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Mary K. Cunningham
Vice President, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy
Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center
I believe in the power of data to improve public policy decisionmaking and, ultimately, people’s lives.

Mary K. Cunningham is vice president for metropolitan housing and communities policy at the Urban Institute, where researchers and policy experts work to diagnose problems and identify solutions on issues including homelessness and access to affordable housing, fair housing and discrimination, community and economic development, land use and zoning, racial segregation, and housing and climate change.

She has studied housing and homelessness for more than 20 years and has led several evaluations of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s homelessness and assisted-housing programs, including those related to permanent supportive housing, rapid rehousing and homelessness prevention, and housing choice vouchers.

From 2005 to 2008, Cunningham launched and directed the Homelessness Research Institute, the research and education arm of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. She also cochaired a research council on homelessness composed of nationally recognized academics and policy researchers. She has authored numerous reports, including A Research Agenda for Ending Homelessness and Homelessness Counts.

Cunningham has been cited in the New York Times and the Washington Post, has been a guest on The Weeds podcast, and was recently interviewed on CBS Morning News.

She started her career as a caseworker for families with housing vouchers at Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership (now Metro Housing|Boston) and has an MPP from Georgetown University.

Research Areas
Neighborhoods, cities, and metros
Children and youth
Social safety net
Race and equity
Housing affordability
Federal housing programs and policies
Federal urban policies
Housing subsidies
Fair housing and housing discrimination
Housing stability
Rental housing