Happy New Year – Celebrating Research and Data
Todd M. Richardson, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development.
This year, which marks HUD’s 50th anniversary, has been a terrific one for the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R). In case you haven’t read it yet, the series of papers in HUD at 50: Creating Pathways to Opportunity captures the tremendous breadth of HUD’s role in communities and families’ lives during the past 50 years.
Speaking of time: when we make the case each year for annual appropriations to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and the Congress, we often talk about how it takes 3 to 5 years to see a return on each year’s investment. That is a long time to wait for results, but they are well worth the wait. In 2015, some of the research we promised in 2010 and 2011 was delivered, and these two studies were particularly noteworthy for their long-term policy value:
- The Family Options Study: Short-Term Impacts of Housing and Services Interventions for Homeless Families shows how long-term housing assistance is important not only for addressing family homelessness through stable housing but also for reducing domestic violence, child separations, and food insecurity.
- The Housing Choice Voucher Program Administrative Fee Study: Final Report shows how much it costs public housing agencies to run the Housing Choice Voucher program well and what the key cost drivers are.
Other studies we published in 2015 were our signature Worst Case Housing Needs report, the first-ever national estimates of housing discrimination faced by people in wheelchairs and the hearing impaired, and research on LIHTC Qualified Allocation Plans as well as insights into why owners of multifamily assisted properties opt out of the program, research on financing for multifamily rental properties with less than 50 units, an evaluation of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, American Housing Survey research on housing accessibility, the second edition of Durability by Design, early findings for both Choice Neighborhoods and the Rental Assistance Demonstration, and research on homeless prevention and rapid rehousing.
We also had a long-term return on investment. Twenty years after starting research on the effects on low-income parents and children of moving to a low-poverty neighborhood, the Moving To Opportunity demonstration produced a new finding showing that living in lower-poverty neighborhoods does result in economic opportunity for young people.
PD&R’s research journal Cityscape continues to capture new and exciting research by academics throughout the country on issues critical to housing and urban development. Our three issues in 2015 featured the following topics:
- Housing Discrimination Today. This issue is now my go-to source for important current and historical research on housing discrimination. An added bonus is a terrific article on what happens to those who leave assisted housing.
- Affordable, Accessible, Efficient Communities. This issue explores the connection between where we live and where we go.
- Urban Problems and Spatial Methods. Interesting papers that use geographic information systems and other tools to explore housing and community development issues through a spatial lens.
PD&R’s Evidence Matters, offered three issues in 2015 with thoughtful summaries of the breadth of evidence related to regional planning, Native American housing, and disaster resilience.
Of course, PD&R also generated lots of new data. If you love data, make sure to check out the new eGIS storefront that serves up and geo-enables vast amounts of HUD’s administrative data.
Data and new user tools are also helping us usher in the new year. Over the past few years, PD&R has been working on business rules to ease the process of translating our administrative data and other data into a form that researchers and practitioners can use. In 2016, we have some great data as well as great tools for accessing those data:
- The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Data and Mapping Tool will be available with dozens of tables and maps to help communities analyze their challenges to fair housing choice.
- The Community Assessment Resource Tool brings together administrative data from nearly every HUD program to show the combined contribution HUD makes in each community nationwide, in terms of both dollars and activities. It creates easy-to-read tables at the state, metropolitan area, county, city, and congressional district levels.
- American Housing Survey 2015 data will be released. It is the first year of the new AHS sample.
We will also be delivering more research. Some of the studies we expect to publish in 2016 include why HUD-VASH program participants leave the program, an assessment of Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian housing needs, housing discrimination based on mental disability, and a number of reports on innovative building technology.
So keep an eye on hud.gov and huduser.gov in 2016. We’ve got a lot more coming your way.