Assessment of the Healthy Homes Supplemental Program

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Organization:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes

City:

Washington

State:

District of Columbia

Organization Overview:

The Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) was created by Congress in 1993 with the primary mission to provide funding to local and state agencies to identify and mitigate lead-based paint hazards in privately owned housing that is owned or rented by lower income households.  Funds are competitively awarded through grants. In 1999 OLHCHH was authorized to design and implement a “Healthy Homes Initiative” to address other key residential hazards in low-income housing (e.g., pests, mold, radon, and injury hazards).

The OLHCHH currently has 48 employees in four divisions, with the OLHCHH Director reporting directly to the Office of the HUD Secretary.  In addition to awarding and overseeing the Lead Hazard Reduction grants, major Office functions include supporting outreach and training, supporting research and policy development, and helping enforce federal lead regulations. The student would be based in OLHCHH’s Policy and Standards Division (PSD) and will report directly to Dr. Brenda M. Reyes, PSD Division Director, Acting.


Project Name:

Assessment of the Healthy Homes Supplemental Program
Project Type: 
Program Evaluation

Project Overview:

The applicants for Lead Hazard Reduction (LHR) Program grants are encouraged to request additional funds (referred to as the Healthy Homes Supplement) to address priority non-lead hazards that are identified in their target housing (e.g., mold/moisture, pests, radon). In Fiscal Year 2021 applicants could request up to $5,000,000 in funding to identify and mitigate lead-based paint hazards and up to $700,000 in Supplement funding.  In the initial years in which the Supplement was offered (e.g., 2010 – 2015) grantees were required to use a home hazard rating system to identify non-lead hazards; however, the grantees can now use any home assessment tool they choose.

The OLHCHH would like to improve our knowledge of how the LHR grantees are using the Healthy Homes Supplement funds, particularly with regards to the assessment tools used to identify non-lead hazards, the types of hazards most frequently addressed, and the average costs of the interventions to mitigate these hazards.

The Capstone Project goals include:
1) Identify the methods used by grantees to identify non-lead  health and safety hazards.
2) Identify the frequency at which grantees identify and mitigate specific non-lead hazards.
3) Determine the range and average costs for mitigating specific non-lead hazards.
4) Identify cases of grantees leveraging other funding sources to improve indoor environmental quality in target homes.

Resources for Capstone project - Grantee quarterly progress reports, final reports, and direct queries of grantees (e.g., a strategically selected sample of grantees), PSD staff.

Results will be valuable for determining what additional policy and guidance on the identification and control of non-lead hazards are needed for grantees.  In conducting this research, important questions for the student to consider (for the non-lead hazards) include: 

  • Should grantees be required to use a standard home assessment tool? 

  • Are grantees consistently identifying and mitigating the highest priority hazards? 

  • What are the most frequently identified conditions that cannot be adequately addressed due to inadequate funding? 

  • Are there replicable examples of effective leveraging of other funding to address hazards?

Project results will be useful for OLHCHH management, LHR grantees, members of Congress and their staff, and HUD’s federal partner agencies.

Deliverable(s):

  1. A final report describing project goals, methods, and results, including an executive summary of findings.
  2. Identification of actions the Office could take to increase the impact of the Healthy Homes Supplemental funding (can be included in the report).
  3. A presentation on key project findings

Fels Institute of Government

The Fels Institute of Government
3814 Walnut St. 
Philadelphia, PA 19104

(215) 898-7326
felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu