Econometrica’s Legacy of Research for HUD

Econometrica’s Legacy of Research for HUD

Econometrica, Inc., has been providing support to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) since 2002. Almost since that beginning, we have produced many research publications, alone or in collaboration with other notable firms such as Abt Associates, Urban Institute, and ICF International. Our areas of research vary but often include program evaluation, in-depth analysis of American Housing Survey (AHS) data, and studies providing insights into implications of policy, programs, or regulations. Our work is most often produced for HUD’s Office of Policy Development & Research (PD&R).

Two of the leading authors of our research related to AHS are Dr. Frederick Eggers and Dr. Fouad Moumen. AHS is sponsored by HUD and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The survey is the most comprehensive national housing survey in the United States. They are renowned experts in this dataset and have been supporting work related to it for nearly their entire careers. Some of their works include:

In addition to their publications listed at PD&R, additional items may be found at https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/ahs.html. You can read more about Econometrica’s legacy of AHS work in this blog post.

Some of the other notable Econometrica-supported research includes:

All publications available online and produced for PD&R can be accessed at these links: https://www.huduser.gov/portal/taxonomy/term/2811 and https://www.huduser.gov/portal/taxonomy/term/3437.

We are proud of the important work we do and hope that our contributions to this research can improve design, increase knowledge, advance understanding, and inspire further investigation!

About Econometrica:
Founded in 1998, Econometrica is a research and management organization in Bethesda, MD, established to provide public- and private-sector clients with customized program support services. Econometrica works with multiple agencies to provide high-quality, cost-effective analyses, modeling, and economic evaluations. The company consistently receives exceptional scores from its clients and believes in three principles: technical capabilities, happy customers and business development.

HUD contracted Econometrica to provide these support services, including direct TA and group learning (training) across the HUD portfolio of housing agencies, which includes more than 3,500 PHAs. HUD Field Offices, a group of PHAs with similar needs, or an individual PHA could request TA from the project’s Government Technical Monitor.

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Econometrica’s Inaugural Technical Assistance Cooperative Agreement Awarded in 2011

Econometrica’s Inaugural Technical Assistance Cooperative Agreement Awarded in 2011

Many cities, counties, and states have excelled at using funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to create innovative, place-based revitalization strategies. However, the economic downturn, collapse of the housing market, and accompanying foreclosure crisis intensified the challenges grantees faced. As a result, HUD shifted the way it provided technical assistance (TA) and capacity building to grantees and subgrantees. The OneCPD Integrated Practitioner Assistance System (OneCPD) provided comprehensive, needs-based, and cross-program TA to maximize the impact of HUD funds. HUD’s FY 2010 Technical Assistance and Capacity Building under the Transformation Initiative Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA), commonly referred to as OneCPD, was HUD’s first attempt to integrate its multiple TA awards within the Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) under a single program. This NOFA was released in 2011, during HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan’s tenure.

To meet the challenge of OneCPD’s new approach to the way HUD provided TA and capacity building, Econometrica joined forces with a team of more than 60 cross-disciplinary community development practitioners and firms from across the country. A successful response to the NOFA resulted in a $500,000 award, executed by then Technical Assistance Director Julie Hopkins (nee Hovden). Under this funding, the Econometrica Team conducted needs assessments of grantees to determine the nature and scope of TA and capacity building needed; provided direct TA based on results of the needs assessments; and developed tools and products to assist CPD grantees in understanding relevant CPD and federal requirements. Areas of focus included programs such as Section 108, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), and HOME funding. Under OneCPD, the team provided needs assessments and TA to grantees (municipalities) in California, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Mississippi, as well as the State of North Carolina. The team also designed materials and implemented a process to provide grantees an opportunity to comment on CDBG TA needs and program effectiveness. To engage grantees and other stakeholders in this conversation, Econometrica launched “Moving CDBG Forward,” during which it conducted 9 in-person information and listening sessions and 10 interactive webinars in less than 6 months’ time. Econometrica also monitored an electronic forum and prepared a thorough report, including findings and recommendations.

Following this initial award, Econometrica has continued to receive an increased level of funding for every subsequent year during which HUD issued a similar TA NOFA. The focus of these NOFAs has transitioned from just CPD programs to also include the Office of Native American Programs, Office of Public and Indian Housing, and other divisions within HUD. Areas of focus now commonly include Choice Neighborhoods, physical needs assessments, and more. Commensurate with this expansion, the NOFA itself transitioned in terminology from OneCPD to OneCPD Plus to the current titling, Community Compass. In 2017, Econometrica closed out its inaugural award from 2011, but continues to provide services under the newer awards, which remain active. The most recent award was made in late 2017 and is featured in this blog post.

Econometrica’s partnerships have also evolved over time, expanding to keep pace with changing and expanded needs of HUD grantees as well as to capture new and emerging practice areas and increase geographic reach. We are proud of the teams we have assembled and our legacy of providing high-quality, effective, and efficient TA to HUD consumers. We look forward to many more years of doing so.

NOTE: HUD grantees interested in receiving TA, including units of local government, tribes/tribally designated housing entities, public housing agencies, and others, can review the instructions found here: https://www.hudexchange.info/program-support/technical-assistance/.

About Econometrica:
Founded in 1998, Econometrica is a research and management organization in Bethesda, MD, established to provide public- and private-sector clients with customized program support services. Econometrica works with multiple agencies to provide high-quality, cost-effective analyses, modeling, and economic evaluations. The company consistently receives exceptional scores from its clients and believes in three principles: technical capabilities, happy customers and business development.

Under this funding, the Econometrica Team conducted needs assessments of grantees to determine the nature and scope of TA and capacity building needed; provided direct TA based on results of the needs assessments; and developed tools and products to assist CPD grantees in understanding relevant CPD and federal requirements.

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How do grantees use federal funds to address housing issues/poverty in rural & tribal areas?

How do grantees use federal funds to address housing issues/poverty in rural & tribal areas?

From 2013 to 2015, Econometrica conducted an evaluation of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Rural Innovation Fund (RIF), funded on a contractual basis with HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research. This evaluation examined how rural housing and economic development organizations have used the RIF to benefit their communities. The RIF was a competitive grant program funded by HUD; its intent was to improve the quality of housing and promote economic development in rural communities with high rates of unemployment and poverty. The evaluation described RIF relative to its predecessor program, Rural Housing and Economic development (RHED), and examined RIF leveraging and grant impacts. Both the RIF and the RHED programs gave special attention to rural and underserved, high-needs areas such as Native American communities, the lower Mississippi Delta, Appalachian Regional Commission distressed counties, and the colonias and farmworker communities.

The study team performed an evaluation of the RIF program that incorporated a wide variety of data collection efforts, including stakeholder meetings, semi-structured interviews with grantees, 15 site visits to RIF programs across the nation (including on tribal lands), administrative file review, and focus groups with rural development professionals. Three main questions guided the study:
1. What types of projects did the RIF fund?
2. How successful were grantees at leveraging additional funding?
3. What were the impacts of the larger RIF grants?

The data show that relative to RHED, the RIF favored tribal applicants more, which contributed to a lower rate of leveraging private funds. There is little evidence that the larger grants available through the RIF produced economies of scale for increased impact. Full findings and methodology information are available in the published report available at https://www.huduser.gov/portal/publications/Evaluation-of-RIF-Vol1.html.

Full findings and methodology information are available in the published report.

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HAC Rural Housing Conference

HAC Rural Housing Conference

On Friday, December 2, Doray Sitko from Econometrica’s Housing and Community Development group is at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, DC, at the Housing Assistance Council’s 2016 Rural Housing Conference. She is supporting Dr. Jackie Williams, Director of HUD’s Office of Rural Housing and Economic Development (ORHED), as ORHED affirms its commitment to rural and tribal communities. ORHED and its partners will be presenting in the HUD, USDA RD & Veteran Affairs: The Nuts and Bolts plenary and breakout session. This support is part of a cooperative agreement work plan in which Econometrica provides guidance, research, and other professional services as HUD and its partners strive to provide timely, relevant technical assistance to tribal and rural communities, including colonias, seasonal farm workers, federally recognized tribes, the Lower Mississippi Delta region, and Appalachia’s distressed counties.

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