Data Points: HUD’s Research Roadmap

written by Sam Batko
August 27, 2013

If you were a fly in the wall at a Homelessness Research Institute (HRI) meeting, you would often here us say: “Wouldn’t it be great if we knew more about how to end homelessness using [insert research topic here]?”

Don’t get me wrong, homelessness research and practice has come a long way, even in just the decade that I’ve been working on the issue, but there is still much to investigate and ferret out.

Recently, HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research released the HUD Research Roadmap, which lays out timely research questions that HUD is particularly positioned to take the lead on.

This got me thinking about HRI’s research agenda released just over six years ago and how far we’ve come in that time. At the time, HRI laid out a number of important research questions, some of which have been or are in the process of being addressed, including:

  • What mix of housing assistance and services prevents and ends homelessness for families? The Family Options Study, among others, should provide us with a pretty comprehensive answer to this question.
  • Typology of homeless youth by characteristics or use of systems. Paul Toro and Mark Courtney have both developed interesting typologies of homeless, at-risk, and former foster youth that inform work being done on homeless youth.

Of course, HUD’s Research Roadmap addresses broader issues than homelessness, but homelessness is a major focus of one of their priority research areas: “Housing as a Platform.” This priority research area includes a number of studies that are already underway: the Family Options Study, an evaluation of the rapid re-housing demonstration project, and housing models for youth aging out of foster care.

It also includes priority projects that are not yet underway such as studies on homelessness prevention, Public Housing Agencies administrative policies and homelessness, successful exits from supportive housing, and understanding rapid re-housing models and outcomes for household served.

While all of these projects are not currently funded, the ones that are being conducted already and future studies will surely go far in informing the path to preventing and ending homelessness in the US.