Today, the nation faces an array of housing and urban policy challenges. No federal department other than HUD focuses explicitly on the well-being of urban places or on the spatial relationships among people and economic activities in urban areas. If HUD, Congress, mayors, and other policy makers are to respond effectively to urban issues, they need a much more robust and effective Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R). PD&R conducts independent research and program evaluation, funds data collection and research by outside organizations, and provides policy advice to the Secretary and to other offices in HUD. Most of PD&R's work is of high quality, relevant, timely, and useful. With adequate resources, PD&R could lead the nation's ongoing process of learning, debate, and experimentation about critical housing and urban development challenges. Rebuilding the Research Capacity at HUD makes seven major recommendations about PD&R's resources and responsibilities, including more active engagement with policy makers, formalizing various informal practices, strengthening surveys and data sets, and more.
Acknowledging that the current level of funding for PD&R is inadequate, the book also makes several additional recommendations to help enable PD&R to reach its full potential.