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HUD Customer Satisfaction Report

Chapter 5 - Policy Development and Research

"Facilitating Partnerships Between HUD and the Research Community"

Much of the research and evaluation done by HUD is actually carried out by private organizations under contract to the Government. These organizations are the direct customers of PD&R�s services. PD&R has established standards to facilitate partnerships between HUD and its research partners.

Goal 1

Keep research organizations informed about PD&R�s research agenda. Standard. PD&R will publish and mail to all organizations in the PD&R database a list of topics and research issues that constitute the current research agenda.

Performance

  1. PD&R maintains a list of more than 160 research organizations. During FY 1996, PD&R updated this list, consulted with many of the firms with regard to the research agenda, and mailed a copy of the request for proposals for an evaluation of the empowe rment zone program to all of the firms.

  2. PD&R received 15 unsolicited proposals during FY 1996 to carry out specific research projects. Of these, PD&R elected to fund 9 projects. These 9 resulted in cooperative agreements with substantial funding beyond the PD&R share. Funding this type o f "grass roots" research proposal is evidence that PD&R is successfully involving outside organizations in its program.

  3. PD&R conducted a small grants competition for research on fair lending. In response to the solicitation, the Office received 62 abstracts from teams that included both fair lending advocates and researchers.

  4. In addition to funding the firms and organizations noted above, PD&R engaged many other agencies and foundations in developing and funding research projects. PD&R�s FY 1996 research "partners" included:

    • Department of Health and Human Services
    • Department of Labor
    • Department of Veterans� Affairs
    • Environmental Protection Agency
    • Department of Transportation
    • Department of Education
    • Department of Agriculture
    • Department of Justice
    • Ford Foundation
    • Rockefeller Foundation
    • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
    • National Science Foundation
    • National Institute of Justice
    • Habitat for Humanity

  5. PD&R Office of University Partnerships (OUP) maintains a database of approximately 4,000 institutions of higher learning. OUP has received approximately 200 applications in FY 1996 from universities, colleges, and doctoral students for its research a nd service grant programs. In FY 1996, 25 grantees from approximately 50 applicants were selected to receive the Community Development Work Study Program Grants. Fifteen from a field of 40 applicants were selected as 1996 Doctoral Dissertation Research grantees. For the Community Outreach Partnership Center program, 100 applications have been received, and as of August 1, 1996, PD&R expects to award 15 new grants for this program.
Goal 2

Incorporate the wealth of intellectual knowledge outside of HUD to make informed decisions to support effective and efficient programs. Standard. PD&R will utilize the full range of contracting mechanisms to allow participation by all types of organizations in HUD research.

Performance

During FY 1996, PD&R used a wide variety of contracting mechanisms to involve many different types of organizations in the Department�s research.

  1. Competitive requests for proposals (RFPs). PD&R used competitive RFPs for large efforts and for projects that could take the long period it takes to execute a contract through this procedure.

  2. Task orders under indefinite quantity contracts (IQCs). PD&R currently has some 8 IQCs with a wide variety of research organizations and their many subcontractors. Much of the FY 1996 research, especially that requiring rapid turnaround in projec ts of moderate size, was done through this mechanism, and frequently involved competition among the IQC holders.

  3. Cooperative agreements. When organizations came to the Department with a good proposal and substantial commitment of resources from foundations or other sources, PD&R sometimes elected to enter into a cooperative agreement with the offeror.

  4. Grants. PD&R made grants to 10 research teams under the Fair Lending Competition, 15 Doctoral Dissertation Research Grants, 25 Community Development Work Study grants, and as of August 1, 1996, anticipates making 15 new Community Outreach Partners hip Center program grants.

  5. Purchase orders. In a couple of instances that involved a small research project, PD&R selected a researcher through a competitive purchase order process.

Goal 3

Prepare small, minority-, and women-owned business organizations to compete for HUD contracts. Standard. PD&R will target a portion of its contracting to organizations that have not traditionally participated in HUD research, including small, minority-, and women-owned businesses.

Performance

PD&R managed two 8(a) contracts during FY 1996 � one for an evaluation of homeownership under Habitat for Humanity and one for an assessment of effective crime prevention activities in public housing. In addition, the Fair Lending Small Grants Competition, the Doctoral Dissertation Research Grants, and the Community Development Work Study Program resulted in assistance to many minorities and to women.

Goal 4

Reduce the burden of PD&R solicitations. Standard. PD&R will continue to clarify and simplify its requests for proposals and hold preproposal conferences wherever necessary.

Performance

During FY 1996, PD&R conducted two procurements through the Request for Proposals (RFP) process. As of July 31, 1996, proposals for one of these procurements were not yet in. The other procurement was for an evaluatio n of the Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Community Program. PD&R conducted a preproposal bidders conference, which was attended by more than 100 individuals representing 64 organizations. As a result of this outreach effort, PD&R received 9 proposals, w hich is about double the interest that has been shown in PD&R research RFPs in recent years. These 9 offers included a total of 22 prime contractors, subcontractors, and consultants, including three offers with minority business enterprises as primary co ntractors.

In FY 1996, PD&R also ran a small grants competition for research related to fair lending. To reduce the burden on offerors of preparing proposals, PD&R first solicited a brief abstract of the proposal and received 62 abstracts. Only after reviewing the se abstracts and selecting those that had a chance for funding did PD&R actually solicit full proposals from 26 of the offerors. Eventually, PD&R made 10 grants.

PD&R Office of University Partnerships held a preproposal meeting in FY 1996 for the Community Renaissance Fellows Program. Approximately 30 people attended the conference, and in June 1996 Yale University was selected to administer the educational compo nent of the program.

Goal 5

Increase the effectiveness of the staff in providing research guidance. Standard. PD&R staff will keep abreast of the latest analytical techniques and research methodologies.

Performance

Through July 31, 1996, PD&R�s staff of about 110 employees attended 69 FY 1996 training sessions. Many of these sessions, such as: Regression Models for Complex Survey Models, Environmental Site Assessment Practice for Commercial Real Estate Benefits, Data Collection and Analysis, Government Technical Representative (GTR) Training, SAS Programming, Single Family Homeownership Financing, Assisted Living Facility Underwriting and Operation, Statistical Disclosure, and Neighborhood Networks are specifically intended to increase the effectiveness of staff in providing research guidance.

PD&R is committed to increasing the effectiveness of both its contracting procedures and its staff to provide research guidance. PD&R will continue to build its database of research organizations, and outreach efforts will continue through increased solicitations, preproposal conferences and HUD User, th e PD&R Home Page on the Internet. Furthermore, research reports published by PD&R will provide information to assist HUD in making decisions to support effective and efficient programs.

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