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New HUD Reports Explore Recent AHS Data

New HUD Reports Explore Recent AHS Data

HUD Renters CoverPagesBETHESDA, MD – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released two new reports about the examining data provided by the American Housing Survey (AHS). The reports, prepared by Econometrica and SP Group, take a deep dive into several aspects of the AHS in recent years.

The AHS, sponsored by HUD and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, provides information on both the current state of housing inventory and the characteristics of its occupants. Econometrica has provided analytic support on the AHS under several contracts with HUD for nearly two decades.

The first report, The Usefulness of the GUTREHB Variable, evaluates the variable GUTREHB, which was added to the AHS in 2015, and identifies its utility and reliability. This variable sought to identify owner-occupied units that had undergone gut rehabilitation within the previous 10 years.

The authors identified three categories into which problems with the variable fall:

  1. Serious inconsistencies in responses undermine user confidence in the response to GUTREHB for a given unit in any specific survey.

  2. The analysis shows that units with positive responses to GUTREHB have higher renovation costs than those with negative responses to GUTREHB, but the observed costs still appear less than expected.

  3. The AHS collects data on several other variables associated with renovation, but the report found that the relationship between GUTREHB and these other variables is weaker than anticipated.

The second report, Characteristics of HUD-Assisted Renters and Their Units in 2019, uses data from a supplemental survey included in the 2019 AHS and administrative data matching to describe key features of both the rental housing assistance that HUD provided and the households that HUD served. The report analyzes how HUD-assisted rental stock has changed over previous three decades and examines the location of HUD-assisted housing, the quality of the units, and tenant satisfaction.

The report showed that HUD-assisted stock is in fairly good condition, with only 2.4 percent of units severely inadequate in 2017, about the same as unassisted units occupied by very low-income renters.

About Econometrica

Econometrica is a research and management organization committed to providing high-quality, cost-effective economic and analytical services for clients in the private and public sectors. Located in Bethesda, Maryland, Econometrica in particular specializes in housing, community development, and economic analysis.


Report Calls for National Eviction Database to Better Track Trends

House CutoutPolicymakers need reliable data to develop tools and strategies to effectively combat the nation’s eviction epidemic, according to a report exploring the prevalence and impact of evictions.

The report, which appeared in Evidence Matters in summer 2021, found that current eviction data are often incomplete, incorrect, or difficult to compare across geographic areas. Thus, the authors call for the development of a national eviction database.

“Building a national eviction database that aggregates standardized and reliable local data will significantly improve researchers’ ability to understand trends in eviction rates across time and space,” wrote Dana Goplerud and Craig Pollack, both of Johns Hopkins University.

The aim of the database would be to improve the ability to track and understand eviction trends, allowing policymakers to design more effective policies and tools to prevent eviction.

The authors recognize that many evictions happen outside of the court system; thus, they also explain how surveys at the national and local levels would capture information from renters about their experiences.

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NHLP Releases Survey Showing Impact of the End of Eviction Moratorium

COVID EvictionsRising eviction cases, more illegal evictions and lockouts, and judges ignoring or inconsistently applying federal and state law are some of the problems a new survey identifies since the end of the federal eviction moratorium.

The survey, from the National Housing Law Project (NHLP), shows that courts and landlords continue to evict tenants despite receiving rental assistance funds and legal protections for tenants.

The findings show that 66 percent of respondents—consisting of legal aid and civil rights attorneys in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico—reported increasing eviction cases, and 40 percent reported rising cases of landlords lying in court to evict tenants. Approximately 86 percent of respondents reported landlords collecting rental assistance but proceeding with evictions or simply refusing to apply for funds.

NHLP lays out several recommendations, including:

  • Reform landlord–tenant law to provide basic due process to tenants.
  • Expand tenant access to justice by enacting right to counsel laws.
  • Fix rental assistance programs by requiring lease renewals, non-eviction pledges, and stays on cases until funds are disbursed.
  • Create eviction diversion programs focused on housing stability for tenants.
  • Invest in federal and other affordable housing through the Build Back Better Act.

For more information, visit https://www.nhlp.org/covid/survey.

Study Finds Landlords Are More Hesitant to Participate in ERA Programs

Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) programs face a lack of participation by landlords and tenants, according to a new study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, The Housing Initiative at Penn, and NYU Furman Center, with greater refusal and unresponsiveness from landlords than from tenants.

The team conducted the survey of 247 ERA program administrators between September 9 and September 15. Findings from the survey included:

  • Tenant rarely refused to participate in ERA programs. Most (49 percent) ERA programs have never experienced tenants refusing to participate in ERA programs and 90 percent of programs never, very rarely, or rarely experience tenants refusing to participate
  • Program administrators indicated they experience greater refusal and unresponsiveness from landlords than from tenants.
  • Reasons program administrators give for tenants not participating include challenges with tenant engagement and the application process.
  • Reasons program administrators give for landlords refusing or not responding include landlords not wanting to share their W-9s and wanting to retain the ability to evict tenants for other reasons.

More information can be found here and here.

President Biden’s Budget Plan Includes Major Expansion in Funding for Housing Programs

President Biden recently previewed his request for fiscal year (FY) 2022 discretionary funding, including substantial investments in affordable housing and increases to housing assistance programs.

The FY 2022 blueprint includes $68.7 billion for HUD, a $9 billion, or 15 percent, increase from FY 2021. The budget request aims to significantly expand rental assistance programs, modernize housing stock to improve energy efficiency, reduce health hazards such as lead-based paint, address the critical shortage of affordable housing, and invest in programs to strengthen communities facing underinvestment and prevent and redress housing-related discrimination. The request also aims to further support access to homeownership for underserved borrowers through the Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage insurance programs.

Some aspects of the budget request include:

  • $30.4 billion to expand the Housing Choice Voucher program to 200,000 additional households and improve mobility-related services to low-income families.
  • $800 million for the rehabilitation and modernization of public and HUD-assisted housing to further climate resilience and energy efficiency.
  • $3.2 billion in public housing modernization grants.
  • $3.8 billion for the Community Development Block Grant Program.
  • $1.9 billion in the HOME Investment Partnership Program to build and rehabilitate affordable rental homes and support other housing-related needs, as well a $1800 million targeting new affordable housing for the elderly and persons with disabilities.
  • $85 million in grants to support state and local fair housing enforcement organizations and to further education, outreach, and training on rights and responsibilities under federal fair housing laws.
  • $400 million for HUD’s Lead Hazard and Healthy Homes grants, enabling state and local governments and nonprofits to reduce lead-based paint and other health hazards in the homes of low-income families with young children.
  • $3.5 billion to support those who are homeless and at risk of homelessness.
  • $900 million to fund efforts among Tribal communities to expand affordable housing and improve housing infrastructure.

The full budget blueprint can be found at:

Econometrica has provided technical assistance and training, policy and program analysis, statistical surveys and research, market and feasibility analysis, and knowledge management to HUD, housing authorities, and other organizations nationwide over the years. Since 2011, Econometrica has provided technical assistance through HUD’s OneCPD/Community Compass initiative, which has convened a community of technical assistance providers to serve the Office of Public and Indian Housing, Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD), and other HUD programs and customers. Through OneCPD/Community Compass, Econometrica has provided a variety of services, with a focus on housing, community development, economic development, and neighborhood stabilization.

Econometrica also has evaluated the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, examining the new opportunities RAD creates for public housing authorities to improve public housing physical conditions, how RAD helps PHAs preserve those units over the long term, and the impact of these changes on tenants.

Our staff and business associates comprise a diverse mix of personnel, including former government employees with decades of experience in housing and community development programs, academic researchers from distinguished universities, and highly skilled housing professionals with hands-on experience in housing management, finance, grants monitoring, and other types of support. We are dedicated to supporting our clients in their diverse missions to expand and improve affordable housing, promote homeownership opportunities, stimulate community transformation, assist with disaster recovery, comply with reporting requirements, and enhance their performance.

Econometrica also has evaluated the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, examining the new opportunities RAD creates for public housing authorities to improve public housing physical conditions, how RAD helps PHAs preserve those units over the long term, and the impact of these changes on tenants.