The HUD Research Roadmap: 2020 Update (“Roadmap Update”) 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.
HUD is interested in research that will help the Department support underserved communities and advance equity. Examples of potentially useful research include:
- Promote self-sufficiency and economic opportunity – Studies on how best to support economic mobility and wealth-building for HUD-assisted households and close racial gaps in wages, including: providing employment training programs, removing barriers to work, providing credit and financial literacy counseling, removing systemic barriers to enable and encourage moves to high-opportunity areas, and investing in place-based initiatives and anchor institutions.
- Enhance rental assistance – Studies on how to improve the effectiveness of rental assistance for families, streamline administration for PHAs, and increase participation by owners, including owners with accessible units and those in areas of opportunity; how to increase housing choice for assisted renters; how to ensure housing quality; and how to promote long-term housing stability.
- Reduce homelessness – Studies on effective strategies for reducing the length of homeless episodes; addressing youth homelessness; supporting populations who may benefit from specialized services, such as individuals with severe mental illness or substance use disorders; reducing unsheltered homelessness; and ensuring equitable access to homelessness assistance.
- Support sustainable homeownership and financial viability – Studies on initiatives and strategies that increase homeownership and wealth-building opportunities for lower income Americans and underserved communities; close the racial homeownership gap; support wealth-building and reduce risk of default and foreclosure; address financial challenges facing specific populations (e.g., people of color, students, individuals with disabilities, and older adults); and reform and modernize housing finance systems.
- Control of lead hazards and other hazards in homes under the Healthy Homes Initiative – 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 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 is only available annually through HUD’s Lead Technical Studies Grant Program (Assistance Listing No. 14.902).
- 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 need for several of these issues is evaluation of the incorporation of practices, shown to be effective in research settings, into programmatic and 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 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).
- Provide effective and equitable disaster recovery – Studies on assessing the risk posed by disasters to HUD’s assisted housing stock and insured mortgage portfolio; the extent of disparities in receipt, amounts, and priority of assistance based on race, national origin, disability, and other protected characteristics, and what policy changes could reduce these disparities; increasing the effectiveness of disaster assistance for homeowners, renters, low-income, and minority communities; speeding up the delivery of disaster recovery funds to communities and property owners; and 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.
- Opportunity Zones – Studies on how opportunity zones are being used to revitalize low-income communities; research on local efforts to streamline, coordinate, and target existing Federal programs to Opportunity Zones; evaluations of what impact the investments have on existing businesses and residents; the extent to which Opportunity Zones have, and will continue to have, adequate affordable housing; and the impact of Opportunity Zones on racial and other minority groups — for example, whether Opportunity Zones affect segregation, whether designation as an Opportunity Zones results in gentrification and the extent to which preexisting residents benefit from Opportunity Zone investments.
- Reduce barriers to affordable housing, including land use and zoning policies – 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; evaluations of how recent changes to such policies are impacting the cost, availability, and siting of affordable housing; and studies of strategies to increase the affordable housing supply, for example in areas of opportunity that are not minority concentrated, with access to high quality schools and employment opportunity and for underserved populations.
- Fair Housing Act – Research how recipients of federal funds can better affirmatively further the purposes of the Fair Housing Act. Examples of research activities include: 1) identifying jurisdictions across the nation that face high levels of racial segregation (including historically segregated areas as well as recently segregating areas); and 2) addressing the siting of assisted housing (including LIHTC-assisted housing) and its impact on access to opportunity for low income and minority families.
- Equity and impact of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) – studies on the effect of RAD conversion on tenants, including whether RAD conversions have resulted in tenants living in less segregated areas, areas of greater opportunity, and in more accessible housing; the impact of RAD on members of protected classes (including race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability), and whether disparate outcomes based on protected class exist in terms of remaining in their existing unit, moving to a different project-based location, or moving using a tenant-based voucher.
- Accessibility in the HCV program -- studies on best practices for PHAs to consider in recruiting HCV landlords with accessible units, best practices for outreach methods to make the availability of accessible units known to households with tenant-based vouchers searching for accessible housing options in their communities and identifying barriers for households with tenant-based vouchers searching for units with accessibility features.
- Climate Resilience, Environmental Justice, and Energy Efficiency Across the Housing Sector – Conduct research on housing construction technology, building codes, land use planning, cost effectiveness, and related best practices that expand energy-efficient and climate-resilient housing options in public and assisted housing which often have a significant share of low- and moderate-income households and people of color, are often more vulnerable to climate change due to their locations, aging infrastructure, and historic disinvestment.