HUD Publishes Two Notices Related to MTW Expansion

On April 26, 2016 HUD published its Notice of “Establishment for the Moving to Work Research Federal Advisory Committee.” This is the second of two Notices HUD has released on MTW expansion. The first Notice, which was released on April 4, is a “Request for Specific Policy Proposals and Methods of Research and Evaluation for MTW Demonstration Expansion,” and includes a 30 day comment period, which would have ended on May 4. As a result of CLPHA’s intervention, the comment period has been extended two weeks to May 18. CLPHA will submit comments and we urge you to do the same on topics you think merit further research.

This second Notice on MTW expansion establishes an MTW Research Advisory Committee as mandated in the 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act, which expanded the Moving to Work demonstration to 100 new high performing public housing authorities. Housing authorities will be added to the MTW demonstration in annual cohorts and each cohort of PHAs will be directed by HUD to implement and evaluate one specific policy change.

The Appropriations Act, which called for the formation of such a committee, mandated it will advise HUD on the specific policy proposals and methods of research and evaluation that will be implemented within each cohort. Specifically, the Committee will advise HUD on:

·         Rigorous research methodologies that will effectively measure the impact of the policy changes identified ,

·         Policy changes adopted by MTW PHAs that have proven successful and can be applied more broadly to all PHAs, and;

·         Statutory changes and/or regulatory changes necessary to implement policy changes for all PHAs

The Notice calls for a Committee appointed by the Secretary that will consist of up to 14 members, including program and research experts from HUD; a fair representation of MTW PHAs, including current and/or former residents; and independent subject matter experts.

At both the recent CLPHA Spring Meeting and the MTW Conference, HUD said that they were on a “fast track” for MTW expansion. The April 26th Notice outlines the HUD’s proposed timeline for MTW expansion: this summer the research advisory committee will convene and develop a research agenda that will detail the policy changes to be implemented by each cohort. By fall of 2016, HUD plans to publish a Notice to submit applications, which will include a schedule of the research areas to be studied by each cohort.

In terms of both Notices, CLPHA is concerned that HUD is moving through the research and policy development phase of this process too quickly, so we will be submitting comments asking HUD to build more transparency and engagement into this process. We believe that HUD should be developing the research agenda through a thoughtful, engaged process with considerable input from the housing authorities. Recent research efforts around the MTW program from Abt Associates/HAI Group, the Charlotte Housing Authority, and others, have shown that developing a well-designed research evaluation takes time, expertise, and carefully considered methodologies that take into account PHA capacity and local dynamics. We also want to ensure that the Research Advisory Committee membership includes a strong representation of public housing authorities, who can provide needed insight into PHA operations and capacities.

Comments on the Notice to establish the Research Advisory Committee are due May 11, 2016.  We strongly encourage you to submit comments, as well as nominations for individuals from the housing community, or research community, whom you feel would serve as good representatives on the Committee.

We also urge you to submit comments on specific policy proposals and research methods by May 18, 2016. Please forward any comments or nominations to CLPHA Policy Analyst Nicole Barrett, at nbarrett@clpha.org.  

You can find Notice requesting policy proposals and research ideas here.

You can find Notice on establishing the Research Advisory Committee here.