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Housing and Urban Development Health, Economic, and Residential Stability (HUD HEARS) Study


Report Acceptance Date: December 2022 (106 pages)

Posted Date: January 18, 2024

To date, there has been little systematic research on the long-term outcomes of households and/or individuals who leave HUD-assisted housing, nor are there unambiguous measures of positive and negative exits for most HUD programs. To address this knowledge gap, HUD’s Office of Policy Development & Research (PD&R) released the NOFO, “Examining Long-Term Outcomes Following Exit from HUD-Assisted Housing,” in July 2020. The solicitation asked applicants to leverage HUD administrative data or tenant data linked with other secondary longitudinal data sources to achieve their project objectives.

This study seeks to address strategic goals from HUD’s FY 2018-2022 and FY 2022-2026 Strategic Plans. In its FY 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, HUD adopted a strategic goal to increase the rate of positive exits from all HUD-assisted housing programs. To achieve this strategic objective, PD&R sought to first better understand how households that exit HUD-assisted housing, or “leavers,” fare after exit and how their outcomes post-HUD exit relate to their type of exit – positive or negative. This study also ties into HUD’s FY 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, specifically Strategic Objective 2B which seeks to improve HUD’s rental assistance to address the need for affordable housing. This study seeks to identify factors associated with positive, negative, and neutral exits from HUD-assisted housing. With support from local housing partners, HUD can use these findings to identify best practices for reducing negative exits and expanding positive exits from assisted housing.

This study was conducted by the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health (PI: Dr. Alastair Matheson) for their proposal titled, “Housing and Urban Development Health, Economic and Residential Stability (HUD HEARS) Study.” Using HUD administrative data linked with eight secondary data sources and limiting the study to households only in the Seattle-King County area, the study examines three research questions:

  1. What constitutes a positive or negative exit from HUD-assisted housing?
  2. What factors are associated with HUD exit type?
  3. Is a positive exit associated with better post-exit outcomes than a negative exit?

After completing a comprehensive literature review, Dr. Matheson and his team at the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health consulted with the King County Housing and Seattle Housing Authorities to standardize exit reasons and categories. Their final analytic sample consisted of 8,266 exited households, 13.5% classified as positive exits, 31.6% classified as negative exits, and 54.9% classified as neutral exits. The researchers found substantial differences in factors associated with positive and negative exits. Their findings suggest that, compared to positive exits, negative and neutral exits were associated with worse outcomes. This research provides valuable insight into what qualifies as a positive, negative, or neutral exit, and provides evidence to support the benefits of having a positive exit, as opposed to negative or neutral exit, from HUD-assisted housing.


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