Research Partnership Projects

NYCHA launched a pilot program that tests tenant selection criteria by allowing 150 formerly incarcerated individuals to return to NYCHA housing and move in with their families. The two main goals of the evaluation are to: (1) examine the pilot’s design and implementation and assess the feasibility for scaling-up and replicating it in other jurisdictions, and (2) to describe pilot participants’ characteristics, including their needs, experiences, and program outcomes.

This study will draw on 55 in-depth interviews and eighteen months of participant-observation fieldwork to document the challenges and experiences of Brockton first-time black homeowners. The main question is: What challenges to sustainable and financially viable homeownership do Brockton first-time homeowners face as they transition from renting in a metropolitan core to owning in a fringe city?

HUD, along with funding partners the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the MacArthur Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), is supporting the first experimental study of the effects of housing vouchers on children. The Housing and Children’s Healthy Development (HCHD) Study is unique in its experimental and longitudinal design, its focus on children who are 3-10 years old at random assignment, and its in-depth data collection through personal interviews with mothers.

This project is seeking to provide damage estimates to local, state, and federal agencies soon after a disaster occurs to help streamline where emergency resources would be best allocated.

Old Dominion University Research Foundation and funding from HUD is supporting research and modeling efforts focused on better understanding the enabling and coordinating mechanisms that are essential to optimizing the coordination of material, transportation, and labor related to housing recovery. The Recover Hampton Roads organization is assessing damage, coordinating converging material and volunteer labor, generating work packages, and executing repairs.


The University of California San Diego (UCSD) constructed and tested a full-scale, 5-story, completely Cold Formed Steel (CFS)-framed and sheathed residential housing structure on the UCSD Large High-Performance Outdoor Shake Table. Benefiting from collaboration with the CFS framing industry, this lightweight framed and structural insulated panel (SIP) building was constructed and instrumented directly on the UCSD shake table and was subjected to a series of earthquake motions of increasing severity to assess its damage progression. Approximately 100 sensors distributed throughout the test building measured accelerations and displacements. An array of video cameras both within the interior and exterior of the test building were also placed and synchronized with the analog sensor data to identify instances of damage, as plausible. This unique industry-academe-government collaborative project supported a sorely needed full-scale test program to better understand the response of CFS-framed building systems and ultimately inform future building design code revisions. In addition to providing the essential experimental-basis needed to advance CFS-framing as a system in residential construction, the following key research questions were of primary interest: 1) How do present CFS-framing details perform under low, moderate, and strong earthquake shaking? 2) What advances are needed in CFS-framing materials, detailing, and construction practices to improve their performance during earthquakes, and therefore advance their use in residential construction?

This National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) research sought to determine the effect of a tailored multi-disciplinary intervention, including home repair (aka, the CAPABLE approach), on an elderly population in low-income housing. The researchers hypothesized that the proposed intervention would improve the Activities of Daily Living (ADL) metrics of the housing residents. Prior studies have shown that older adults with higher ADL scores are more likely to stay in their homes and out of costly long-term care facilities. The researchers used the ADL outcomes from this study to estimate the cost savings from avoided months of long-term care versus the costs of the interventions.

This research expanded upon research with the MacArthur Foundation to address early warning signs of financial housing instability for reverse mortgage borrowers. Could post-origination monitoring increase HECM origination and influence factors to housing stability and sub-optimal loans?

This project supported an expanded evaluation of the Healthy Start in Housing (HSiH) program. The program was designed to improve access to housing for pregnant women who are at risk of adverse birth outcomes and are either homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. Through a quasi-experimental study over 12 months of follow up, Boston Medical Center looked at the effect of participation in HSiH.

This research sought matching funds from HUD to add a formative study of landlords who could potentially rent to HCV households in the Cleveland and Dallas metropolitan areas by virtue of owning units renting at or below the Fair Market Rent (FMR).

For this research, RAND obtained data directly from HUD rather than the 8 Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) that comprise the Chicago Regional Housing Choice Initiative (CRHCI), which reduced the burden on the PHAs and yielded more accurate and complete data. This data informed an evaluation led by RAND Corporation with two Chicago-based non-profit organizations: Metropolitan Planning Council and Housing Choice Partners as subcontractors. The MacArthur Foundation funded the evaluation of CRHCI, which sought to answer two primary questions: (1) whether second-movers among Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) households from any of the 8 Chicago regional PHAs move at a higher rate from traditional to “opportunity neighborhoods” when offered a $500 grant and housing counseling; and/or (2) whether the second-movers HCV households who express an interest in porting to another jurisdiction port-out at higher rates when offered a “portability advocate” that serves as a one-stop shop for the client, compared to the current procedures for porting from one jurisdiction to another.

This research project investigated how federal, county, and local policies have adapted to the boom and decline of oil and gas production in relation to the availability of rental housing, affordable housing stock, and housing options for vulnerable populations. This analysis was conducted through focus groups and qualitative interviews with three key groups – policymakers, providers of housing, and those needing affordable housing.

Abt Associates worked with two FSS programs in Cambridge and Lynn, Massachusetts, to evaluate the impact of Compass’s FSS programs on participants’ earnings growth and benefits usage by comparing changes over time in earnings and benefits to Compass FSS participants to that of a sample of Housing Choice Voucher holders in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, selected through propensity scoring. Abt Associates also evaluated the impact of Compass’s FSS programs on participants’ credit scores by comparing the change in credit scores for Compass FSS participants to that of a matched comparison group provided through a cooperating credit bureau. Abt Associates also looked at longitudinal patterns of earnings for HCV holders in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut (separately for FSS and non-FSS participants) to help inform Compass’s monitoring of clients’ progress in increasing their earnings. Additionally, Abt Associates conducted a cost-benefit analysis that compared the costs of Compass’s FSS program to estimates of its benefits. Abt Associates also provided implementation support to Compass by helping to improve and conduct cognitive testing for the assessment tool they use to track changes in client practices and beliefs related to financial capability, helping Compass develop stronger mechanisms for tracking earnings in between annual recertification, and providing other analytical support as needed to help Compass refine and strengthen its approach.

This project looked at how and why HCV holders sort into different buildings and neighborhoods over time, especially in high-cost cities where available units are scarce. Understanding how voucher holders select properties and neighborhoods of different types and qualities will shed light on the connection between the receipt of a voucher and these quality-of-life outcomes.

This research analyzed AHS Micro-Data detailing data on housing units to include interest rates, types and principals.

This research project utilized the HOPE VI quarterly reports from HUD on grant progress from 1992-2013 to extract and compile a descriptive analysis and make the summary data broadly available in an online national database on mixed-income developments.

The HOST Demonstration was an ambitious effort to test strategies for using housing as a platform for services to improve the life chances of vulnerable youth and adults.

Housing First is a model of permanent supportive housing in which individuals experiencing chronic homelessness receive housing without requirements for sobriety or participation in mental health or substance abuse disorder treatment; instead, tenants determine the type and intensity of the services they receive based on their individual recovery goals. The decision-making process for, and resulting implications of, placing individuals in settings with high and low concentrations of individuals with disabilities and lived experience of homelessness remains poorly understood in the current literature. It is possible that some subsets of the chronically homeless population may prefer, or experience greater quality of life in, integrated settings, while others may prefer settings with a greater concentration of other people with disabilities and with staff on-site. This mixed methods randomized trial examined the effects of single-site (SINHF) and scattered-site (SCAHF) Housing First models. The study sought to address the following research questions, corresponding with the five specific aims: (1) how do concentrated Housing First and non-concentrated Housing First interventions promote residential stability, housing satisfaction, and community integration; (2) how do individual-level factors and living situations interact to influence these outcomes; (3) what are the key aspects of program implementation, policies, and environmental factors in the two Housing First models that relate to residential stability, satisfaction, and community and social integration; (4) does the quantity and quality of social networks differ across the three conditions over time; and (5) do the two Housing First models demonstrate clinically meaningful equivalence in tenants’ housing stability? The research was conducted in collaboration with the Downtown Emergency Service Center, a large homeless service provider and Housing First innovator in Seattle, WA.

This research project sought to understand how housing tenure before a disaster is related to change in household residence after a disaster, after taking into account disaster-related damage and pre-disaster housing unit characteristics. To accomplish this research goal, the researchers used the 2004 and 2009 American Housing Survey (AHS) New Orleans Metropolitan Area samples, which included more than 4,500 cases that were surveyed in both 2004 and 2009.

The project tested hypotheses about housing-human development relationships — specifically, how housing affects young children in the context of their immediate and extended families, neighborhoods, and schools.

The National Institute of Building Sciences developed a common framework for estimated benefit-cost ratios for natural hazard mitigation. The framework also looks at aggregated benefit-cost ratios for individual mitigation efforts to broader categories of mitigation. The team identified specific resilience strategies or mitigation measures and estimated their individual benefit-cost ratio, which was then aggregated in the first module. This bottom-up approach allowed the work to be performed in separately funded parts but integrated into a coherent whole, using consistent procedures, scientific rigor, quality assurance, defensibility, and modes of expressing results, despite disparate data sources and categories of mitigation. As a collaborative effort, the project team actively collaborated with HUD subject-matter experts to make sure that HUD was able to maximize the application of the study outputs. Among the benefits of the study was identifying mitigation opportunities that provide the best value to those funding the measure, providing an important benchmark for gauging progress towards community resilience over the long term, and establishing frameworks for collected disaster performance data and a common methodology for estimated future losses.

This project was an analysis of the program costs for Jobs Plus, an employment program focused on public housing residents in NYC and San Antonio, TX, for replication in other areas of the country.

The MTO for Fair Housing Demonstration study showed that relocating low-income families to low-poverty neighborhoods had positive impacts on some aspects of health, including lowering rates of obesity and diabetes, and increasing exercise. While one may expect that reducing obesity and diabetes may translate into lower health care costs, the causal linkage between neighborhood settings, obesity, and health care spending had not been studied. This research looked to test whether moving to a low-poverty neighborhood: (1) improves the likelihood of using age- and gender-appropriate primary and preventive care services; (2) reduces hospitalizations that may be averted by regular primary care use; and (3) reduces overall health care costs. To study these hypotheses, the researchers linked MTO data to Medicaid and hospital discharge data. The researchers used these data to measure health care use, health outcomes, and health care expenditures for MTO subjects who received vouchers for low-poverty neighborhoods or Section 8 housing, as compared to those in the public housing control group.

Urban Institute used MTO data to look at the following questions: How many MTO participants left housing assistance during the demonstration? Why do families leave housing assistance? Can leavers be classified into those leaving for positive and negative reasons? How do families describe leaving assistance? How do the characteristics and experiences of households leaving for positive reasons compare with those leaving for negative reasons? How do families no longer receiving federal housing assistance compare with households still receiving it? How do families describe their lives after leaving housing assistance? How do families describe their experiences with homeownership, and how were these experiences affected by the recession?

This follow-up to the initial evaluation looked at updated impact and cost-benefit analyses with the benefit of additional years of data and one additional program (Metro Housing|Boston). This allowed for a longer-term picture of the program’s impact, including whether positive impacts found in the initial evaluation persisted over time.

This project sought to link administrative data from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services and the Relationship Development Assessment (RDA) with HUD to examine the relationship between housing assistance and health systems.

The Policy and Economic Research Council (PERC) examined the relationship between credit worthiness and the inclusion of rental payments in consumer credit reports maintained by nationwide consumer reporting agencies. This added to the existing body of theoretical and empirical economic literature on this topic by examining the credit market impacts resulting from the inclusion of subsidized rental payment data from public housing tenants. Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), with millions of low-income tenants, represent perhaps the single largest potential source of rental payment data for credit invisibles. To establish the impact of including PHA data in consumer reports, the study benchmarked results against Section 8 and rental payment data reported by property management firms to Experian and/or Trans Union. If credit reporting this data benefits a large segment of PHA tenants, then a strong public policy argument could be made for exhorting PHAs to begin credit reporting with tenant consent or seek legal changes to allow credit reporting.

This research examined the demand and performance of reverse mortgages by providing evidence on the preferences and behavior of actual and potential reverse mortgage borrowers. The research looked at: (1) the impact of the moral hazard on home maintenance for reverse mortgage borrowers; (2) the performance of reverse mortgages, modeling various outcomes including default; and (3) the impact of reverse mortgages on the wellbeing of the elderly by comparing the outcomes of elderly homeowners who use a reverse mortgage with outcomes of a similarly chosen control group of borrowers who do not take out a reverse mortgage.

This research sought to conduct a series of studies evaluating neighborhood conditions for participants in the LIHTC and HCV programs in metropolitan Florida.