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July  -- The Office of Policy Development and Research, HUD invites comment by September 19, 2023 regarding the Evaluation of the Moving to Work (MTW) Expansion Asset Building Cohort.

The purpose of this proposed information collection is to evaluate the Moving to Work Expansion Asset Building Cohort (hereinafter “Asset Building Cohort”). This 60-day Notice informs the public of intent to collect data about the asset building programs implemented by the PHAs in the Asset Building Cohort and about the HUD-assisted residents selected to participate in the asset building programs.

HUD selected 18 Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) to participate in the Asset Building Cohort. Six of these PHAs have signaled intent to implement an opt-out savings program, 5 intend to pilot rent reporting for credit building, and 7 have designed custom asset building programs. The savings account and rent reporting programs are described in PIH Notice 2022–11. For the savings account program, PHAs will contribute at least $10 per month for 24 months to at least 25 residents to support buildup of emergency savings. For the rent reporting program, PHAs will report on-time rent payments made by participating public housing residents to credit agencies so that the residents' credit reports will gain a tradeline (rental tradeline). The added rental tradeline may increase residents' credit visibility and credit scores. HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) will evaluate the impacts of these asset building programs. The evaluation requires data from several sources, including the new information collection described in this Notice.

The first phase of the evaluation of the Asset Building Cohort is guided by a few overarching questions: (1) What programs are PHAs implementing? What are the characteristics of the group of residents participating in the programs? (2) How do participants understand the programs? And what do the programs mean for them personally? The programs will run for two years. The first phase of the evaluation will collect data from the following samples:

(1) PHA staff (n = 54), staff of partner organizations (n = 18), and PHA residents (n = 32)

(2) Residents that volunteered for the rent reporting for credit building pilot program, including households that were randomly assigned to have their rent payments reported to credit agencies and households that were assigned to a control group (who don't have their rent payments reported to credit agencies) (n = 300)

(3) Residents that volunteered for the rent reporting for credit building pilot program and agree to participate in in-depth qualitative interviews at up to four time points during the two years that the PHA is required to offer the program (n = 40)

The evaluator will conduct interviews of about 1 hour with staff from participating PHAs, organizational partners (e.g., a bank that partners with a PHA to set up savings accounts for unbanked residents), and PHA residents to better understand facilitators and challenges to starting and running the asset building programs. The evaluator will interview up to 3 staff per PHA at all 18 PHAs, up to 3 partners at 6 PHAs selected for in-depth case studies, and up to 8 residents at 4 of the case study PHAs.

Residents participating in the rent reporting programs must complete an Informed Consent Form (ICF) and Baseline Information Form (BIF). The BIF will provide important information not otherwise available from HUD's administrative data, such as whether the household has significant barriers to employment. The BIF will take on average 15 minutes to complete. After enrollment in the program, 40 participants, including 20 members of the treatment group and 20 members of the control group, will be asked to participate in qualitative interviews of about 90 minutes each at two different time points during the first year of the rent reporting programs. The qualitative interviews will focus on experiences with the rent reporting program, household budgeting, and the broader context of interactions with banking, credit, and financial institutions. The Federal Register Notice provides an opportunity to comment on the data collection instruments and associated materials to be administered to the respondents at PHAs (including staff and residents) in the Asset Building Cohort and at partner organizations.

Respondents: Adults who work at or are assisted by PHAs participating in the Asset Building Cohort.

Estimated Number of Respondents: Up to 54 PHA staff interviewees; up to 18 partner organization staff interviewees; up to 32 resident implementation interviewees; up to 300 residents who will complete the ICF and BIF for the rent reporting evaluation; up to 40 resident qualitative interviewees.
 
MTW Expansion: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/ph/mtw/expansion
PoC: Elizabeth Rudd, PhD, Program Evaluation Division, PD&R  Elizabeth.C.Rudd@hud.gov
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-15485

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