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Encouraging Residential Moves to Opportunity Neighborhoods: An Experiment Testing Incentives Offered to Housing Voucher Recipients

Encouraging Residential Moves to Opportunity Neighborhoods: An Experiment Testing Incentives Offered to Housing Voucher Recipients

This study tests whether mobility counseling and cash incentives will affect a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) recipient’s move to an opportunity area. Opportunity areas are defined as tracks rated 6-10 on a HUD-created index—factoring in poverty, housing stability, job and transit access, school quality, and employment. This move from a non-opportunity neighborhood (ranked 1-5) to an opportunity neighborhood (ranked 6-10) is considered an “opportunity move.” When a HCV recipient requests to move to a new housing unit, they must work with their Public Housing Authority (PHA).



Childhood Housing and Adult Earnings: A Between-Siblings Analysis of Housing Vouchers and Public Housing

Childhood Housing and Adult Earnings: A Between-Siblings Analysis of Housing Vouchers and Public Housing

This study estimates the effect of residence in voucher-supported and public housing as a teenager on earnings and incarceration as a young adult. Receiving HUD rental assistance as a teenager yields substantial positive effects on later income from earnings as a young adult. Both living in public housing and living in a housing voucher-subsidized unit lead to positive and significant effects on later earnings for both male and female teenagers. The study found corresponding reductions in the likelihood of adult incarceration with lower mean incarceration rates for both males and females.



HOPE VI Data Compilation and Analysis

HOPE VI Data Compilation and Analysis

This report relies on performance measurement data that HOPE VI grantees report to HUD. Those performance measurement data summarize activities of HOPE VI grantees, with particular emphasis on demolition and production of housing units, and also supportive services provided to residents. The Case Western University research team has analyzed those performance measurement data to create an overall assessment of the HOPE VI program. Their report reinforces many well-understood aspects of the HOPE VI program: that it resulted in a net loss of public housing units; that a low proportion of baseline residents returned to completed developments; and that the program produced new units of different types, including other forms of affordable housing, market rate housing, and both rental and homeownership units. Research on HOPE VI tailed off substantially after 2004, so this report is perhaps the most comprehensive accounting of the program’s outputs.



The Impacts of Self-Sufficiency Interventions on Recipients of Rental Housing Subsidies: An Exploratory Analysis of Data from Selected Randomized Controlled Trials

The Impacts of Self-Sufficiency Interventions on Recipients of Rental Housing Subsidies: An Exploratory Analysis of Data from Selected Randomized Controlled Trials

This working paper explores the effects of various employment-advancement or antipoverty initiatives on labor market outcomes for participants in those programs who were also recipients of government rental subsidies. The findings are based on exploratory secondary analyses of data from a collection of randomized trials for which MDRC served as the evaluator. The purpose of these secondary analyses was to produce evidence that could help guide planning for future programs aiming to help housing-assistance recipients obtain, sustain, and advance in employment.



What Happens to Housing Assistance Leavers?

What Happens to Housing Assistance Leavers?

Despite the large body of research on housing assistance programs, few researchers have attempted to study what happens to recipients when they leave assisted housing. This paper uses data tracking HUD’s Moving to Opportunity demonstration participants over time, including after they leave housing assistance, to study the factors that cause households to leave assistance and how the experiences of leavers compare with households that remain on assistance. This paper also explores how the Great Recession may have influenced the lives of housing assistance leavers, especially those who had attempted to become homeowners.



The Bridge to Family Self-Sufficiency (BridgeFSS) Demonstration

The Bridge to Family Self-Sufficiency (BridgeFSS) Demonstration

Housing subsidies, which help low-income families pay their rent and utilities in public housing developments or in the private rental market, are a vital component of the national social safety net. For many very low-income families, they stand directly between decent, stable housing and homelessness. They are also sometimes viewed as a “work support,” with the expectation that stable housing makes it easier to find a job and remain employed. Yet, several rigorous studies have found that housing subsidies by themselves (i.e., in the absence of a work-focused intervention) may not improve average employment rates and earnings for low-income adults, and may even worsen them somewhat under some conditions. More encouragingly, a number of other studies show that housing subsidies can be used effectively as a “platform” for employment, in that certain work-focused interventions can improve labor market outcomes for individuals already receiving housing subsidies. Still, such evidence is limited, and little proof exists of any interventions producing “transformative” effects – that is, helping large proportions and a diverse mix of participating tenants achieve earnings gains that are large enough to help them exit the housing subsidy system and other government transfer programs.



The Second Generation Of Jobs-Plus Programs: Implementation Lessons from San Antonio and the Bronx

The Second Generation Of Jobs-Plus Programs: Implementation Lessons from San Antonio and the Bronx

The report includes findings on the process, methods and organizational approach used in the implementation of the Jobs Plus work incentive and services program at two public housing authorities (San Antonio and New York City) using a Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant. While the report does not include outcome effects for assisted housing residents, it does include findings on the very limited take-up rate of Earned Income Disregard (EID) incentives, pointing to a major obstacle to the overall potential success of the initiative at these two sites. The EID reached only approximately 1 percent of working-age adults in the Bronx and 3 percent in San Antonio.



HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) has authority to enter into unsolicited research partnerships with universities, philanthropic organizations, other federal or state agencies, or a combination of these entities through noncompetitive cooperative agreements. The purpose of these partnerships is to allow PD&R to participate in innovative research projects that inform HUD’s policies and programs. Research partnerships require that at least 50 percent of the costs are funded by the partnering agency. PD&R is focusing its cooperative agreement efforts on research partnerships that will advance one of the following five key areas:

  1. Strengthening Housing Markets: Homeownership and Housing Finance
  2. Affordable Quality Rental Housing
  3. Housing as a Platform for Improving Quality of Life
  4. Resilient and Inclusive Communities
  5. HUD Research Assets

For additional, detailed information on the five key areas enumerated above, we direct your attention to the Federal Register Notice dated June 13, 2016; specifically, section I. Funding Opportunity Description, subsection C. Program Description. Research partnership proposals may be submitted to ResearchPartnerships@hud.gov. Institutions submitting proposals are encouraged to review the full list of priority research questions in PD&R’s Research Roadmap, and the priorities outlined in HUD’s Strategic Plan.


Research Projects


  • Aging Gracefully in Place: An Evaluation of the Capability of the CAPABLE Approach - National Center for Healthy Housing

    The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) research seeks 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 hypothesize that the proposed intervention will 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 will use the ADL outcomes from this study to estimate the cost savings from avoided months of long-term care versus the costs of the interventions.

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  • Aging in Place: Managing the Use of Reverse Mortgages to Enable Housing Stability (Ohio State University)

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

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  • Brown University — Housing Tenure, Disaster, Damage and Displacement: An Analysis of the New Orleans American Housing Survey 2004-2009

    This research project seeks 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 are using 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.

    There are five main reasons why renters are more likely than homeowners to move after a disaster:

    1. Owner-occupied housing is typically higher quality and more weather resistant than rental property due to differences in original building materials and subsequent improvements (Iwata & Yamaga 2008).
    2. Homeowners are more alert to local hazards and appropriate preventive measures &responses than are renters, due to longer residence in an area (Burby et al 2003).
    3. Homeowners have greater control over the decision to return to disaster-affected housing than renters (Bolin & Stanford 1998; Comerio et al 1994; Zhang & Peacock 2010)
    4. Homeowners have greater access to both private and public financial assistance after a disaster (Comerio 1998; Zhang & Peacock 2010; U.S. G.A.O. 2010).
    5. Disaster-affected areas often experience rental inflation after a disaster due to loss of rental housing stock and upgrades to the remaining rental housing stock, preventing low-income renters from finding affordable housing (Bolin & Stanford 1998; Comerio et al 1994).

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  • Bringing Life Course Home: Improving Health Through Housing Stability and Support (Boston Medical Center/Boston University)

    The project is supporting an expanded evaluation of the Healthy Start in Housing (HSiH) program, which is 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. Boston Medical Center will determine though a quasi-experimental study over 12 months of follow up, the effect of participation in HSiH.

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  • Brokering the Geography of Opportunity: How Landlords Affect Access to Housing and Neighborhood Quality Among HUD Assisted Renters (Johns Hopkins/Harvard University)

    This proposal seeks matching funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (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).

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  • Chicago Regional Housing Choice Initiative Evaluation (RAND)

    RAND obtained data directly from HUD (rather than the eight disparate Public Housing Authorities [PHAs] that comprise the Chicago Regional Housing Initiative), to not only reduce the burden on the PHAs, but to yield more accurate, complete data, given PD&R’s capabilities in this area. This data will inform 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 will benefit HUD as it seeks to answer two primary questions: (1) whether second-movers among Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) households from any of the 18 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. The research team seeks to determine whether the HUD pilot has achieved the intended effect of promoting moves to opportunity neighborhoods.

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  • Coming Home: An Evaluation of NYCHA Family Reentry Pilot (Vera Institute of Justice)

    NYCHA is launching a pilot program that will test its current 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.

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  • The Economic Boom in Eagle Shale: Impacts on Accessible and Affordable Housing for Vulnerable Populations. University of Texas at San Antonio

    This research project is investigating 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 will be conducted through focus groups and qualitative interviews with three key groups -- policy makers, providers of housing, and those needing affordable housing.

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  • Evaluation of Innovative Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Programs Administered by the Nonprofit Compass in Partnership with Massachusetts Public Housing Authorities (Abt Associates)

    Abt Associates are specifically working with two FSS programs in Cambridge and Lynn, Massachusetts to evaluate the impact of Compass’ FSS programs on participants’ earnings growth and benefits usage by comparing changes over time in earnings and benefits of 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 will also evaluate the impact of Compass’ 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, and Abt Associates will describe longitudinal patterns of earnings for HCV holders in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut (separately for FSS and non-FSS participants) to help inform Compass’ monitoring of clients’ progress in increasing their earnings. Additionally, Abt Associates will conduct a cost-benefit analysis that compares the costs of Compass’ FSS program to estimates of its benefits. Abt Associates will also provide 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.

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  • High Cost Lending in Rural America and the Great Recession (Middlebury College USDA/ERS)

    Developed and broadened research partnership to broaden analysis of AHS Micro-Data detailing data on housing units to include interest rates, type and principal.

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  • The High-Cost Cities, Gentrification and Voucher Use: Exploring Access to Quality Homes and Neighborhoods. New York University, Furman Center

    How and why housing choice voucher 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.

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  • HOPE VI: Data Compilation and Analysis. Case Western Reserve University

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

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  • The Housing Opportunity and Services Together (HOST) Demonstration (Urban Institute)

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

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  • The Housing Opportunity and Services Together Demonstration (HOST II). Urban Institute

    The Housing Opportunity and Services Together Demonstration (HOST II) continues to test strategies for using housing as a platform for services to improve the life chances of vulnerable youth and adults. HOST II includes an important follow-up survey to measure effects of the demonstration, and assist dissemination of findings and best practices to other PHAs will be the basis.

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  • Housing Outcomes, Tenant Satisfaction, and Community Integration in Single-site and Scattered-site Housing First Models: A Randomized Trial - DePaul University

    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 disorders but tenants determine the type and intensity of the services they receive base 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. The proposed mixed methods randomized trial will examine the effects of single-site (SINHF) and scattered-site (SCAHF) Housing First models. The proposed study seeks 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 situation 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 proposed research will be conducted in collaboration with the Downtown Emergency Service Center, a large homeless service provider and Housing First innovator in Seattle, WA.

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  • How Housing Affects Young Children (Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health)

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

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  • The Impact of Children's Housing on Their Long-Term Economic Outcomes: Linking Intergenerational Labor Market Outcomes, Residential Mobility, and Neighborhood Quality for Households Receiving Housing Assistance (University of Maryland, Census Bureau, Harvard University)

    This project expands upon a largely-built data infrastructure that uses confidential U.S. Census Bureau and HUD data from several sources capable of tracking individuals and their residential and employment outcomes over long periods of time. The integrated data provide longitudinal and spatial dimensions, along with very large sample sizes. The core question the researchers plan to address with funding from HUD is how different types of assisted and non-assisted housing affect residential mobility decisions and neighborhood quality, and how these outcomes are linked to intergenerational employment, mobility, and neighborhood quality outcomes.

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  • Jobs-Plus Cost Study (CEO-SIF Mayors Fund of NYC)

    To conduct an analysis of the program costs for Jobs Plus, a successful employment program focused on Public Housing residents in NYC and San Antonio, TX, for replication in other areas of the country.

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  • Johns Hopkins Moving to Opportunity: Platform to Improve Health (Johns Hopkins University)

    The MTO for Fair Housing Demonstration study has demonstrated 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 has not been studied. JHU will 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, JHU will link MTO data to Medicaid and hospital discharge data. JHU will use 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.

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  • Mining MTO: Housing Assistance Leavers and Vulnerable Female Youth (Urban Institute)

    Urban Institute used MTO data to facilitate the answers to 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?

    Download the Report:
    What Happens to Housing Assistance Leavers? (*.PDF)

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  • Modeling Temporary, Interim, and Permanent Housing Demand and Capacity for Medically Fragile and Vulnerable Populations. Old Dominion University - Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC)

    To provide damage estimates to local, state, and federal agencies soon after a disaster has occurred to help streamline where emergency resources would be best allocated. Conducting data exploration with a focus on developing tools that support local government’s ability to plan for and manage housing demands pre/post natural disasters (especially among vulnerable residents within affected communities) should be a centerpiece of HUD’s disaster and community resilience research portfolio.

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  • Relationship between receipt of housing assistance and social health (Washington State Department of Social and Health Services)

    To link administrative data from WA State Dept. of HHS and the RDA with HUD to examine relationship with housing assistance and health systems.

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  • Rental Data: Improving Renter’s Security through Credit Reporting Payment Data (Policy and Economic Research Council)

    The Policy and Economic Research Council (PERC) proposes to examine the relationship between credit worthiness and the inclusion of rental payment in consumer credit reports maintained by nationwide consumer reporting agencies. They will add 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 (PHA), 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 proposed study will benchmark results against Section 8 and rental payment data reported by property management firms to Experian and/or Trans Union. If shown that credit reporting this data benefits a large segment of PHA tenants, than a strong public policy could be made for exhorting PHAs to begin credit reporting with tenant consent or seek legal changes to allow credit reporting.

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  • Rethinking FSS: A Plan for Building More Evidence on What Works to Improve Employment Outcomes and Economic Security for Recipients of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers-Resubmission (MDRC)

    The research grants supported a number of special secondary data analyses and a related planning process to design a research demonstration project that tests a new employment intervention for recipients of Housing Choice Vouchers. The resulting evidence should help identify features or practices that, if incorporated into the existing FSS program, could potentially to improve its effectiveness, or point to an alternate model that may be more effective. In addition to specifying a new intervention approach, MDRC proposes to develop a research strategy for evaluating the effectiveness of that approach, as well as a fundraising strategy to support it.

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  • Understanding the Market for Reverse Mortgages. Columbia University

    This research examines the demand and performance of reverse mortgages by providing evidence on the preferences and behavior of actual and potential reverse mortgage borrowers. (1) the impact of the moral hazard on home maintenance for reverse mortgage borrowers, (2) performance of reverse mortgages, modeling various outcomes including default; and (3) consider 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.

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  • University of California San Diego — Advancing the Use of Cold-Formed Steel in the Housing Industry

    The University of California San Diego (UCSD) is constructing and testing a full-scale, 5-story, completely Cold Formed Steel (CFS)-framed and sheathed residential housing structure on the University of California, San Diego Large High-Performance Outdoor Shake Table. Benefiting from collaboration with the cold-formed steel framing industry, this lightweight framed and structural integrated panel (SIP) building was constructed and instrumented directly on the UCSD shake table, and will be subjected to a series of earthquake motions of increasing severity to assess its damage progression. Approximately 100 sensors distributed throughout the test building will measure accelerations and displacements. An array of video cameras both within the interior and exterior of the test building will also be placed and synchronized with the analog sensor data to identify instances of damage, as plausible. This unique industry-academe-government collaborative project will support a sorely needed full-scale test program to better understand the response of cold-formed-steel 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 are of primary interest in this effort:

    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?

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  • Using Parcel and Household Data to Evaluate the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and Housing Choice Voucher Programs: Transportation, Crime, Education and Tenant Choice (University of Florida/Shimberg Center)

    To conduct a series of studies evaluating neighborhood conditions for participants in the LIHTC and HCV programs in metropolitan Florida.

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For additional information, please contact ResearchPartnerships@hud.gov or call Kinnard Wright or Madlyn Wohlman-Rodriguez, Office of University Partnerships at (202) 708-3061 (this number is not toll-free). Questions may also be submitted by mail to Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of University Partnerships, 451 Seventh Street, SW, Room 8226, Washington, DC 20410, ATTENTION: Research Partnerships.

In the Federal Register Notice dated 3/21/14, Congress granted HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) the authority to accept unsolicited research proposals and enter into research partnerships with outside entities. This authority allows PD&R to participate in innovative research projects that inform HUD’s policies and programs. The research partnerships require a 50 percent cost share that is funded by philanthropic organizations, other governmental agencies, or a combination of these entities.

Research partnership proposals may be submitted to ResearchPartnerships@hud.gov. Institutions submitting proposals are encouraged to review the full list of priority research questions in the Office of Policy Development and Research’s Roadmap, and the priorities of HUD’s Strategic Plan.

For additional information, please contact ResearchPartnerships@hud.gov or call Kinnard Wright or Madlyn Wohlman-Rodriguez, Office of University Partnerships at (202) 708-3061 (this number is not toll-free). Questions may also be submitted by mail to Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of University Partnerships, 451 Seventh Street, SW, Room 8226, Washington, DC 20410, ATTENTION: Research Partnerships.


For More Information:

June 13, 2016 Federal Register Notice Announcing PD&R’s Research Partnerships

Message from the Assistant Secretary: PD&R Research Partnerships