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HUD’s New Research Awards in 2020

A map of the locations of OREM’s 2020 Research Awardees.Figure 1. Location of OREM’s 2020 Research Awardees

In this column, HUD's Jacquie Bachand discusses research awards made by PD&R’s Office of Research Evaluation and Monitoring in 2020.

It is the mission of HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) to provide reliable and objective housing research and market data for its constituents — housing and community development researchers, academics, policymakers, and the American public. One of the ways that PD&R fulfills this mission is by awarding financial support for research projects on timely, relevant housing and community development topics. This year, PD&R issued Notices of Funding Availability (NOFAs) in three research areas — cooperative research in housing technologies, estimating the prevalence and probability of homeless youth, and the impact of the Rental Assistance Demonstration on children in HUD-assisted households — as introduced by general assistant deputy secretary Todd Richardson in his June Message from PD&R Leadership. A fourth NOFA invited research proposals examining long-term outcomes for households following exit from HUD-assisted housing.

PD&R’s Office of Research Evaluation and Monitoring (OREM) made 13 research awards, totaling $5.1 million, in 2020. Awards were made to research institutions and universities across the United States (figure 1).

Cooperative Research in Housing Technologies
OREM made six awards for the Cooperative Research in Housing Technologies NOFA totaling $2 million. This NOFA reflected HUD’s interest in fostering innovation in construction products and practices that can lead to greater affordability, resilience, health, and energy efficiency.

University of California, Berkeley
Project Title: Leveraging Modular Construction with Integrated Hot Water to Increase Efficiency and Reduce Cost
Award Period: September 2020 to September 2022

Abstract: This study involves an analysis of the potential for integrated hot water systems, in particular, due to the high proportion of typical building energy usage associated with water and space heating. This research collaboration between the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley, SmithGroup, and Factory OS will assess the advantages and challenges to combining such systems with modular construction practices, with the goal of optimizing cost efficiency, quality installation, and performance of this major energy saving technique to encourage further adoption.

System Building Research Alliance
Project Title: Improving the Quality, Performance, and Operation of Manufactured Home HVAC Systems through Plant Installation
Award Period: September 2020 to September 2022

Abstract: The project’s goal is to reimagine and re-engineer the design and fabrication of the HVAC system in manufactured housing with all components installed in the plant under HUD’s quality control regime. Changing a deeply ingrained, inherently flawed practice requires system reengineering supported by changes in production, home delivery, and installation methods. To move the market, the technical innovations will need to be pulled through by new approaches to HVAC system marketing, sales, and service practices. In short, the proposed effort is designed to improve HVAC efficacy by taking an integrated and multidisciplinary approach, led by an accomplished team of engineering experts and market professionals, and guided by the key stakeholders in the manufactured housing space. System Building Research Alliance will partner with The Levy Partnership and the Electric Power Research Institute.

Home Innovation Research Labs
Project Title: 3D Printed Walls: Identifying Best Practices for Residential Building Product System Integration and Conducting Market Barriers Research
Award Period: September 2020 to September 2022

Abstract: Home Innovation will partner with ICON, a leading 3D Concrete Printing (3DCP) company, and the American Concrete Institute’s subcommittee on 3DCP to evaluate wall system components including windows and doors (i.e., flashing/sealing details), wall penetration methods for installing utilities (i.e., water and electrical), and wall connections between the roof and foundation. In addition, Home Innovation will conduct qualitative research among home builders and contractors at the jobsite and through a national survey to understand the challenges and opportunities to accelerate the adoption of 3DCP.

Louisiana State University
Project Title: Resilient Homes meet Resilient Power Systems-Optimizing Factory-installed Solar plus Storage
Award Period: September 2020 to September 2022

Abstract: Factory-installed solar plus storage (FISS) is a promising new way of incorporating the resiliency benefits of solar plus storage at the residential level. The resilient home of the future will include all electric systems, structural features that enhance durability and energy efficiency, and solar plus storage to create a resilient power system. Such a home will be better able to withstand natural and man-made events, and the power system will ensure that residents are able to maintain healthy living conditions even during extended power outages. This project will show that, by incorporating FISS in the factory building process for zero energy homes, it is possible to manufacture affordable, efficient, and resilient homes at scale. Louisiana State University will partner with Vermont Energy Investment Corporation and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station
Project Title: Cooperative Research to Enable 3D Printed Concrete Single-/Multi-Family Housing Technologies
Award Period: September 2020 to September 2022

Abstract: The objectives of this project are to: (1) demonstrate, document and validate a rational design procedure for 3D concrete printing residential construction, accounting for seismic loads; and (2) develop, in coordination with a stakeholder-based Peer Review Panel, a “Best Practices document” to serve as a U.S. code proposal that can be adopted by local jurisdictions and national-level provisions and design codes. This project will include large-scale testing of 3D concrete printed walls with and without integrated reinforced concrete elements, development of design capacity equations, and a comprehensive seismic collapse assessment study of a set of 3D printed archetype buildings in order to demonstrate their margin against seismic collapse.

Oklahoma State University
Project Title: Resilient Analysis and Design of Slab-on-Ground Foundations on Expansive Soil
Award Period: September 2020 to September 2022

Abstract: This project will attempt to develop an essential module (or component) in the form of a flow chart or computer program subroutine considering the current state-of-the-art knowledge and recent developments of slab-on-ground foundations. The anticipated result will be a more rational and practical analysis and design approach for modeling the interface between the swelling/shrinking ground surface and the foundation slab. The research will produce an analytical protocol and a finite element code that can be adopted by various design codes that are in use in the United States.

Estimating the Prevalence of Youth Homelessness
OREM made three awards for the Estimating the Prevalence of Youth Homelessness NOFA totaling $2 million. This NOFA invited research proposals that used existing sources of administrative data such as child welfare agencies to help estimate the prevalence of homeless youth. The research aims to more fully develop methods for estimating and predicting the number of youth experiencing homelessness in accordance with the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.

Case Western Reserve University
Project Title: Leveraging Integrated Data to Examine Youth Homelessness
Award Period: September 2020 to September 2023

Abstract: This study will estimate youth homelessness within the Cleveland, Ohio area by linking administrative data from an existing regional integrated data system and will seek to link new data from community partners that serve homeless youth. The existing regional integrated database contains data from 35 entities including the Department of Children and Family Services, 13 public school districts, a public housing authority, juvenile court and adult jail, a food bank, and state vital statistics. The study will seek new data from a by-name homeless youth listing, McKinney-Vento Act services records, nonprofit homeless agency records, and hospital emergency records.

Chapin Hall Center for Children
Project Title: Youth Homelessness Data Solutions Project
Award Period: October 2020 to October 2023

Abstract: This study will estimate youth homelessness within the Midlands/Columbia Continuum of Care (CoC) — 13-county region within South Carolina — by mapping and inventorying data from various entities that serve homeless youth, then matching the data with the CoC’s robust Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). Sources of data that will be matched with HMIS include child welfare, education, and juvenile justice entities. Two additional CoCs, the Austin/Travis County CoC and the New York City CoC, will map and inventory administrative data within their CoCs. All three CoCs will be invited to participate and share insights of their work in a virtual Youth Homelessness Data Consortium.

Center for Policy Research
Project Title: Building a Sustainable and Replicable Approach to Estimate Youth Homelessness through the Linked Information Network of Colorado (LINC)
Award Period: September 2020 to September 2023

Abstract: This study will estimate youth homelessness by first linking administrative data within the Denver Colorado area, then applying insights learned to estimate youth homelessness in a broader geographic area within Colorado (location will be selected during the second phase of the study). The study will link data using a statewide data hub called the Linked Information Network of Colorado (LINC). LINC includes several data sources that serve homeless youth, including housing, education, juvenile justice, child welfare, food assistance, healthcare, and employment entities. The study will also use the linked data to further understand the experiences and characteristics of older adult youth who experience homelessness.

Examining Long-term Outcomes Following Exit from HUD-Assisted Households
OREM made two awards for the Examining Long-term Outcomes Following Exit from HUD-Assisted Housing NOFA. Approximately $318,400 was awarded for both projects. This NOFA aimed to begin filling a research gap concerning what happens to households after they leave HUD-assisted housing and how such outcomes relate to the type of exit — positive or negative.

University of California, Berkeley
Project Title: Where do Housing Assistance Leavers Go? Examining the Housing and Neighborhood Trajectories for Former HUD-Assisted Households with Children
Award Period: September 2020 to September 2022

Abstract: The study will examine housing trajectories of family households with children who leave HUD-assisted housing, specifically focusing on housing tenure, housing stability, and neighborhood attainment. Using HUD administrative data linked with annual residential address and tenure data from Infogroup, the researcher will answer the following three research questions: 1) What are factors that influence the probability that a family transitions into sustainable homeownership? 2) Does an exit from HUD-subsidized housing lead to subsequent housing instability, and which types of households experience higher rates of residential moves? 3) How does leaving HUD-assisted housing influence neighborhood attainment? The study will be restricted to exited HUD-assisted households with children in 14 U.S. counties.

Seattle-King County Department of Public Health
Project Title: Housing and Urban Development Health, Economic and Residential Stability (HUD HEARS) Study
Award Period: September 2020 to September 2022

Abstract: Using HUD administrative data linked with eight secondary data sources (e.g., American Community Survey data, Employment Security Division data, U.S. Postal Service Change of Address data, Homeless Management Information System data, Medicaid/Medicare claims data), researchers will examine three complementary, interrelated research questions: 1) What constitutes a positive or negative exit from HUD-assisted housing? 2) What factors are associated with HUD exit type? 3) Is a positive exit associated with better post-exit outcomes than a negative exit? The study will be limited to households in the Seattle/King County area and will leverage Data Cross Sectors for Housing and Health (DASHH), a successful five-year housing and health collaborative between Public Health ─ Seattle & King County (PHSKC), King County Housing Authority (KCHA), and Seattle Housing Authority that is designed to provide public housing authorities with information about the healthcare utilization in their populations.

Impact of RAD on Children in HUD-Assisted Households
Two awards were made for the Impact of RAD on Children in HUD-Assisted Households NOFA. A total of $750,000 was awarded. HUD is interested in evaluating many aspects of RAD and this NOFA sought to expand research on the well-being of children in RAD-converted properties. The goal was to support research projects that will produce policy-relevant evidence on RAD implementation and outcomes for children.

New York University Furman Center
Project Title: Impact of RAD on Children in HUD-Assisted Households
Award Period: September 2020 to October 2023

Abstract: The study will examine the impact of RAD conversions on children’s residential mobility, health, and well-being. The study will examine the universe of 36 public housing developments that have converted through RAD in the state of New York. Using state Medicaid claims data, state-wide eviction data, and HUD data, the study will use a quasi-experimental design approach to examine the impact of RAD conversation on resident mobility rates and patterns, evictions, five specific health-sensitive conditions (asthma, respiratory infections, allergies, injuries, and anxiety/depression), a composite index of housing-sensitive conditions, and emergency department visits and hospitalizations.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Project Title: Understanding the Impact of RAD on Children in HUD-Assisted Households
Award Period: September 2020 to October 2023

Abstract: The study will examine outcomes and experiences of RAD conversion for families and children. The evaluation will use a mixed-method research approach implemented in three phases. Phase I will use HUD administrative data to identify and track families with children in RAD properties and compare them to families in non-RAD sites identified through propensity score matching. Phase II will randomly sample 30 RAD sites and 10 non-RAD comparison sites. Families with children will be invited to complete a self-report mail survey (N=700). The survey will capture child and adult health, children’s outcomes, and perceptions of the physical environment and assess whether outcomes vary based on the extent of rehabilitation. Phase III will use semi-structured, qualitative interviews (N=70) to look deeper at impact, experience, and child outcomes for these families. The sample will include current and former RAD families.