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HUD is interested in research that will help the Department support underserved communities and advance equity. Research priorities include:

  1. Support Underserved Communities – Areas of interest include: a) studies on how best to support economic mobility and wealth-building for HUD-assisted households, including closing wage, credit, and opportunity gaps related to race, national origin, disability, gender, and other protected classes; b) studies on effective strategies for reducing the prevalence and length of homeless episodes; addressing youth, veteran, and formerly incarcerated person homelessness; supporting populations who may benefit from specialized services, such as individuals with severe mental illness, substance use disorders, or other physical and/or mental disabilities; reducing unsheltered homelessness; and ensuring equitable access to homelessness assistance; and c) studies on how segregation and areas of minority concentration should be defined so that HUD, local and state governments, and housing developers can best work toward ensuring that housing is located in non-segregated areas of opportunity.

  2. Ensure Access to and Increase the Production of Affordable Housing – Areas of interest include: a) studies on how to improve the effectiveness of rental assistance for families of different configurations, sizes, and needs; how to increase participation by private sector owners, including owners with accessible units and those in well-resourced areas of opportunity; how to increase housing choice and geographic mobility for assisted renters; particularly for racial minorities and other protected classes; how to decrease racial segregation; how to ensure housing quality and accessibility; and how to promote long-term housing stability; b) studies related to the identification of barriers to affordable and inclusive housing; studies that explore how local, state, and federal policies affect the cost, availability, and equity of housing for low-income renters and first-time homebuyers; and studies of strategies to increase the affordable housing supply, for example in well-resourced areas of opportunity that are not minority concentrated, with access to high quality schools and employment opportunity and for underserved populations; c) research on how recipients of federal funds can better affirmatively further fair housing as required by the Fair Housing Act; d) studies related to the equity and impact of conversion, preservation, and replacement housing programs, such as the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD); and e) studies on the types of best practices Public Housing Agencies can implement when recruiting HCV landlords of accessible units such as improving outreach methods to make accessible HCV units better known to households with tenant-based vouchers and identifying and removing barriers for households with tenant-based vouchers in search of units with accessibility features.

  3. Promote Homeownership – Areas of interest include: a) studies on initiatives and strategies that increase homeownership and wealth-building opportunities for lower income Americans and underserved communities, that close the racial homeownership gap, that support wealth-building and reduce risk of default and foreclosure, and/or that address financial challenges facing specific populations (e.g., people of color, students, individuals with disabilities, individuals with criminal histories, and older adults); and b) research on opportunities to reform and modernize housing finance systems.

  4. Advance Sustainable and Equitable Communities – Areas of interest include: a) studies that expand energy-efficient and climate-resilient housing options in public and assisted housing, which serves primarily very low-income households and large shares of people of color, yet is often more vulnerable to climate change due to locations, aging infrastructure, and historic disinvestment; b) studies on assessing the risk posed by disasters to HUD’s assisted housing stock and insured mortgage portfolio, historically underserved populations, and socially vulnerable populations; on the extent of disparities in administration, receipt, amounts, and priority of assistance based on race, national origin, disability, and other protected characteristics, and on what policy changes could reduce these disparities; on increasing the effectiveness of disaster assistance for homeowners, renters, low-income, and minority communities; c) studies on building capacity to enhance the resilience of communities and homes to mitigate the risk and effects of disasters, pestilence, energy shocks, and public health emergencies; and d) studies on environmental justice, including whether protected classes experience disproportionate hazards, health risks, and substandard housing; and what policy changes could reduce these disparities.

  5. In addition, HUD's Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes has identified the following research priorities related to the control of lead hazards and other hazards in homes under the Healthy Homes Initiative:

  6. Lead Hazards – Research into lead health hazards other than lead-based paint hazards (i.e., lead in deteriorated paint, dust, and soil) and strategies to mitigate or eliminate them (Note: this includes evaluation of the impact of policies), except as provided in the last sentence of this paragraph. HUD is interested in supporting novel research on the identification and control of lead exposures from residential drinking water; the evaluation and control of residential lead exposures from legacy industrial emissions and wastes (e.g., near Superfund and state-equivalently-designated sites); factors inhibiting, and effective low-cost methods of increasing, blood lead screening and testing rates among young children in public and other HUD-assisted housing in high-risk states or communities; and modeling of geographic, socioeconomic, and other distributions of factors correlated with high risk of increased blood lead levels in children and subsequent validation of models. Funding for research on other lead safety topics other than those identified above, namely, on the identification and control of residential lead-based paint hazards are only available annually through HUD’s Lead Technical Studies Grant Program (Assistance Listing No. 14.902).

  7. Other Hazards – HUD’s healthy homes program includes assessing and controlling key residential health and safety hazards. These conditions include pest infestation, mold and excess moisture, indoor air contaminants such as radon and secondhand tobacco smoke, and injury hazards. An important area of research needs for several of these issues is evaluation of the incorporation of practices, shown to be effective in research settings, into programmatic and residential building management practices. HUD is also interested in the potential benefits of management practices and requirements such as smoke-free housing policies and integrated pest management (or combinations of these practices) for the health of residents (e.g., residents with asthma, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), etc.). Evaluation of programs or demonstrations in which healthcare payers (e.g., managed care organizations) or providers support home assessment and mitigation of housing-related health and safety hazards is also an area of interest to HUD. Funding for research on residential health and safety issues is also available annually through HUD’s Healthy Homes Technical Studies Grant Program (Assistance Listing No. 14.906).