The documents that establish a framework for HUD’s research priorities are the HUD Strategic Plan 2018–2022, which specifies the Department’s mission and strategic goals for program activities; and the HUD Research Roadmap: 2017 Update, which is the most recent integration of diverse stakeholder viewpoints into a five-year research and learning agenda. PD&R developed and published this research agenda to focus research resources on timely, policy-relevant research questions that lie within the Department’s area of comparative advantage. This focus on comparative advantage means that PD&R also needs to collaborate with other research organizations in areas that are mutually important. The Roadmap Update identifies a number of focus areas for research projects that PD&R is considering for the near future, and the goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan reflect the latest strategic direction of the Department and also describe the current evidence base undergirding those goals. The HUD Strategic Plan 2018–2022 establishes the overarching goal of Rethinking American Communities. Our communities need to be the foundation for America’s success. HUD is interested in research that will help the Department serve as a catalyst in the revitalization of our communities. Under each objective are examples of potentially useful research:
- Promote economic opportunity – studies on effective and efficient ways to deliver services: improve HUD’s Section 3 and other programs that incentivize mobility and enable achievement of economic self-sufficiency for HUD-subsidized tenants; improve and innovate self-sufficiency programs; and the impact of place-based initiatives and anchor institutions.
- Enhance rental assistance – studies on how to best simplify and streamline rental assistance for PHAs, residents and owners; studies on incentives and barriers to work and program exit.
- Reduce the average length of homelessness – studies on effective strategies for challenged populations, areas with high unsheltered populations, and rural areas.
- Support sustainable homeownership and financial viability – studies on initiatives that promote sustainable homeownership, strengthen housing programs, and reform and modernize housing finance systems.
- Remove lead hazards from homes – research into existing and emerging lead health hazards and strategies to mitigate or eliminate them. The research must not focus on the prevalence, evaluation, or control of lead exposures from lead in paint, dust, or soil (because that research is covered by a separate statutory authority than the one that authorizes this Notice).
- Examples of lead research under this objective include the prevalence, evaluation, or housing-based control of lead exposures from residential water, industrial emissions and wastes (e.g., at Superfund and state-equivalently-designated sites), or lead in housing products used in rehabilitation; factors inhibiting, and effective low-cost methods of increasing, blood lead screening and testing rates among young children in public housing in high-risk states or communities; factors inhibiting, and effective low-cost methods of increasing, availability of certified lead professionals and firms in high-risk states or communities; and, modeling of the geographic, socioeconomic and other distributions of factors correlated with high expected risk of increased blood lead levels in children.
- Provide effective disaster recovery – Although not articulated as a strategic objective under Rethinking American Communities, HUD’s growing role in disaster recovery creates an additional need for research into ideas to more quickly deliver disaster recovery funds to communities and property owners, and to enhance the resilience of communities and homes to mitigate the risk and effects of disasters, pestilence, and energy shocks.
- Opportunity Zones – Studies on how opportunity zones are being used to revitalize low-income communities, including research on local efforts to streamline, coordinate, and target existing Federal programs to Opportunity Zones as well as research on how the existing businesses and residents of affected communities are impacted by the investments.
- Reduce Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing – Studies that explore how local, state, and federal policies impact the cost and availability of housing for low-income renters and first time homebuyers as well as evaluations of how recent changes to such policies are impacting the cost and availability of housing.