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Mary K. Cunningham
Senior Vice President, Research Management and Program Development
I believe in the power of data to improve public policy decisionmaking and, ultimately, people’s lives.

Mary K. Cunningham is senior vice president for research management and program development at the Urban Institute, overseeing Urban’s research and policy centers.

Previously, she was Urban’s vice president for metropolitan housing and communities policy, where researchers and policy experts work to bolster affordable housing, eradicate homelessness, facilitate land-use and zoning reform for equitable development, improve transportation access, foster opportunity-rich neighborhoods and cities, and fortify communities against the challenges of climate change. As a researcher, she studied housing and homelessness for more than 25 years.

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.

Cunningham has been cited in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today. She has been a guest on The Weeds podcast, News Hour, and CBS Morning News.

She started her career as a caseworker for families with housing vouchers at Metro Housing|Boston (formerly, the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership) 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