2022 Federal Index

U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development


Did the agency have senior staff members with the authority, staff, and budget to build and use evidence to inform the agency’s major policy and program decisions in FY22?

1.1 Did the agency have a senior leader with the budget and staff to serve as the agency’s Evaluation Officer (or equivalent) (example: Evidence Act 313)?
  • The general deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Policy Development & Research (PD&R) serves as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) evaluation officer. HUD’s PD&R, led by an assistant secretary and the career general deputy assistant secretary, comprises six offices, 177 staff including a team of field economists in HUD’s ten regional offices, and a budget of $105,000,000 in FY22. The deputy assistant secretary and evaluation officer ensures that evidence informs policy development through frequent personal engagement with other principal staff, the secretary, and external policy officials including consultation with Congress, speeches to policy audiences, sponsorship of public research briefings, and policy implications memoranda.
1.2 Did the agency have a senior leader with the budget and staff to serve as the agency’s chief data officer or equivalent [example: Evidence Act 202(e)]?
  • A senior career staff member in the PD&R serves as the acting chief data officer for HUD. The FY21 appropriations provided funding to staff the Office of the Chief Data Officer (OCDO) with 13 employees. The OCDO is responsible for agency-wide data management, including establishing the data governance structure, constructing data inventory, enhancing privacy protections, and opening data to the public.
  • Additionally, the PD&R deputy assistant secretary for economic affairs within the Office of Policy Development and Research serves as a statistical official. The statistical official oversees HUD survey results and supports OCDO in developing the data asset catalog and implementing data policy. The two senior leaders are responsible for numerous data infrastructure functions such as collecting and analyzing national housing market data (including survey collaborations with the Census Bureau); developing income limits and factors to support program operations; advising and assisting program offices with the development and analysis of administrative data collections; and supporting data linkages and developing open data products from administrative data, including geospatial data products that are crucial for addressing housing and urban development policy challenges.
1.3 Did the agency have a governance structure to coordinate the activities of its evaluation officer, chief data officer, statistical officer, performance improvement officer, and other related officials in order to support Evidence Act implementation and improve the agency’s major programs?
  • As a central office to support the department with policy-relevant information and research since its establishment in 1973, PD&R continues to lead HUD’s full implementation of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act. All three of the key leadership positions required by the Evidence Act —the evaluation officer, chief data officer, and statistical official—are held by members of the PD&R staff. Staff of PD&R have engaged and coordinated its evidence-building efforts required by Evidence Act, which include developing HUD’s Annual Evaluation Plan, agency-wide Capacity Assessment, and Learning Agenda. In the Learning Agenda for FY22-26, HUD has focused on aligning research and evaluation plans with its strategic goals and integrating equity elements into all agency-wide work. In developing its evidence-building publications, PD&R has actively engaged the academic community, practitioners, and policymakers for input and support.
Evaluation & Research

Did the agency have an evaluation policy, evaluation plan, and learning agenda (evidence building plan) and did it publicly release the findings of all completed program evaluations in FY22?

2.1 Did the agency have an agency-wide evaluation policy [Example: Evidence Act 313(d)]?
  • In 2016, HUD published a Program Evaluation Policy in which it established core principles and practices of PD&R’s evaluation and research activities. Rigor, relevance, transparency, independence, ethics, and technical innovation are set as core values and the policy applies to all evaluations and import analyses supported by HUD.
  • In August 2021, PD&R updated the 2016 Program Evaluation Policy to address issues that have arisen since 2016 as well as stakeholder input received via a town hall that PD&R hosted discussing its experience with sponsoring and publishing evaluations. Specifically, the new HUD Program Evaluation Policy enhances the transparency of evaluation results by publishing interim results, utilizes more data sharing licenses, and ensures data privacy requirements. Further, the updates also include HUD’s focus on additional analysis relevant to underserved and underrepresented groups. That is, HUD’s update demonstrated its agency-wide evaluation policy that aligns with rigorous analysis and weighs on diversity and inclusion.
2.2 Did the agency have an agency-wide evaluation plan [Example: Evidence Act 312(b)]?
  • HUD published its FY23 Annual Evaluation Plan (AEP) in March 2022 as an annual update to its 2022 Evaluation Plan. The FY23 AEP includes new evaluation activities to be started in FY23 and ongoing evaluation activities. It focuses on presenting not all but selected significant evaluation activities that satisfy the criteria of (1) addressing pressing questions (topical relevance), (2) requiring substantial planning and cooperation (coordination), and (3) having secured funding from appropriations in a prior year or using dedicated in-house resources (commitment of resources). As guided by the Evidence Act, HUD’s Annual Evaluation Plan aligns with the goals identified in the department’s FY22-26 Strategic Plan. The department’s annual performance reports (FY23 Annual Performance Plans, FY21 Annual Performance Reports) provide specific information on agencies’ program milestones.
2.3 Did the agency have a learning agenda (evidence building plan) and did the learning agenda describe the agency’s process for engaging stakeholders including but not limited to the general public, state and local governments, and researchers/academics in the development of that agenda (example: Evidence Act 312)?
  • Since 2014, HUD has actively invested in developing and publishing the Research Roadmap, which worked as an integrated document for composing research questions and an evidence-building plan. With the enactment of the Evidence Act, HUD published FY22-26 Learning Agenda, which replaced the research planning part of the Research Roadmap. Stakeholder engagement is a key to HUD’s learning agenda development process. Stakeholders include program partners in state and local governments and the private sector, researchers and academics, policy officials; and members of the general public who frequently access the HUDuser.gov portal. Outreach mechanisms for Roadmap development include email, web forums, conferences and webcasts, and targeted listening sessions. Appendix A of the recent Learning Agenda discloses the process of compiling ideas and organizing research questions in detail.
  • Furthermore, in response to the executive order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities (Executive Order 13985), HUD has formed an Equity Leadership Committee comprising staff and an Equity Working Group with participation of the various HUD offices. To ensure equity is integrated into the department’s work, HUD’s Equity Action Plan has prioritized stakeholder engagement as an area for immediate analysis by all program offices. The equity assessment seeks to identify and utilize the lived and professional knowledge knowledge- of stakeholders who have been historically underrepresented in the federal government and underserved by or subject to discrimination in federal policies and programs. Findings from this assessment will further inform HUD’s long-term “equity transformation,” which aims to sustainably embed and improve equity throughout all of HUD’s work. The department’s long-term Equity Action Plan was released in April 2022, demonstrating commitment to stakeholder engagement in developing agendas.
2.4 Did the agency publicly release all completed program evaluations?
  • The Program Evaluation Policy of the Office of Policy Development and Research requires timely publishing and dissemination of all evaluations that meet standards of methodological rigor. Completed evaluations and research reports are posted on PD&R’s website, HUDUSER.gov. Additionally, the policy includes language in research and evaluation contracts that allows researchers to independently publish results, even without HUD approval, after not more than six months. HUD’s publicly released program evaluations typically include data and results disaggregated by race, ethnicity, and gender, where the data permit such disaggregation. For example, in 2020 HUD expanded the detail of race and ethnicity breakouts in the Worst Case Housing Needs reports to Congress to the full extent permitted by the data. Executive summaries will highlight disparate impacts if they are found to be statistically significant; otherwise, such findings may be found in the main body of the report or its appendices.
  • The Office of PD&R is in the process of reorganizing HUD published research and enhancing its search capabilities on HUDUSER.gov. These steps are being implemented to enhance the usability of HUD’s research resources for researchers, policymakers, and the general public.
2.5 Did the agency conduct an Evidence Capacity Assessment that addressed the coverage, quality, methods, effectiveness, and independence of the agency’s evaluation, research, and analysis efforts [example: Evidence Act 315, subchapter II (c)(3)(9)]?
  • The Office of Policy Development and Research is HUD’s independent evaluation office, with a scope spanning all the department’s program operations. In March 2022, PD&R published the HUD Capacity Assessment for Research, Evaluation, Statistics and Analysis.  As required by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the assessment applies five criteria (coverage, quality, methods, effectiveness, and independence) to assess four evidence categories (statistics, evaluation, research, and analysis). The assessment is a collaborative output based on extensive inputs from multiple perspectives and personnel with hands-on experience in HUD’s programs. For each criterion, the report notes keywords considered for assessment (e.g., for Coverage criterion, the assessment reflects on whether HUD programs meet the expected level of comprehensiveness, appropriateness, and targeting). The assessment utilized the National Research Council’s review on HUD’s capacity development conducted in 2008 as an external source for reference. Survey results from HUD senior managers and federal managers of the Government Accountability Office were also used as additional data points to support the internal assessment.
2.6 Did the agency use rigorous evaluation methods, including random assignment studies, for research and evaluation purposes?

Did the agency invest at least 1% of program funds in evaluations in FY22 (examples: Impact studies; implementation studies; rapid cycle evaluations; evaluation technical assistance, rigorous evaluations, including random assignments)?

3.1 ____ invested $____ on evaluations, evaluation technical assistance, and evaluation capacity-building, representing __% of the agency’s $___ billion FY22 budget.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development invested $125,000,000 for the Office of Policy Development and Research to carry out advancements in research and technology, representing .21% of the agency’s $60,400,000,000 FY22 budget.
3.2 Did the agency have a budget for evaluation and how much was it (were there any changes in this budget from the previous fiscal year)?
  • For FY22, Congress appropriated $125,000,000 for the PD&R’s research and technology account. This represents an increase of $20,000,000 from FY21, reflecting Congressional support for the value of PD&R’s research, evaluations, and demonstrations. This funding includes $59,000,000 for core research activities; $13,000,000 for experimental research, evaluations of current research, and other policy-related research; and $33,000,000 for technical assistance. The funding for core research is used primarily for the American Housing Survey, other surveys, data acquisition, and research dissemination that support evaluation of HUD’s mission activities in domains such as affordable housing and house finance. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, funding for core research is also being used to develop a new National Eviction Database, and PD&R also maintains $20,000,000 for funding of competitive grants providing nonprofit organizations and government entities with legal assistance to prevent unlawful evictions. The department also saw an increase of $4,000,000 in the FY22 budget for the chief information officer, thus increasing the agency’s overall capacity for research and evaluation.
3.3 Did the agency provide financial and other resources to help city, county, and state governments or other grantees build their evaluation capacity (including technical assistance funds for data and evidence capacity building)?
  • For FY20 and FY21, HUD made available $91,000,000 in technical assistance funds to equip the department’s program partners with the knowledge, skills, tools, capacity, and systems to implement HUD programs and policies successfully and to provide effective oversight of federal funding. State and local governments and authorities are among the eligible recipients of technical assistance. Community Compass integrates technical assistance funding from four major HUD program areas to better reflect the cross-cutting nature of housing and community development challenges. Eligible technical assistance activities include training and tool development to help program partners improve program management, evaluation, and performance measurement. The Community Compass program itself has an increased evidence-based focus for FY20 and FY21.
  • The department operates a Section 4 capacity building grant program that in FY22 provides $41,000,000 for national intermediaries, including $10,000,000 for rural needs to build capacity for functions including assessing needs, planning programs, and evaluation.
  • Its CDBG program, which provides formula grants to entitlement jurisdictions, increases local evaluation capacity. Specifically, federal regulations (24 CFR570.200) authorize CDBG recipients (including city and state governments) to use up to 20% of their CDBG allocations for administration and planning costs that may include evaluation-capacity building efforts and evaluations of their CDBG-funded interventions (as defined in 570.205 and 570.206). In FY22 HUD is allocating $3,300,000,000to the CDBG program.
  • Through its Research Partnerships program, HUD offers grants to support research that addresses current research priorities. The department is especially interested in increasing participation of minority serving institutions of higher education and historically Black colleges and universities in this program. The FY22 Notice of Funding Opportunity notes $2,000,000 available for research partnerships specifically related to the Lead and Health Homes program, as well as $1,000,000available for research partnerships regarding other topics.
  • In April 2022, HUD published its first ever agency-wide Equity Action Plan in accordance with Executive Order 13985 on “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.” The assessment reflects several priorities of the agency, including promoting racial equity in home ownership by addressing discrimination in federal programs and providing federal assistance for first-time buyers, as well as advancing equity in the administration of homelessness assistance programs.
  • In FY22, HUD is offering $7,000,000 through the Lead and Healthy Homes Technical Studies Grant, which seeks to improve HUD’s and the public’s knowledge of health-related safety hazards in order to improve and develop new hazard assessment techniques. The department expects this program to develop evidence-based approaches that are cost-effective and efficient and will result in a substantial reduction of health threats in housing, especially for vulnerable populations.
Performance Management / Continuous Improvement

Did the agency implement a performance management system with outcome-focused goals and aligned program objectives and measures and did it frequently collect, analyze, and use data and evidence to improve outcomes, return on investment, and other dimensions of performance in FY22?

4.1 Did the agency have a strategic plan with outcome goals, program objectives (if different), outcome measures, and program measures (if different)?
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s FY22–26 Strategic Plan defines strategic objectives, priority outcome goals, and program metrics supporting each objective. Progress on program metrics is tracked through Annual Performance Plans.
  • In 2019, HUD expanded the Standards for Success data collection and reporting framework for discretionary grant programs to cover Resident Opportunities and Self-Sufficiency Service Coordinator (ROSS) grants, Multifamily Housing Service Coordinator grants, and Multifamily Housing Budget-Based Service Coordinator Sites. The framework supports better outcomes by providing a more standardized performance measurement framework, better alignment with departmental strategies, and more granular reporting to support analytics.
4.2 Does the agency use data/evidence to improve outcomes and return on investment?
  • The department  uses data and evidence extensively to improve outcomes and return on investment, primarily through PD&R’s investments in data collection, program demonstrations and evaluations, and research guided by a multi-year learning agenda. The department’s extensive use of outcome-oriented performance metrics in the Annual Performance Plan; and senior staff oversight and monitoring of key outcomes and initiatives through quarterly performance management meetings will be supported by a new CFO performance management module under development.
4.3 Did the agency have continuous improvement or learning cycle processes to identify promising practices, problem areas, possible causal factors, and opportunities for improvement (examples: stat meetings, data analytics, data visualization tools, or other tools that improve performance)?
  • Senior staff support continuous improvement and oversight and monitoring of key outcomes and initiatives through quarterly performance management meetings. These processes are supported by ongoing significant investments in evidence building as documented in Annual Performance Plans and the iterative process of developing the Agency Learning Agenda , as well as development of a new performance management module by the chief financial officer. Monitoring and analysis based on administrative data have a symbiotic and complementary relationship with structured evaluation and program demonstrations.
  • The Office of PD&R also hosts ongoing knowledge collaboratives designed to support continuous learning and improve performance. Examples include a Data Knowledge Collaborative, an RCT (randomized control trial) Knowledge Collaborative, and a Knowledge Collaborative on Equity in Evaluation, as well as a new interoffice user group that shares information and tools for using statistical software effectively. The Knowledge Collaborative on Equity in Evaluation revised HUD’s Evaluation Policy to incorporate considerations of equity throughout.

Did the agency collect, analyze, share, and use high-quality administrative and survey data, consistent with strong privacy protections, to improve (or help other entities improve) outcomes, cost effectiveness, and/or the performance of federal, state, local, and other service providers programs in FY22 (examples: model data-sharing agreements or data-licensing agreements, data tagging and documentation, data standardization, open data policies, and data use policies)?

5.1 Did the agency have a strategic data plan, including an open data policy [example: Evidence Act 202(c), Strategic Information Resources Plan]?
  • The department’s FY22-26 Strategic Plan states that a more accessible data system as an objective. In its FY22-26 Learning Agenda, HUD set forth the roles of the chief data officer, which include developing a HUD Enterprise Data Strategy, updating the Data Asset Catalog, and finalizing the Open Data Plan in compliance with the Evidence Act. The document also presented the statistical official’s role to encompass supporting roles for developing and implementing the Data Asset Catalog and Open Data policy. Currently, HUD’s open data program includes assets such as administrative datasets on data.hud.gov; spatially enabled data on the eGIS portal; PD&R datasets for researchers and practitioners; and robust partnerships with the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Postal Service vacancy data, and health data linkages with the National Center for Health Statistics. The department’s public datasets are designed to allow analysis by race/ethnicity, gender, and other equity-related characteristics to the extent possible given the nature of the data and privacy constraints.
5.2 Did the agency have an updated comprehensive data inventory (example: Evidence Act 3511)?
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development has extensive data sharing processes including public sharing, interagency sharing, and internal sharing, with each mode requiring specific controls and documentation. The department’s chief data officer assumes responsibility for creating a master inventory of HUD data assets as publicly noted in the department’s FY22-FY26 Learning Agenda. Currently HUD is reviewing its existing data inventory and updating it accordingly to produce a comprehensive data inventory. The datasets at Huduser.gov could be considered the most accessible and user friendly version of the data inventory that is managed by PD&R. The office shares the data update schedule and datasets by research categories.
5.3 Did the agency promote data access or data linkage for evaluation, evidence building, or program improvement[examples: model data-sharing agreements or data-licensing agreements; data tagging and documentation; data standardization; downloadable machine-readable, de-identified tagged data; Evidence Act 3520(c)]?
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development has extensively promoted data access and data linkage, including the following approaches:
    • An updated list of open data assets; numerous PD&R-produced datasets for researchers and practitioners, including tenant public use microdata samples, A Picture of Subsidized Households, fair market rents and income limits, Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy special tabulations of the American Community Survey; and an eGIS portal providing geo-identified open data to support public analysis of housing and community development issues using GIS tools. The eGIS portal is a comprehensive geospatial data source with web-mapping tools and application program interfaces (APIs). Uploaded data sets are categorized and tagged by ten major topics of HUD programs, and HUD provides an exploratory image where users can filter and download data with a few clicks.
    • Data linkage agreements with the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and the Census Bureau. Policy Development and Researchhas formed a partnership with NCHS, which links HUD’s administrative rental assistance participants with NCHS health surveys and Medicare, Medicaid, and mortality data. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has partnered with the Census Bureau across multiple projects to link data products, including American Housing Survey (AHS) data and American Community Survey data.
    • HUD has created a repository of properties, units and tenants that merge data across the various HUD rental assistance programs for use in research, evaluation and reporting. This allows for standardization and greater access to sociodemographic characteristics of HUD’s clients.
    • Engagement in cooperative agreements with research organizations, including both funded research partnerships and unfunded data license agreements, to support innovative research that leverages HUD’s data assets and informs HUD’s policies and programs. Data licensing protocols ensure that confidential information is protected.
5.4 Did the agency have policies and procedures to secure data and protect personal, confidential information (example: differential privacy, secure multiparty computation, or homomorphic encryption; or developing audit trails)?
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s statistical official supports the evidence officer on issues related to protection of confidential data and statistical efficiency. Its Evaluation Policy specifies that HUD protects client privacy by adhering to the Rule of Eleven to prevent disclosure from tabulations with small cell sizes. Data licensing protocols ensure that researchers protect confidential information when using HUD’s administrative data or program demonstration datasets.
  • The statistical official collaborates with statistical agencies to create data linkages and develop data products that are machine-readable and include robust privacy protections. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has an interagency agreement with the Census Bureau to conduct the AHS and collaborates with Census staff to examine disclosure issues for AHS public use files and the potential for “synthetic” public datasets to support researchers in estimating summary statistics with no possibility of reidentifying survey respondents. Another interagency agreement allows the Census Bureau to link data from HUD’s RCTs with other administrative data collected under the privacy protections of its Title 13 authority. These RCT datasets are the first intervention data added to Federal Statistical Research Data Centers (RDCs) by any federal agency. Strict RDC protocols and review of all output ensure that confidential information is protected, and the open data and joint support for researchers are currently facilitating seven innovative research projects at minimal cost to HUD.
5.5 Did the agency provide assistance to city, county, and/or state governments, and/or other grantees on accessing the agency’s datasets while protecting privacy?
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development has an updated list of open data assets, an open data program, numerous PD&R datasets for researchers and practitioners, and an eGIS portal providing geo-identified data to support public analysis of housing and community development issues related to multiple programs and policy domains using GIS tools. For example, HUD supports local governments in assessing and planning for housing needs by providing summary data files about HUD-supported public and assisted housing and about local housing needs. These accessible data assets have privacy protections. Researchers needing detailed microdata can obtain access through data licensing agreements.
  • Numerous resources and training opportunities to help program partners use data assets more effectively are available through HUDExchange. Additional technical assistance is offered through the program; a $91,000,000 technical assistance program equips HUD’s customers with the knowledge, skills, tools, capacity, and systems to implement HUD programs and policies successfully and provide effective oversight of federal funding. The department supports in-depth, one-on-one technical assistance for HUD funding recipients. The technical support is delivered by HUD headquarters and field office staff and resources such as online courses, webinars, guidebooks, and virtual help desk responses.
Common Evidence Standards / What Works Designations

Did the agency use a common evidence framework, guidelines, or standards to inform its research and funding purposes; did that framework prioritize rigorous research and evaluation methods; and did the agency disseminate and promote the use of evidence-based interventions through a user-friendly tool in FY22 (example: What Works Clearinghouses)?

6.1 Did the agency have a common evidence framework for research and evaluation purposes?
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Program Evaluation Policy defines standards that prioritize rigorous methods for research and evaluation covering impact evaluations, implementation of process evaluations, descriptive studies, outcome evaluations, formative evaluations, and both qualitative and quantitative approaches. It also provides for timely dissemination of such evidence to stakeholders. The department updated the Program Evaluation Policy in August 2021 to address the rigorous inclusion of qualitative evidence and considerations related to equity.
6.2 Did the agency have a common evidence framework for funding decisions?
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development does not have a common evidence framework for funding decisions. It seeks to employ tiered evidence in funding decisions by embedding implementation and impact evaluations in funding requests for program initiatives, including major program demonstrations that employ random assignment methods. These include the Moving To Work Expansion Demonstration, the Rental Assistance Demonstration, the Rent Reform Demonstration, the Family Self-Sufficiency Demonstration, the Housing Counseling Demonstration, and the Family Options Demonstration, described above. Such trials provide robust evidence to inform scale-up funding decisions.
  • The department extended its standardized data collection and reporting framework, Standards for Success, to additional discretionary grant programs in FY19. The framework consists of a repository of data elements that participating programs use in grant reporting, creating common definitions, and measures across programs for greater analysis and coordination of services.
6.3 Did the agency have a clearinghouse(s) or a user-friendly tool that disseminated information on rigorously evaluated, evidence-based solutions (programs, interventions, practices, etc.) including information on what works where, for whom, and under what conditions?
6.4 Did the agency promote the utilization of evidence-based practices in the field to encourage implementation, replication, and application of evaluation findings and other evidence?
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development provides resources and assistance to support community partners in evidence-based practice through the HUD Exchange web portal and through technical assistance. The Office of PD&R provides the public, policymakers, and practitioners with evidence of what works primarily through HUD USER, a portal and web store for program evaluations, case studies, and policy analysis and research; the Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse; and through initiatives such as Sustainable Construction Methods in Indian Country and the Consumer’s Guide to Energy-Efficient and Healthy Homes. This content is designed to provide current policy information, elevate effective practices, and synthesize data and other evidence in accessible formats such as Evidence Matters. Through these resources, researchers and practitioners can see the full breadth of work on a given topic (e.g., rigorous established evidence, case studies of what has worked in the field, and new innovations currently being explored) to inform their work.
  • The Office of PD&R has increased emphasis on generating interim reports during long-term impact evaluations. Such interim reports provide practitioners with early findings about implementation practice and outcomes that can inform their own program designs. An example is the Interim Report from HUD’s Supportive Services Demonstration, published in 2020.
  • Community Compass technical assistance for urban, rural, and tribal partners is designed to facilitate understanding of community and housing development issues in a way that cuts across program silos. It supports them in evaluation, evidence building, integrating knowledge management principles, and sharing practices.

Did the agency have staff, policies, and processes in place that encouraged innovation to improve the impact of its programs in FY22 (examples: prizes and challenges, behavioral science trials, innovation and labs/accelerators, performance partnership pilots, and demonstration projects or waivers with rigorous evaluation requirements)?

7.1 Did the agency have staff dedicated to leading its innovation efforts to improve the impact of its programs?
  • HUD has an Office of Innovation led by a deputy assistant secretary that facilitates both routine innovation and improvements to departmental operations, services, and working conditions. Examples of recent work include assessing the feasibility of modernizing HUD headquarters’ energy and information system and creating a standardized Paperwork Reduction Act submission package. In June 2022, HUD hosted the Innovative Housing Showcase, a three-day event that featured new building technologies and housing solutions that are making housing more innovative, resilient, and affordable for families across the country. The Office of Innovation is developing prize competitions to stimulate innovation in housing and HUD policy and programs.
  • The Office of Innovation has hosted learning opportunities designed to leverage data to help stakeholders, such as public housing agencies, city and regional planners, housing developers, schools, state and local governments, and other federal agencies, understand how housing needs have shifted during (and as a result of) the pandemic.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development administers five types of juried Secretary’s Awards to encourage excellence in addressing housing and community development challenges: Public-Philanthropic Partnerships, Opportunity and Empowerment, Healthy Homes, Historic Preservation, and Housing and Community Design. An Innovation in Affordable Housing Competition engages multidisciplinary teams of graduate students in addressing a specific housing problem developed by an actual public housing agency.
  • Additionally, the Government National Mortgage Corporation, or Ginnie Mae, has several innovation teams and operates an Innovation Laboratory to advance the application of machine learning to strengthen operations.
7.2 Did the agency have initiatives to promote innovation to improve the impact of its programs?
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development established the Office of Innovation in 2019 to advance innovation in several domains. The Office of Innovation managed the 2019 Innovative Housing Showcase and prize competitions to stimulate innovation in housing and HUD policy and programs. It also recently worked with The Opportunity Project to improve communication between HUD’s Envision Centers and their local stakeholders and is now working with the Opportunity Project to provide data and visualizations related to the housing industry impacts of the changes to the workplace and society post-COVID.
  • Cooperative agreements for pre-competitive research in homebuilding innovations are funded by FY21 grants, with a similar program for historically Black colleges and universities, for more affordable, energy efficient, resilient, and healthier housing. The department seeks to engage the insights and creativity of these colleges and universities to advance problem solving toward greater diversity and more equitable outcomes.
  • The department promotes evidence-based innovation by using program demonstrations to experimentally test potential policy enhancements. These demonstrations have included eight low-cost, behaviorally informed experiments using interagency data matching and assistance from the GSA Office of Evaluation Sciences. Other innovative research ideas from external stakeholders are supported by the FY21 Research Partnerships program. Competitive awards for Lead and Healthy Homes Technical Studies generate innovation in the evaluation and control of housing-related health and safety hazards.
  • An interagency agreement with the Census Bureau has made datasets from HUD’s RCTs available for linkage with census data and administrative datasets. The RCT datasets are the first intervention data added to Federal Statistical RDCs by any federal agency, and joint support is available to help researchers gain access and learn to use the restricted data successfully for innovative research, with seven projects currently underway.
  • The department’s Rental Assistance Demonstration, which restructures the financing of the nation’s public housing to address capital needs backlogs, has the additional innovative feature of providing tenants with a choice mobility option. Choice mobility supports self-sufficiency by offering priority receipt of a housing choice voucher that provides freedom to move to neighborhoods with greater economic opportunities or better schools and amenities
  • Regulation of manufactured housing production by HUD is guided by a federal advisory committee, the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee, to provide increased ability for the industry to produce some of the nation’s most innovative, safe, and affordable housing.
  • The department has a Robotics Process Automation initiative devoted to freeing the workforce from low-value, repetitive work through software robotics solutions. Specialized computer programs known as bots automate and standardize repeatable business processes without costly investments in conventional automation. Planned efforts involving payroll, accounts receivable and payable, invoice processing, inventory management, report creation, and data migration have potential to shift over 50,000 hours of employee time from low-value to high-value work.
7.3 Did the agency evaluate its innovation efforts, including using rigorous methods?
Use of Evidence in Competitive Grant Programs

Did the agency use evidence of effectiveness when allocating funds from its competitive grant programs in FY22 (examples: tiered-evidence frameworks, evidence-based funding set-asides, priority preference points or other preference scoring for evidence, and pay for success provisions)?

8.1 What were the agency’s five largest competitive programs and their appropriations amount (and were city, county, and/or state governments eligible to receive funds from these programs)?
8.2 Did the agency use evidence of effectiveness to allocate funds in its five largest competitive grant programs? (e.g., Were evidence-based interventions/practices required or suggested? Was evidence a significant requirement?)
  • Three of HUD’s five largest competitive grants allocated funds to evidence-based practices and programs:
    The Continuum of Care Program (CoC) provides up to 10 points to grantees that propose programs with Housing First approaches, an evidence-based practice. The application states that CoCs must demonstrate at least 75% of all project applications that include housing activities (e.g., permanent housing, safe haven) submitted under this Notice of Funding Opportunity are using the Housing First approach by providing low barrier projects that do not have service participation requirements or preconditions to entry and prioritize rapid placement and stabilization in permanent housing. In addition, CoCs must describe what tools and methods are used to regularly evaluate projects to ensure those that commit to following a Housing First approach are maintaining fidelity to a Housing First approach in implementing their project, which must include a process to review fidelity to a Housing First approach outside of the local CoC competition rating and ranking process. In efforts to promote equity, HUD (1) requires CoC applicants to explicitly outline how marginalized communities will be engaged in the planning process, (2) encourages project managers to hire individuals with lived experience with homelessness, and (3) pushes applicants for capital investment projects to commit to and demonstrate plans to hire low-income individuals.
  • The Lead Hazard Reduction Grant Program is designed to maximize the number of children under the age of six protected from lead poisoning by strategically targeting lead reduction efforts to neighborhoods where children are at greatest risk. The FY22 grants require grantees to use evidence-based lead hazard control methods; meet cost savings, effectiveness, and grant compliance benchmarks; and gather pre- and post-treatment data to support and validate their investments. The application assigns 40 points (out of 102) based on grantees’ organizational capacity and relevant experience. Past research showing large returns on investment supported HUD’s decision to request a 31% increase in program funding for FY22.
  • Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grants uses a point system to determine award recipients. Of the 105 total points possible, 21 points are available in criteria demonstrating previous performance and 15 points are awarded for soundness of approach.
8.3 Did the agency use its five largest competitive grant programs to build evidence? (e.g., requiring grantees to participate in evaluations)
  • As a condition of grant award, all HUD competitive grantees are required to cooperate in any HUD-sponsored research or evaluation studies as a condition of funding.
  • The Continuum of Care Program is supported by the National Homeless Data Analysis Project, which provides communities with resources to improve data collection and consistent reporting about individuals experiencing homelessness to support national Annual Homeless Assessment Reports.
  • HUD lead paint grantees are required to integrate evidence into their work by conducting clearance testing of all housing units treated. Technical studies provide evidence to improve lead hazard detection, evaluation, and control technologies, as well as implementation, and rigorous evaluation has demonstrated the large return on investment related to children’s health from controlling lead hazards. All HUD-funded programs require recipients to submit, not less than annually, a report documenting achievement of outcomes under the purpose of the program and the work plan in the award agreement for accountability purposes and to build evidence of effective practices in the field. Grantees are also required to request blood-lead level testing of each child under six years old living in housing units under contract. In addition, HUD currently operates an additional grant, Lead and Healthy Homes Technical Studies, to promote further research into lead prevention.
  • In seeking to help residents of public and Indian housing reach self-sufficiency, Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency Service Coordinator Grant applicants are authorized to use program funding to study neighborhood dynamics, including patterns of disinvestment and access to necessities such as grocery stores, with the intention of authoring an informed transformation plan for the neighborhood. Applicants are also required to develop an “effective, quantifiable, outcome oriented plan for measuring performance,” and must report on project performance through the Standard for Success framework. This framework prioritizes standardization of data elements, alignment of programmatic data elements with high-level agency goals, and use of client-level reports for greater analysis and responsiveness, thus providing ROSS applicants with a clear roadmap through which to build evidence.
8.4 Did the agency use evidence of effectiveness to allocate funds in any other competitive grant programs (besides its five largest grant programs)?
  • The Housing Counseling Grant Program ($37,000,000 in FY20, as well as $12,500,000 million in supplemental grants) provides counseling services to tenants and homeowners. One of the program’s main objectives is to “distribute federal financial support to housing counseling agencies based on past performance.” As such, the program allocates seven points (out of 100) for past performance based on the “the positive impacts that an Applicant’s housing counseling services had on clients.” The department scores this item based on its own performance records.
  • The department continues to extend the Standards for Success reporting framework to additional competitive grant programs, establishing a performance outcomes framework that will both drive performance and determine future funding recipients by providing strategically aligned performance metrics that are standardized and sufficiently granular to provide information on relative effectiveness.
8.5 What are the agency’s 1-2 strongest examples of how competitive grant recipients achieved better outcomes and/or built knowledge of what works or what does not?
  • The CoC program is HUD’s largest program targeted to adults and children experiencing homelessness. More than 6,500 projects are awarded CoC funding through a national competition. Policy priorities for the CoC program have focused on preventing and ending homelessness through access to permanent housing, including ending homelessness for veterans, families, youth, and people experiencing chronic homelessness. Over more than a decade, increased CoC effectiveness has been supported by Homeless Management Information Systems and evidence-based funding of increased permanent supportive housing. Between 2011 and 2020, the estimated number of people experiencing homelessness in families with children declined by 27%. After a steady decline for the first half of the last decade, the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness increased by 42% from 2016 to 2020 and is back to its highest level since 2008. At the same time, however, the number of veterans experiencing homelessness declined by 43%. Following federal criteria, 78 communities and three states have effectively ended veteran homelessness.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development has taken a proactive role to address racial disparities in rates of homeless by publishing resources and providing technical assistance to grantees. For example, in 2019 HUD created the CoC Racial Equity Access Tool to help communities understand who is accessing their homeless service system and what outcomes those families and individuals are realizing. In 2020, HUD published a guide to Increasing Equity in the Homeless Response System Through Expanding Procurement, which provides communities with recommendations for allocating CARES Act funds to address racial and ethnic disparities in the homeless response system. More recently, responding to the finding in the 2019 Annual Homeless Assessment Report that African Americans have remained considerably overrepresented among the homeless population compared to the U.S. population, HUD published a rich set of racial equity resources, data toolkits, and research reports related to identifying disparities and implementing responses to address the overrepresentation of people of color in the homeless system.
8.6 Did the agency provide guidance that makes clear that city, county, and state government, and/or other grantees can or should use the funds they receive from these programs to conduct program evaluations and/or to strengthen their evaluation capacity building efforts?
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development operates a centralized evaluation program under the guidance of the evaluation officer. As a condition of grant award, all HUD competitive grantees are required to cooperate in any HUD-sponsored research or evaluation studies and to provide program monitoring data. A number of program statutes do not authorize formal evaluation as an eligible activity for use of program funds. The department also provides technical assistance to strengthen grantees’ capacity for evaluation and performance management capacity.
  • The CoC FY19 homelessness assistance program notice of funding availability offers one point for applicants who propose to use requested funds to improve their ability to evaluate the outcome of projects funded by the CoC Program and the Emergency Solutions Grant program (p. 39). There was no FY20 CoC Program Competition; HUD renewed all awards, recognizing that communities have been and will continue to be consumed with their COVID-19 response and have limited capacity to participate in the traditional CoC competition.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development intends to incorporate and disseminate best practices regarding racial equity identified in the ongoing equity assessment to external stakeholders as part of the agency’s long-term equity transformation. It has already begun this process by publishing racial equity resources, data toolkits, and research reports related to identifying disparities and implementing responses to address the overrepresentation of people of color in the homeless system. One of these resources is a CoC Racial Equity Analysis Tool, which helps CoCs identify racial disparities in their system by presenting data on poverty rates by race and ethnicity, age, and veteran status at the CoC level of geography.
  • The Lead Hazard Reduction Program FY22 notice of funding opportunity authorizes program funds to be used to support data collection, analysis, and evaluation of grant activities. In addition, program funds can be used to participate in technical studies seeking to enhance lead control activities, or in resource consolidation to further lead prevention.
Use of Evidence in Noncompetitive Grant Programs

Did the agency use evidence of effectiveness when allocating funds from its noncompetitive grant programs in FY22 (examples: evidence-based funding set-asides, requirements to invest funds in evidence-based activities, and pay for success provisions)?

9.1 What were the agency’s five largest noncompetitive programs and their appropriation amounts (and were city, county, and/or state governments eligible to receive funds from these programs)?
9.2 Did the agency use evidence of effectiveness to allocate funds in its five largest noncompetitive grant programs (e.g., are evidence-based interventions/practices required or suggested and is evidence a significant requirement)?
  • None of HUD’s largest noncompetitive grants define and prioritize evidence in their allocation of formula funds.
  • Although the funding formulas are prescribed in statute, evaluation-based interventions are central to each program. The department uses evidence from a 2015 Administrative Fee Study of the costs that high-performing public housing authorities incur in administering an HCV Program to revise its approach to providing administrative fees that incentivize PHAs to improve outcomes in leasing and housing mobility. It has also used the results of its Landlord Task Force to provide guidance to PHAs on working effectively with landlords and to propose policy and fee changes to ensure strong landlord participation in the new Emergency Housing Voucher Program funded through the American Rescue Plan. In allocating $5,000,000,000 in emergency housing voucher funding to PHAs, HUD developed an allocation formula that considered (among other factors) evidence of PHA capacity to implement the program effectively and quickly.
  • Funding of public housing by HUD is being radically shifted through the evidence-based Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), which enables accessing private capital to address the $26,000,000,000 backlog of capital needs funding. Based on RAD’s demonstrated success, for FY20 HUD proposed to transfer $95,000,000,000 from the operating fund and capital fund to the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance fund to support RAD conversions. For FY21 HUD is proposing to remove the cap on the number of public housing developments to be converted to Section 8 contracts. It is beginning to evaluate RAD’s impacts on children, and it is also conducting a Rent Reform Demonstration and a Moving To Work demonstration to test efficiencies of changing rent rules and effects on tenant outcomes.
  • Public Housing Formula Grants are awarded through a determination of modernization and accrual needs, calculated from data submitted by PHAs in the Inventory Management System/Public Housing Information Center (IMS/PIC). Public housing authorities  are required to annually update and verify their data submissions to the IMS/PIC. The selection of recipients for HCVs is also largely need based.
  • Applicants for the Community Development Entitlement Block Grant and the HOME Investment Partnership must submit a consolidated plan that identifies goals for the program, which will later be used by HUD to evaluate the performance of each grantee. The plan must also outline the project’s plans for community engagement, and include defined outcome measures for each activity to be undertaken.
9.3 Did the agency use its five largest noncompetitive grant programs to build evidence (e.g., requiring grantees to participate in evaluations)?
  • Evidence building is central to HUD’s funding approach through the use of prospective program demonstrations. These include the Public Housing Operating Fund’s RAD, the Public Housing Capital Grants’ Rent Reform demonstration, and the Housing Choice Voucher program’s Moving To Work demonstration grants. As Congress moved to expand Moving to Work flexibilities to additional PHAs, HUD sought authority to randomly assign cohorts of PHAs to provide the ability to rigorously test specific program innovations.
  • Program funds are provided to operate demonstrations through the HCV account Tenant-Based Rental Assistance. These include the Tribal HUD-VA Supportive Housing (Tribal HUD-VASH) demonstration of providing permanent supportive housing to Native American veterans and the Family Self-sufficiency-Family Unification Program demonstration that tests the effect of providing vouchers to at-risk young adults who are aging out of foster care.
  • Applicants for Public Housing Formula Grants are required to submit performance evaluations on all open grants to HUD as a requirement of funding, and annual submissions from grantees are required to include a five-year plan, outlining the targeted goals of each project.
  • Housing choice voucher recipients must complete and maintain accurate accounts and records for each program in a manner that enables HUD to complete an audit. These records must collect data such as physical unit inspections and financial statements, as well as data on the income, racial, ethnic, gender, and disability status of program applicants and participants.
9.4 Did the agency use evidence of effectiveness to allocate funds in any other noncompetitive grant programs (besides its five largest grant programs)?
  • Allocation of HUD-VASH vouchers is based in part on the administrative performance of housing agencies as measured by their past utilization of HUD-VASH vouchers in HUD’s Voucher Management System [Notice PIH-2019-15 (HA)]. This performance information helps ensure that eligible recipients are actually able to lease units with the vouchers that HUD funds. The HUD-VASH Exit Study documented that 87,864 VASH vouchers were in circulation in April 2017, contributing substantially to the 47% in the number of homeless veterans since 2010.
9.5 What are the agency’s 1-2 strongest examples of how noncompetitive grant recipients achieved better outcomes and/or built knowledge of what works or what does not?
  • To address a severe backlog of capital needs funding for the nation’s public housing stock, the Rental Assistance Demonstration was authorized in 2011 to convert the properties to project-based Section 8 contracts to attract an infusion of private capital. The 2019 final report on the RAD evaluation showed that conversions successfully raised $12,600,000,000 in funding, an average of $121,747 per unit to improve physical quality and stabilize project finances. Based on the program’s successes, the limit on the number of public housing conversions was increased to 455,000 units in 2018, nearly half of the stock, and HUD has been proposing to eliminate the cap. Additionally, HUD extended the conversion opportunity to legacy multifamily programs through RAD 2.
9.6 Did the agency provide guidance that makes clear that city, county, and state government, and/or other grantees can or should use the funds they receive from these programs to conduct program evaluations and/or to strengthen their evaluation capacity building efforts?
  • Communities receiving HUD block grant funding through Community Development Block Grants, HOME block grants, and other programs are required to consult local stakeholders, conduct housing needs assessments, and develop needs-driven consolidated plans to guide their activities. They then provide Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Reports to document progress toward their consolidated plan goals in a way that supports continued community involvement in evaluating program efforts.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program, which provides formula grants to entitlement jurisdictions, increases local evaluation capacity. Specifically, federal regulations (Section 24 CFR 570.200) authorize CDBG recipients (including city and state governments) to use up to 20% of their CDBG allocations for administration and planning costs that may include evaluation-capacity building efforts and evaluations of their CDBG-funded interventions (as defined in 570.205 and 570.206).
  • Program guidance for Public Housing Formula Grants (capital expenses) includes extensive guidance on eligible program costs, separated by each phase of project development. In the planning and development stage, HUD allows grant funding to be used for studies (market studies and surveys) necessary for development. As included in “soft costs,” HUD allows grant recipients to use program funds to improve PHA management and to improve the involvement of residents and stakeholders in PHA activities.
  • HOME Investment Partnership grantees are allowed to use program funding to promote general management and oversight, which includes activities such as developing compliance and performance-tracking systems, preparing documents and reports for submission to HUD, evaluating program performance in relation to stated goals, and providing technical assistance to personnel tasked with managing such evaluations.
Repurpose for Results

In FY22, did the agency shift funds away from or within any practice, policy, or program that consistently failed to achieve desired outcomes (examples: requiring low-performing grantees to re-compete for funding; removing ineffective interventions from allowable use of grant funds; incentivizing or urging grant applicants to stop using ineffective practices in funding announcements; proposing the elimination of ineffective programs through annual budget requests; incentivizing well-designed trials to fill specific knowledge gaps; supporting low-performing grantees through mentoring, improvement plans, and other forms of assistance; or using rigorous evaluation results to shift funds away from a program)?

10. 1 Did the agency have policy(ies) for determining when to shift funds away from grantees, practices, policies, interventions, and/or programs that consistently failed to achieve desired outcomes, and did the agency act on that policy?
  • The evaluation of the Housing First model of rehousing chronically homeless individuals with serious mental illness supported a policy shift toward first achieving housing stability to provide a platform for social services. Based on such evidence, HUD continues to encourage the use of more cost-effective rapid rehousing approaches combined with increased permanent supportive housing that is integrated with mainstream services provided by Health and Human Services, Veteran’s Affairs, and others. Additionally, a precondition for CoC applicants to be awarded FY19 expansion bonus funding was that they rank homeless assistance projects on the basis of how they improve system performance.
  • HUD created the RAD to give public housing agencies a new tool to preserve and improve their public housing properties and address the backlog of deferred maintenance. The Rental Assistance Demonstration is an example of HUD allowing local agencies to shift funds from public housing to Section 8 programs to make cost-effective use of those funds and preserve the affordable housing stock. Since the program’s creation in 2012, PHAshave converted 1,390 projects covering 179,651 housing units under the RAD program. The Office of PD&R has funded a series of evaluations of RAD that have informed its implementation.
  • Community Development Block Grants-Disaster Recovery (DR) is a large and growing program funded by emergency appropriations outside of HUD’s regular budgeting process. In FY18, HUD started promoting mitigation activities for disaster-prone communities, allocating $16,000,000,000 of the $28,000,000,000 in emergency disaster recovery funds for disaster mitigation in previously disaster-stricken communities. This policy shift was informed by evidence that vulnerability of communities to disasters is increasing even as frequency and severity of severe weather events might also be increasing, such that the National Institute of Building Sciences estimated that society saves $4 in future losses for every $1 spent on mitigation. The department also drew on the evidence of mitigation pilots through the Hurricane Sandy Rebuild by Design competition and the National Disaster Resilience Competition. By investing in mitigation activities, rather than paying to rebuild existing infrastructure in its previous form, HUD shifted funds in order to help break the cycle of publicly funded rebuilding and repeated loss.
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development grant programs typically provide for recapture of funds that are not committed in a timely fashion or that remain unexpended after the limits. Effective management by grantees can be especially crucial for timely completion of complex housing development projects, such as with the Capital Fund for public housing and Housing Trust Fund for states. Such funds are reallocated to more effective grantees. For the new $5,000,000,000 Emergency Housing Vouchers program, HUD will assess the performance of the PHAs, implementing the program one year after each PHA receives its funding increment and may revoke or reallocate unissued vouchers from PHAs with substandard leasing performance.
  • Preference points used by competitive programs favor grantees that provide evidence of successful outcomes and strategies. The CoC program awards points that shift funds toward grant applications that have demonstrated better outcomes, that rank and fund better-performing projects, and that take over programs from small and struggling recipients. As noted in the notice of funding: “To encourage CoC mergers and mitigate the potential adverse scoring implications that may occur when a high performing CoC merges with one or more lower performing CoC(s), HUD will award up to 25 bonus points to CoCs that completed a merger.”
10.2 Did the agency identify and provide support to agency programs or grantees that failed to achieve desired outcomes?
  • Through the Community Compass technical assistance program, HUD offers numerous prepared training opportunities as well as in-depth program assistance for grantees or program recipients needing intensive tailored assistance or long-term capacity building support to remediate challenges and achieve their potential as HUD program partners.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development has proposed to use public housing operating funds set aside for receivership of troubled housing authorities more proactively to address the needs of high-risk PHAs before they go into receivership, including through competitive grants for PHAs that are troubled, substandard, at-risk, or insolvent to help preserve affordable housing for the future. The Real Estate Assessment Center collects extensive data on physical condition, finances, and management to determine PHA status, and field staff have expertise to identify risk factors and useful corrective actions.
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