Peer Review Agenda of HUD Influential and Highly Influential Scientific Assessments

An Information Quality Bulletin of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), dated December 16, 2004, and published in the Federal Register on January 14, 2005 (pages 2664-2677), required federal agencies to conduct a "peer review" of "Influential and Highly Influential Scientific Information," as those terms are defined in the Bulletin prior to dissemination to the public.

For questions regarding the peer review requirement of the Bulletin, please contact Mark Shroder, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research, Evaluation, and Monitoring, at (202) 402-5922. For legal questions, please contact Aaron Santa Anna, Assistant General Counsel for Regulations, at (202) 708-3055.

As of April 11, 2018, HUD is aware of one study that may constitute influential scientific information, as defined in the OMB Bulletin, that is subject to the Bulletin's peer review reporting requirements. The study is the evaluation of Small Area Fair Market Rent Demonstration, which we expect will be completed during calendar 2018.

Pursuant to the requirements of the Bulletin, the peer review plan for this study is as follows:

(i) a paragraph including the title, subject and purpose of the planned report, as well as an agency contact to whom inquiries may be directed to learn the specifics of the plan;

Title: Small Area Fair Market Rent Demonstration Evaluation

This report will examine whether and to what extent changes in how subsidy levels are determined for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program affect its tenants’ access to opportunity. Currently, the subsidy available to HCV holders is based on a single rent standard—the Fair Market Rent (FMR)—set for each metropolitan area (or non-metropolitan county. However, rents tend to be higher in certain neighborhoods than others, and neighborhoods with higher rents tend to have better access to amenities that provide opportunity. HUD established the Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAFMR) demonstration program, to allow local agencies to increase HCV subsidies in ZIP Codes where rents are higher than the metro-wide average and decrease HCV subsidies in ZIP Codes where rents are lower. The evaluation also examines how this alternative approach affects HCV holders and landlords, as well as HCV subsidy and administrative costs.

The agency contact is Marie Lihn, 202-402-5866.

(ii) whether the dissemination is likely to be influential scientific information or a highly influential scientific assessment;

The dissemination is likely to be influential scientific information.

(iii) the timing of the review (including deferrals);

The draft final report will be sent to HUD by May 31, 2018. HUD has been given four weeks for review and this would include the peer review. The peer review comments should be sent by June 29, 2018, with a final report due out by July 20, 2018. The contract for this work expires August 31, 2018, so we may be able to extend the comment period, if needed.

(iv) whether the review will be conducted through a panel or individual letters (or whether an alternative procedure will be exercised);

Individual letters.

(v) whether there will be opportunities for the public to comment on the work product to be peer reviewed, and if so, how and when these opportunities will be provided;

There will not be opportunities prior to publication of the report, but the public should feel free to comment thereafter. Contact is Marie Lihn.

(vi) whether the agency will provide significant and relevant public comments to the peer reviewers before they conduct their review;


(vii) the anticipated number of reviewers;


(viii) a succinct description of the primary disciplines or expertise needed in the review;

The primary disciplines for the peer reviewers are ethnographers/ sociologists and housing market economists. The ethnographers/ sociologists should have conducted qualitative studies on low-income tenants, and/or be able to review clustered random assignment analysis in the study. The housing market economists should have expertise in how the HCV program is operated and have analyzed the impact of this program on tenants, in terms of subsidy costs and availability of units.

(ix) whether reviewers will be selected by the agency or by a designated outside organization;


and (x) whether the public, including scientific or professional societies, will be asked to nominate potential peer reviewers.