Message From PD&R Senior Leadership
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A 2020 Update to the Research Roadmap

Image of Seth D. Appleton, Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research.Seth D. Appleton, Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research.

As my time serving as Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research (PD&R) winds down, I find myself thinking about the future of housing policy. What are we going to learn over the next few years? How will the market evolve and innovate? How will we measure change? How will we use evidence to improve HUD’s programs and better serve the households and communities that we assist? For 50 years PD&R has been in the business of answering those fundamental questions. Sometimes the work we have done in the past, like the Moving to Opportunity demonstration in the 1990s, becomes more relevant with the passage of years. Other research, like the work PD&R published this year on the effects of more robust credit reporting for public housing tenants, has a more immediate impact. In all cases, identifying the right questions to ask and designing projects to best answer them is a core feature of the evidence-building process at PD&R.

That’s why I am pleased that one of the last publications that will go out under my signature is the HUD Research Roadmap: 2020 Update. The research roadmap guides the research efforts undertaken by PD&R to build evidence in support of effective policy. HUD’s Research Roadmaps have been shaping and guiding evidence-building activities for eight years. The Research Roadmap will continue to guide budget requests and prioritize research projects and initiatives under the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Evidence Act).

For the 2020 Update, PD&R identified 11 focus areas for our research, including priority research questions and research proposals. HUD solicited stakeholders to help identify the research priorities for the 2020 Update and received more than 600 suggestions for research priorities for HUD to pursue over the next 5 years. After thorough review, staff distilled the research suggestions to 11 focus areas that are critical to HUD’s mission. Staff also prioritized topics to which HUD could most readily contribute.

    The 11 Focus Areas of the Research Roadmap

  • Community Development and Place-based Initiatives
  • Core Housing Programs
  • Disaster Response and Preparedness
  • Fair Housing
  • Housing Finance and Affordable Housing Supply
  • Housing and Health
  • Indian and Rural Issues
  • Self-sufficiency and Economic Opportunity
  • Single Family Homeownership
  • Vulnerable and Special Populations
  • Enhanced Data and Methods

In addition to these focus areas, the HUD Research Roadmap: 2020 Update provides information on how the Evidence Act impacts HUD’s evidence-based approach to policy, including data priorities for evidence building, methods for evidence building, and barriers to evidence building.

The HUD Research Roadmap: 2020 Update encompasses a broader view of evidence building across the Department in accord with the Evidence Act. HUD will continue updating its learning agenda to align with the strategic plan development. Stakeholders are encouraged to continue submitting suggestions about emerging research questions and priorities to

The Research Roadmap is the beginning of a process to answer the key questions about the future of housing policy, a future about which I am optimistic. I look forward to seeing the Research Roadmap bear fruit, in the form of evidence, in the years to come.

The HUD Research Roadmap: 2020 Update is available at

Published Date: 16 November 2020