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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Housing Needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives in Tribal Areas: A Report From the Assessment of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Housing Needs: Executive Summary

Housing Needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives in Tribal Areas: A Report From the Assessment of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Housing Needs: Executive Summary

Since 2011, Econometrica has been working with the Urban Institute and other firms to plan for and study the housing needs and conditions of Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians throughout the United States. This congressionally mandated study included components such as a study of Native Americans living in urban areas; household interviews and observations on tribal lands; a phone and web survey of Tribally Designated Housing Entities and tribal housing departments; and more. Econometrica is proud to have visited tribes across the nation, as well as Native Hawaiian Home Land communities in support of field interviews and other data collection efforts, including as a lead author of the Housing Needs of Native Hawaiians report. We also contributed to an analysis of U.S. Census data and supported formal government-to-government consultations in the development of the study. The Executive Summary was recently published by HUD, and we look forward to the forthcoming publication of the entire report, which will be submitted to Congress. Dr. Kristen Corey, Charles Hanson, Dr. Richard Hilton, Doray Sitko, and Wayne Mundy all contributed to this project. View HUD’s press release here.

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Expanding Our Partner Network

The HCD team is interested in expanding its consultant and subcontractor cadre to include individuals or partner firms with expertise in the following areas: disaster resiliency planning, disaster recovery funds management and program administration; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development rural housing and economic development programs; Federal Housing Administration single-family housing policy, asset management, and marketing services; and local workforce development initiatives.