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Happy New Year 2021

Message From PD&R Senior Leadership
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Happy New Year 2021

Image of Todd M. Richardson, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research.Todd M. Richardson, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research.

It is 2021, and this month brings a change in Administration.

For this post, I want to mostly look forward on what to expect from PD&R in 2021 while also looking backward briefly at 2019 and 2020.

First, the quick look backward. Since 2011, PD&R has published “biennial reports” that provide a look back on what PD&R has done in the preceding two fiscal years. We have set up a new landing page on HUD User for all of those reports:

Included among them is the FY 2019–20 biennial report that reports on PD&R’s most recent year accomplishments and, importantly, the ongoing work of PD&R. Our “hook” for the 2019–20 biennial report is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of HUD’s authorizing legislation to do research. The authority is in Title V of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1970, signed by the President on December 31, 1970.

Section 501 of the Act says: “The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is authorized and directed to undertake such programs of research, studies, testing, and demonstration relating to the mission and programs of the Department as he determines to be necessary and appropriate....”

This same law also authorized the Experimental Housing Allowance Program (EHAP) which served as a demonstration of tenant-based rental assistance that eventually became what we now call the Housing Choice Voucher program, our largest subsidy program for very low-income rental families. And since it began as a research demonstration, it is perhaps our most studied program.

Looking forward.

There remain some procurements we are still working on with FY 2020 appropriated funds that won’t get started until this year. Look back to our note from last year to see those projects.

New for Fiscal Year 2021, are:

  • PD&R had an increase to its Salaries and Expenses budget to support staffing for a new Office of the Chief Data Officer, a requirement of Title II of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act. This will likely also involve a procurement for contract support.
  • Funding of $105 million in the Research and Technology account, which is an increase from FY 2020 funding of $98 million.
    • $59,050,000 for core research and technology including:
      • [not less than $53 million for] market surveys, research support and dissemination, data acquisition, housing finance studies, research partnerships, and housing technology,
      • up to $500,000 for innovation activities, and
      • up to $5,550,000 for cooperative agreements and research partnerships with historically black colleges and universities.
    • $32.8 million for Technical Assistance, including
      • $26 million for base Technical Assistance,
      • $6.8 million for Distressed Cities Technical Assistance.
    • $13.5 million for Research and evaluation, including
      • Moving to Work (MTW) program expansion;
      • HUD's supportive services demonstration (IWISH);
      • pay-for-success permanent supportive housing partnership between HUD and the U.S. Department of Justice;
      • followup evaluation of the first-time homebuyer education and counseling demonstration;
      • a feasibility study of the creation of an eviction database;
      • a collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to better prioritize or promote onsite childcare supportive services for HUD-assisted families;
      • a qualitative study of how publicly available data on rental property health and safety violations impact landlord and renter behavior;
      • a study on the effectiveness of disaster recovery funding;
      • a study on Section 8 voucher success rates; and
      • a review of the existing federal tools to preserve and develop affordable housing.

Some of these may be executed through contract procurements, others through cooperative agreements via NOFA, and some may be done in-house. Keep a look out.

The change in Administration will inevitably lead to other activities/initiatives from PD&R. Keep a look out on this column to find out what is next.

Happy New Year.

Published Date: 11 January 2021

The contents of this article are the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or the U.S. Government.