, varied substantially across locations. There were some positive effects on earnings in Lexington, on earnings and employment in San Antonio, but not in Louisville and Washington, D.C. The report also presents other early effects on housing subsidies, tenure in the voucher program, PHA administrative actions, and some preliminary subgroup findings.
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Evaluation of HUD's Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD): Final ReportEvaluation of HUD's Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD): Final Report

The Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Final Report analyzes whether RAD preserves affordable housing by improving physical conditions and stabilizing the financial footing of properties. The report also examines how tenants and PHAs are impacted by the program. This evaluation meets Congress’s requirement to report on the early observable impacts of RAD on (1) the preservation and improvement of former public housing units; (2) the amount of private capital leveraged as a result of such conversion; and (3) the effect of conversion on residents.
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Voices of Youth Count Comprehensive Report: Youth Homelessness in AmericaVoices of Youth Count Comprehensive Report: Youth Homelessness in America

Voices of Youth Count (VoYC) is a mixed-methods, multicomponent study that documents the prevalence and incidence rates of homeless youth in the United States, and describes the population’s characteristics, service gaps, and interventions of selected communities. The study uses a definition of youth homelessness that is broader than the definition in use by HUD, and includes both explicit homelessness (i.e. youth living on the street, in shelters, and in transitional housing) and unstably housed youth who are couch surfing or precariously housed. Due in part to the broader definition of homelessness utilized, the study finds that one in 30 youth ages 13-25 experienced some form of homelessness during the previous year. The study also identifies several high-risk homeless youth subpopulations, observes comparable rates of youth homelessness in rural and urban areas, and develops a rigorous methodology for future counts of homeless youth.
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Report to Congress: Photographic Review of HUD-Assisted PropertiesReport to Congress: Photographic Review of HUD-Assisted Properties

The Public Housing Capital Fund section of Title II of the Senate Report 115-138 (Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2018) expressly directs HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) to work with the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) “to identify and implement a statistically significant sample photographic review of HUD-assisted properties that received a passing inspection score during fiscal year 2018.” This report describes PD&R’s review of a sample of photos taken of HUD-assisted properties and specifies that the photos provide insufficient evidence to confirm or reject the scoring for any sampled property. Within the report, PD&R illustrates photos from two apartment complexes and describes that none of the Department’s most cited deficiencies can be observed by simply viewing the static images. The report further describes that a more productive approach to the problem would be for PD&R staff to go on-site to accompany REAC during a limited number of inspections.
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Evidence Matters: Spring/Summer 2019Evidence Matters: Spring/Summer 2019

Enacted as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Opportunity Zones represent a potentially transformative effort to incentivize investment in economically distressed areas. This issue of Evidence Matters places the new initiative into the context of other place-based tax incentives aimed at fostering community development and examines how state and local governments are positioning themselves to maximize benefits for their jurisdictions.

The lead article, "Place-Based Tax Incentives for Community Development," reviews past and current place-based tax incentives and the evidence of their effectiveness and concludes with an introduction to Opportunity Zones. The Research Spotlight, "Evaluating Place-Based Incentives" by Daniel Marcin, discusses the methodological challenges of evaluations of past place-based tax incentives and suggests methods for evaluating Opportunity Zones. Finally, the In Practice article, "Shaping Investment in Opportunity Zones," discusses how Maryland, Indiana, Michigan, Louisville, and Oklahoma City are attracting investment and spreading the word about Opportunity Zones through partnerships, online portals, and investment prospectuses.
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Report to Congress on the On-Site Completion of Construction for Manufactured HomesReport to Congress on the On-Site Completion of Construction for Manufactured Homes

As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (PL 115-141), Congress directed the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to review the final rule, On-Site Completion of Construction of Manufactured Homes (FR-5295-F-02), published on March 7, 2016 (75 FR 35901).1 In addition to a review of the On-Site Completion of Construction Rule, Congress directed HUD to "develop a solution that ensures the safety of consumers and minimizes costs and burdensome requirements on manufacturers and consumers." One of the alternatives HUD was directed to consider is whether "state and local planning and permitting agencies should have jurisdiction over on-site completion."
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Assessment of Economic Opportunity Metrics for HUD-Assisted RentersAssessment of Economic Opportunity Metrics for HUD-Assisted Renters

This study develops and explores four metrics that potentially could support the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's goal of increasing economic opportunity for renter households assisted by public housing, assisted multifamily housing, and Housing Choice Voucher programs. The proposed metrics apply to work-able individuals and households in each program and address aspects of economic opportunity, self-sufficiency, and financial stability. Two of the metrics use comparisons with local job markets to provide context for assessing work participation of assisted tenants. The study estimates metropolitan-level values for the three programs and analyzes the variations using quartile means. This preliminary analysis reveals substantial variation in tenant levels of work participation relative to their metropolitan areas or non-metropolitan portions of the state. The work suggests that HUD could use estimates from these or similar metrics to target interventions or technical assistance toward lagging metropolitan areas or housing providers, thereby reducing disparities in economic opportunity and improving average levels.

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Market Predictors of Homelessness: How Housing and Community Factors Shape Homelessness Rates Within Continuums of CareMarket Predictors of Homelessness: How Housing and Community Factors Shape Homelessness Rates Within Continuums of Care

Homelessness is an acknowledged problem in many places, though its causes are myriad and may vary based on the characteristics of respective communities. This report investigates heterogeneity in community-level rates of sheltered and unsheltered homelessness, separately and combined, and provides insight into underlying community-level factors associated with homelessness across the United States. This study (1) identifies and describes market variables associated with sheltered and unsheltered homelessness, (2) constructs and evaluates empirical models of community-level homelessness, and (3) analyzes relationships within subgroup populations of local markets. Findings provide insights into predicting homelessness across different community types and market factors to consider as policy interventions are developed. The study finds that housing factors, such as rental costs, crowding, and evictions, are most consistently associated with higher rates of community-level homelessness. This demonstrates that housing market dynamics and the availability of affordable housing are closely tied to homelessness at the Continuum of Care (CoC) level even when controlling for a range of economic, demographic, safety net, and climate factors.

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Impediments to PHA Reimbursement for Surveys and Solutions to Address Delays in HUD’s Annual Calculation of Fair Market RentsImpediments to PHA Reimbursement for Surveys and Solutions to Address Delays in HUD’s Annual Calculation of Fair Market Rents

This report provides an overview of how HUD calculates FMRs, including significant recent changes, as well as possible options for further updates and improvements. The report also responds to the Senate Appropriations Committee direction for additional information on the FMR calculation process. Specifically, the Senate Committee Report accompanying the fiscal year FY 2019 Transportation-HUD Appropriations bill required HUD "to identify the statutory, regulatory and cost barriers PHAs face in conducting and receiving reimbursements" for local market rent surveys used to request adjustments to HUD's Fair Market Rents. The Committee Report further required HUD to address "solutions to address delays in HUD's annual calculation of FMRs for rental markets that are rapidly increasing in value." A number of options for improved local FMR calculations are discussed, including changes to the factors used for estimating rent inflation and local trends, along with potential limitations or drawbacks of such options. In terms of PHAs' use of local rent surveys, the report finds that while PHAs have legal authority to use their existing HUD funding for administrative expenses for such surveys, or to pursue outside funding and partnerships (e.g. with universities) to do so, funding limitations and practical considerations make this difficult in practice. Further, HUD itself does not have a separate, independent appropriations source to reimburse PHAs for local rent surveys and there would be significant difficulties and drawbacks to providing reimbursements out of existing appropriations for PHA administrative fees which are often pro-rated due to funding limitations.

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Cityscape: National Survey of Mortgage Originations Volume 21, Number 2Cityscape: National Survey of Mortgage Originations Volume 21, Number 2

The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies. Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Short-Term Impact Report: The HUD First-Time Homebuyer Education and Counseling Demonstration, Preliminary FindingsShort-Term Impact Report: The HUD First-Time Homebuyer Education and Counseling Demonstration, Preliminary Findings

Congress and many researchers and practitioners in the field of housing counseling have asked whether pre-purchase homeownership counseling for first-time borrowers leads to better borrower outcomes and reduced lender risk relative to no counseling. HUD designed The First-Time Homebuyer Education and Counseling Demonstration as a large-scale randomized experiment to answer the question about the relative efficacy of homebuyer education and counseling on first-time borrowers. This report presents preliminary findings on the impact of homebuyer education and counseling for prospective first-time homebuyers. Preliminary findings indicate that the impacts are mixed, with some positive impacts including higher rates of home purchase for young adults (29 years and younger), and either negative or "no impact" findings for other measures - including no impact on loan performance measures (for the 12-18 months after home purchase period). All findings relate to short-term impacts only (given the length of the study) and are based on information drawn from extensive administrative data and a follow-up survey of study participants. This report provides data that will hopefully help contextualize and explain longer-term outcomes expected in the final report in 2021.

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HUD's Office of Policy Development & Research Biennial Report FY 2017-2018HUD's Office of Policy Development & Research Biennial Report FY 2017-2018

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R), is pleased to present its fiscal years (FY) 2017 and 2018 Biennial Report. The goal of this report is to inform those who use the data and research PD&R produces about who PD&R is, what PD&R does, and some input about how PD&R functions. The report highlights some of PD&R’s most notable and transformative accomplishments over the past 2 years, from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2018. It focuses on everything that makes up PD&R: the mission, people, funding, projects, data, dissemination and outreach, and partner engagement.
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Cityscape: The Fair Housing Act at 50 Volume 21, Number 1Cityscape: The Fair Housing Act at 50 Volume 21, Number 1

The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies. Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Building Even Better Homes: Strategies for Promoting Innovation in Home BuildingBuilding Even Better Homes: Strategies for Promoting Innovation in Home Building

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has a long history of investing in a more innovative and productive homebuilding industry. This report provides an update to the 2003 RAND report, Building Better Homes: Government Strategies for Promoting Innovation in Housing, to better reflect the current understanding and practice of innovation in housing and identify the most useful Federal role for promoting such innovation. Consistent with the original report, the research team examined the structure, characteristics, and motivations within the homebuilding industry that either advance or hinder research and development (R&D), and the diffusion and adoption of housing innovations. The authors propose a new non-linear model of the innovation process that is realistic and appropriate to housing. The report outlines information-gathering and analytic activities needed to inform federal innovation policy and principles that should guide selection of policies for supporting housing technology innovation in public-private context, and strategies to increase the impact of federal R&D investments.

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Promoting Work and Self-Sufficiency for Housing Voucher Recipients: Early Findings From the Family Self-Sufficiency Program EvaluationPromoting Work and Self-Sufficiency for Housing Voucher Recipients: Early Findings From the Family Self-Sufficiency Program Evaluation

In 2012, HUD commissioned a national random assignment evaluation of the Family-Self Sufficiency (FSS) program's impacts on labor market and other quality of life outcomes for households receiving Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs). The FSS program has two key components: i) funding for Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to support case managers who work with participant households to develop individualized self-sufficiency plans and access other community services, and ii) funding to support savings and asset development via interest-bearing escrow accounts redeemable upon graduation from the program, generally after 5 years of FSS program participation. This report examines FSS program implementation, participants' engagement in the program, and program impacts on labor force participation and government benefits receipt in the first 24 months after program enrollment. The evaluation finds that while FSS increased participation in a range of employment-related services and support services by a statistically significant 13 percentage points, participants in the FSS program did not increase employment rates or average earnings in the first 2 years, but did experience small shifts from part-time to full-time employment.

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Deriving Local Trend Factors for Fair Market Rent EstimationDeriving Local Trend Factors for Fair Market Rent Estimation

In the fall of 2018, PD&R tasked a multidisciplinary research team to explore ways to refine HUD's current methodology, particularly as it relates to calculating a trend factor, to address public and Congressional concerns. The first phase (Phase I) of the study presents a statistical approach for deriving local trend factors for selected areas where local Consumer Price Index (CPI) data is available for use in the calculation of FMRs by expanding on HUD's existing methodology for estimating a national trend factor and applying it to CPI data for the 13 metropolitan and 4 regional areas of two different size classes produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The second phase (Phase II) of the report presents alternative approaches to augmenting local market conditions into calculations of FMRs for a broader range of metropolitan areas by utilizing alternative sources of data and empirical frameworks.

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Evaluation of the HUD-DOJ Pay for Success Permanent Supportive Housing Demonstration Baseline ReportEvaluation of the HUD-DOJ Pay for Success Permanent Supportive Housing Demonstration Baseline Report

The U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Justice (DOJ) launched the Pay for Success Permanent Supportive Housing Demonstration in 2016. HUD-DOJ are conducting a formative evaluation to assess whether providing permanent supportive housing (PSH) within a pay-for-success (PFS) framework is a successful and cost-effective way of using PSH to provide housing stability and reduce social service use and recidivism for a population continually cycling between homeless services and the criminal justice system. PFS is an innovative financing model that leverages philanthropic and private dollars to provide up-front financing, with the government paying after they generate results, i.e. "pay for success." This baseline report covers the initial grant implementation period from October 2016 through December 2017 and contributes to research on how communities are working to launch PFS projects to fund PSH for the reentry population experiencing chronic homelessness. It describes the implementation of PFS across seven sites during the first 14 months of the Demonstration. The 7 Demonstration sites started at different stages, and 6 of the 7 sites confronted different challenges and achieved different milestones as they advanced to the next PFS stage.

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Understanding Encampments of People Experiencing Homelessness and Community Responses: Emerging Evidence as of Late 2018Understanding Encampments of People Experiencing Homelessness and Community Responses: Emerging Evidence as of Late 2018

This paper documents what is known about homeless encampments as of late 2018, based on a review of the limited literature produced by academic and research institutions and public agencies, supplemented by interviews with key informants. This paper is part of a larger research study, sponsored jointly by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Policy Development and Research and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. The goal is to contribute to the understanding of homelessness, including the characteristics of homeless encampments and the people who stay in them, and of local responses addressing encampments and their associated costs. The larger final research report is anticipated January 2020.

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Addressing Housing Affordability in High-Cost Metropolitan Areas in the United StatesAddressing Housing Affordability in High-Cost Metropolitan Areas in the United States

The Senate Report 115-268, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2018, requested that HUD investigate the rental housing affordability crisis in high-cost metropolitan areas and recommend potential solutions to help states and their local government entities. This report summarizes the nation’s rental affordability problem, identifies metropolitan areas with the greatest affordability challenges, and offers recommendations for what these communities can do to alleviate shortages of affordable rental housing. The report also highlights a select number of exemplary approaches that some of these high-cost communities have already implemented to address the affordability crisis.

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Evidence Matters Winter 2019Evidence Matters Winter 2019

First used in the 1970s, housing vouchers — beginning as the Section 8 program and now as the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program — have become HUD’s primary means for providing housing assistance to low-income renters. The HCV program subsidizes rental payments for privately owned units, making the landlords who own these homes critical to the program’s success. Despite their important role in supplying affordable housing, landlords have not been the subject of much research until recently. Current HUD-sponsored research is beginning to fill some of the gaps in our knowledge about how and why landlords choose to accept vouchers. This knowledge should help HUD, public housing agencies (PHAs), and local government entities improve the efforts they are already implementing to increase landlord participation. This issue of Evidence Matters focuses on the research regarding landlord acceptance of vouchers, the efforts to increase participation, and the implications of landlord participation for the housing choices of voucher households.

The lead article, “Landlords: Critical Participants in the Housing Choice Voucher Program,” provides a basic overview of the HCV program and the role that landlords play in it; examines the implications of voucher acceptance for assisted households; surveys existing research on landlord participation; and provides examples of the types of program and initiatives that HUD, PHAs, and local governments are pursuing to increase voucher acceptance. The Research Spotlight, “HUD-Sponsored Research Sheds New Light on HCV Landlords,” by Meena Bavan and Paul Joice, discusses the findings of two recent HUD-sponsored studies, “A Pilot Study of Landlord Acceptance of Housing Choice Vouchers,” and “Urban Landlords and the Housing Choice Voucher Program: A Research Report.” Finally, the In Practice article, “PHAs Encourage Landlord Participation With Incentives,” discusses initiatives in Marin County, California, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, that offer financial benefits, education, and streamlined administrative processes to encourage landlords to lease to voucher holders.

We hope that this edition of Evidence Matters provides a helpful overview of this critical topic. Our next issue will focus on tax incentives. Please provide feedback on any of our issues at www.huduser.gov/forums.

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Landlord Participation StudyLandlord Participation Study

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program is the largest rental housing subsidy program in the United States and has the potential to increase housing options for low-income families. In order to realize this potential, however, the program must attract landlords who accept housing choice vouchers. The primary objectives of this study are: 1) to provide insights from Public Housing Authority (PHA) staff on the factors associated with landlord decisions about whether to participate in the program; and 2) to identify a collection of promising and innovative practices that PHAs have used to increase landlord participation. The study provides key insights into landlord participation in the HCV program and the perspectives of PHA staff on factors influencing landlord decisions on whether to participate. The study also identifies a diverse collection of innovative activities adopted by PHAs to mitigate financial concerns among landlords, make the HCV program simpler, and alleviate landlord concerns about HCV tenants. The study finds that a majority of PHA staff interviewed identified financial reasons as the most important factor affecting landlord participation - with payment standards and fair market rents, damage costs and security deposits, and profit motivations cited as key determining factors.

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Data Use and Challenges in Using Pay for Success to Implement Permanent Supportive Housing: Lessons From the HUD-DOJ DemonstrationData Use and Challenges in Using Pay for Success to Implement Permanent Supportive Housing: Lessons From the HUD-DOJ Demonstration

The U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Justice (DOJ) launched the Pay for Success Permanent Supportive Housing Demonstration in 2016. HUD-DOJ are conducting a formative evaluation to assess whether providing permanent supportive housing (PSH) within a pay-for-success (PFS) framework is a successful and cost-effective way of using PSH to provide housing stability and reduce social service use and recidivism for a population continually cycling between homeless services and the criminal justice system. PFS is an innovative financing model that leverages philanthropic and private dollars to provide up-front financing, with the government paying after they generate results, i.e. “pay for success.”
The current formative evaluation deliverables include a Research Brief that documents the challenges faced by the grantees and their solutions. This Research Brief documents data challenges that arose in four areas: stakeholders, data quality, privacy, and timeliness of data. Although data challenges played a role in lengthening feasibility analyses beyond the anticipated 1-year timeline, many of the seven sites in the HUD-DOJ PFS Demonstration made important progress in bringing stakeholders to the table to support data access, negotiating privacy concerns and data sharing agreements, and problem-solving data quality issues or delays in data access.

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Small Area Fair Market Rent Demonstration Evaluation: Final ReportSmall Area Fair Market Rent Demonstration Evaluation: Final Report

This groundbreaking report evaluates the impact of implementing Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) in seven Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) in a variety of geographic and market types. This report examines whether and to what extent the shift from metropolitan-wide Fair Market Rents (FMRs) to ZIP Code-based SAFMRs provides better access to areas of higher opportunity for Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) families. The report also examines how the use of SAFMRs affects HCV families and landlords, as well as the impact of SAFMRS on Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) paid by HUD and the tenant portion of rent paid by SAFMR families. This report also reviews the PHA administrative procedures imposed and costs incurred in implementing SAFMRs.

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Understanding Rapid Re-housing: Systematic Review of Rapid Re-housing Outcomes LiteratureUnderstanding Rapid Re-housing: Systematic Review of Rapid Re-housing Outcomes Literature

The primary goal of rapid re-housing (RRH) is to provide temporary assistance that quickly moves individuals and families who experience literal homelessness into permanent housing while providing appropriate time-limited supports to help them stabilize there (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2014a). Guidance released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) in 2012 specifies three core components for RRH programs: (1) housing identification, (2) rent and move-in assistance, and (3) case management and services. This systematic review of RRH outcomes literature summarizes the available evidence on rapid rehousing with a specific focus on how rapid re-housing programs have performed in relation to performance benchmarks. This report also presents descriptive information on the design and implementation of RRH programs, drawing on the research literature and on the authors’ knowledge of RRH practice.

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Understanding Rapid Re-housing: Supplemental Analysis of Data from the Family Options StudyUnderstanding Rapid Re-housing: Supplemental Analysis of Data from the Family Options Study

Rapid re-housing programs provide temporary assistance to individuals and families who experience homelessness so they may quickly move into permanent housing and stabilize there (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2014). Since 2009, the number of communities in the United States using rapid re-housing (RRH) programs to address homelessness has grown from just a few to several hundred. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is sponsoring the Understanding Rapid Re-housing Study to address important questions about RRH assistance. To carry out the study, Abt Associates is synthesizing the current body of research available on RRH, conducting new analysis of existing data, and collecting new data to analyze current RRH program designs and households’ experiences using RRH assistance.This paper is the deliverable for Task 6 of the Understanding Rapid Re-housing Study. The paper presents new analysis about short-term rent subsidies and associated services provided by rapid re-housing programs using data collected for the Family Options Study.

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Cityscape: Youth Homelessness Volume 20, Number 3Cityscape: Youth Homelessness Volume 20, Number 3

The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies. Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Who Participates in Homebuyer Education and Counseling Services and Why? Insights From HUD’s First-Time Homebuyer Education and Counseling DemonstrationWho Participates in Homebuyer Education and Counseling Services and Why? Insights From HUD’s First-Time Homebuyer Education and Counseling Demonstration

Congress and many researchers and practitioners in the field of housing counseling have asked whether pre-purchase homeownership counseling for first-time borrowers leads to better borrower outcomes and reduced lender risk relative to no counseling. HUD designed The First-Time Homebuyer Education and Counseling Demonstration as a large-scale randomized experiment to answer the question about the relative efficacy of homebuyer education and counseling on first-time borrowers. Because of the richness of the data collected on study participants at baseline and during the service participation period of the Demonstration, a detailed analysis of the study participants’ personal characteristics that are associated with program participation in – both initiation and completion of – in-person and remote homebuyer education and counseling services was possible. Key findings from Who Participates in Homebuyer Education and Counseling Services and Why? Insights from HUD’s First-Time Homebuyer Education and Counseling Demonstration indicate that women and homebuyers with greater education were more likely to participate in homebuyer education and counseling services in general. Those at an early stage of the homebuying process, those who reported being “pretty good at math,” or those who planned to purchase a home without a co-borrower were more likely to participate in in-person services. Those who planned to spend more years living in their purchased home, who scored better on a baseline mortgage literacy quiz, or who had a higher credit score were more likely to participate in remote services. This paper provides data that can inform how HUD’s Housing Counseling Program and service providers market and deliver homebuyer education and counseling services, and serves as a useful basis for readers to assess the ultimate findings of the Demonstration that will be forthcoming in future reports.



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Interface of Mobility and Sustainability: Thompson v. HUD Volume 1: Findings Final ReportInterface of Mobility and Sustainability: Thompson v. HUD Volume 1: Findings Final Report

This study satisfied the 6 research objectives specified in the Final Settlement Agreement from Thompson v. HUD, a landmark public housing segregation lawsuit. Inadditon to the six objectives that guided this research, the Settlement Agreement provided for housing choice vouchers (HCV) for the plaintiff class (African American public housing residents) to move to “opportunity” communities.



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