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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 Cunningham is vice president for the metropolitan housing and communities center at the Urban Institute, where researchers and policy experts work to diagnose problems and identify solutions on a range of 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 over twenty years and has led several evaluations of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development homelessness and assisted housing programs, including permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention, and Housing Choice Vouchers.

From 2005 to 2008, Cunningham launched and directed the Homeless Research Institute, the research, and education arm of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. She also co-chaired a research council on homelessness comprising nationally recognized academics and policy researchers. She also 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 the Metropolitan Housing Boston and has an MPP from Georgetown University.

Research Areas
Neighborhoods, cities, and metros
Children and youth
Social safety net
Race and equity
Pay for success
Racial barriers to accessing the safety net