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Highlighting Best Practices Through the HUD Secretary’s Awards

Photograph showing the façade of a multifamily residential building.

Recognizing and sharing best practices in the field is one of the ways in which HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) fulfills its mission to inform policy development and implementation and improve life in American communities. Since 1997, the annual HUD Secretary’s Awards have highlighted projects that demonstrate best practices by improving the quality of life of low- and moderate-income households. The HUD Secretary’s Awards comprise four categories: the Housing and Community Design Awards, the Opportunity and Empowerment Award, the Awards for Healthy Homes, and the Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships.

The Housing and Community Design Awards

The HUD Secretary’s Housing and Community Design Awards recognize efforts that highlight the important role of design in creating quality homes and supporting thriving communities. HUD, in conjunction with the American Institute of Architects, has presented these awards since 2000. New construction, renovation, and restoration projects that serve low- or mixed-income occupants and users are eligible. The Housing and Community Design Awards program includes four award subcategories: Community-Informed Design, Creating Community Connections, Excellence in Affordable Housing Design, and the Housing Accessibility — Alan J. Rothman Award.

  • The Community-Informed Design Award honors projects with participatory or community-informed design processes that focus on rebuilding social structures and relationships that have been weakened by disinvestment, outmigration, or the isolation of inner-city areas. Recipients of this award must demonstrate that the project’s design process included and developed positive connections among a diversity of community members, local government officials, designers, and other stakeholders. Although eligible developments must be in low- or mixed-income communities, housing is not a required component of eligible projects.
  • The Creating Community Connections Award acknowledges projects that integrate housing with other community amenities for planned growth or revitalization. Projects receiving this award must be mixed-income and mixed-use developments that include a housing component and serve a diverse community. At least 20 percent of residents must earn incomes at or below 80 percent of area median income (AMI). Design choices throughout the project must also encourage community interaction and support community networks, such as public transportation access.
  • The Excellence in Affordable Housing Design Award recognizes affordable housing developments that respond to the needs of clients and occupants. Only housing developments that are financed through affordable housing programs or that have at least 20 percent of their residents earning incomes at or below 80 percent of AMI are eligible for this award.
  • The Housing Accessibility — Alan J. Rothman Award, named in honor of HUD’s late senior policy analyst who was dedicated to improving housing accessibility for those with disabilities, recognizes projects that incorporate accessible housing for those with ability constraints. Recipients of this award must meet the needs of those with either specific or general disabilities through the use of universal design principles or accessibility features. This award also considers the affordability of the features and techniques used to improve accessibility.

The Opportunity and Empowerment Award

The HUD Secretary’s Opportunity and Empowerment Award recognizes excellence in community planning that has resulted in measurable benefits for low- and moderate-income residents in terms of increased economic development or improved education, employment, or housing choice and mobility. Since 1998, this award has been granted in partnership with the American Planning Association. The Opportunity and Empowerment Award emphasizes efforts that yield tangible results, empower residents, and exemplify how innovative housing, economic development, and private investment can be included within, or complement, a comprehensive community development plan. Community plans, programs, or projects must be in effect for at least three years to be eligible for this award.

The Awards for Healthy Homes

In partnership with the National Environmental Health Association, HUD has issued the HUD Secretary’s Awards for Healthy Homes, the most recently established of the Secretary’s Awards, since 2015. The awards honor policies or activities that are available to low- and moderate-income families and that demonstrate measurable benefits in the health of residents. The Awards for Healthy Homes program consists of three award subcategories: Cross Program Coordination, Policy and Research Innovation, and Public Housing/Multifamily Housing.

  • The Cross Program Coordination Award recognizes coordinated efforts among housing providers; healthcare providers; health insurance providers; nonprofit organizations; advocacy organizations; or county, city, or regional units of government that result in detectable health benefits for residents and are accessible to low- and moderate-income families.
  • The Policy and Research Innovation Award acknowledges policies implemented by healthcare providers; health insurance organizations; postsecondary educational institutions; advocacy organizations; nonprofit organizations; or state, county, city, or regional units of government (including legislative bodies) that yield quantifiable health benefits for residents, including low- and moderate-income families.
  • The Public Housing/Multifamily Housing Award honors policies put in place by multifamily housing owners or managers, public housing agencies, or resident organizations in public or private assisted housing that lead to measurable health benefits for low- and moderate-income families and other residents.

The Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships: Housing and Community Development in Action

Since 2012, the HUD Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships has recognized partnerships that have transformed the relationship among the participating philanthropic and public parties and have resulted in measurable benefits for low- and moderate-income families in terms of increased safety; health; or housing, economic, employment, education, inclusivity, or cultural opportunities. The Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships stresses innovation, sustainability, transferability, strength of the partnership, and place-based results. HUD and the Council on Foundations have jointly honored multiple partnerships involving charitable foundations with this award each year since its inception.

Nominate a Project

Recipients of the HUD Secretary’s Awards are selected through a competitive process. For each award category, HUD issues a call for nominations with submission instructions and due dates. To receive notifications about the HUD Secretary’s Awards as well as to stay current on news from PD&R, subscribe to PD&R Updates.

Learn More About Past Award Recipients

Summaries of previous HUD Secretary’s Award recipients are available on the HUD Secretary's Awards page. Many of the projects honored with HUD Secretary’s Awards are also featured in PD&R’s Case Studies. To find additional information about these projects and other federal, state, and local strategies that increase affordable housing opportunities, apply sustainable features and practices, and increase access to public transportation, explore HUD USER’s Case Studies page.

Source:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2016. “PD&R Mission and Background.” Accessed 3 November 2016; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2016. “HUD Secretary’s Awards.” Accessed 2 November 2016.

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Source:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2016. “HUD Secretary's Housing and Community Design Awards.” Accessed 2 November 2016; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2016. “2017 Housing & Community Design Awards Program.” Accessed 2 November 2016.

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Source:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2016. “HUD Secretary's Opportunity and Empowerment Award.” Accessed 2 November 2016; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research, and the American Planning Association. 2015. “2016 National Planning Excellence Awards: The HUD Secretary's Opportunity & Empowerment Award.” Accessed 2 November 2016.

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Source:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2016. “HUD Secretary's Awards for Healthy Homes.” Accessed 2 November 2016; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2016. “U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Secretary's Award for Healthy Homes 2016.” Accessed 2 November 2016.

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Source:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2016. “Secretary's Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships.” Accessed 2 November 2016; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2016. “The Secretary's Awards for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships: Housing and Community Development in Action.” Accessed 3 November 2016.

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Source:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2016. “HUD Secretary's Awards.” Accessed 2 November 2016; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2016. “U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Secretary's Award for Healthy Homes 2016.” Accessed 2 November 2016; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2016. “The Secretary's Awards for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships: Housing and Community Development in Action.” Accessed 3 November 2016; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2016. “Call for Entries: AIA/HUD Secretary’s 2017 Housing & Community Design Awards.” Accessed 3 November 2016; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2016. “Call for Nominations! Second Annual Secretary's Awards for Healthy Homes.” Accessed 3 November 2016; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2016. “Call for Entries! 2016 HUD Secretary's Opportunity and Empowerment Award.” Accessed 3 November 2016.

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Source:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2016. “HUD Secretary's Awards.” Accessed 2 November 2016; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. 2016. “Case Studies.” Accessed 2 November 2016.

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