What Works Collaborative

The What Works Collaborative is a foundation-supported partnership that conducts timely research and analysis to inform the implementation of an evidence-based housing and urban policy agenda. 

Our goal is to build knowledge and share solutions with policymakers at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other federal agencies. The collaborative has undertaken more than two dozen independent research projects that focus on HUD's strategic goals.

The collaborative is raising critical questions for policy research, engaging stakeholders in housing policy, and helping funders identify and conceptualize a research agenda that will move policy and practice forward. This process has led to a series of field-building research agendas:


A Proposed Demonstration of a Flat Rental Subsidy for Very Low Income Households
Mary K. Cunningham, Josh Leopold, and Pamela Lee

Income Mixing across Scales: Rationale, Trends, Policies, Practice, and Research for More Inclusive Neighborhoods and Metropolitan Areas
Laura Tach, Rolf Pendall, and Alexandra Derian

Neighborhood Investment Flows
Brett Theodos, G. Thomas Kingsley, and Simone Zhang

What Works Collaborative Assessment Report
Kathryn W. Hexter, Edward W. Hill, Brian A. Mikelbank, Benjamin Y. Clark, and Charles Post

The Role of Investors in Acquiring Foreclosed Properties in Boston
Christopher E. Herbert, Lauren Lambie-Hanson, Irene Lew, and Rocio Sanchez-Moyano

Investors and Housing Markets in Las Vegas: A Case Study
Alan Mallach

The Role of Investors in The One-To-Three Family REO Market: The Case of Cleveland
Frank Ford, April Hirsh, Kathryn Clover, Jeffrey A. Marks, Robin Dubin, Michael Schramm, Nina Lalich, Andrew Loucky, and Natalia Cabrera

The Role of Investors in Acquiring Foreclosed Properties in Low- and Moderate-Income Neighborhoods: A Review of Findings from Four Case Studies
Christopher E. Herbert, Irene Lew, and Rocio Sanchez-Moyano

Moving to Educational Opportunity: A Housing Demonstration to Improve School Outcomes
Megan Gallagher, Simone Zhang, and Jennifer Comey

Examining Housing as a Pathway to Successful Reentry: A Demonstration Design Process
Jocelyn Fontaine

Maintenance and Investment in Small Rental Properties Findings from New York City and Baltimore
Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies, Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy

Revitalizing Distressed Older Suburbs
Kathryn W. Hexter, Edward W. Hill, Brian A. Mikelbank, Benjamin Y. Clark, and Charles Post

Towards Evidence-Based Sustainable Communities: Report on Survey of Urban Sustainability Centers in U.S. Universities
Hilda Blanco and Genevieve Giuliano

Rental Market Stresses: Impacts of the Great Recession on Affordability and Multifamily Lending
Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

Cutting Carbon Costs: Learning from Germany's Energy Saving Program
Anne Power and Monika Zulauf

Opportunity-Rich Schools and Sustainable Communities: Seven Steps to Align High-Quality Education with Innovations in City and Metropolitan Planning and Development
Deborah L. McKoy, Jeffrey M. Vincent, and Ariel H. Bierbaum

The Potential for Public-Private Partnerships: Philanthropic Leaders Housing as a Platform
M. Katherine Kraft and Rebecca R. Riley

The Federal Role in Supporting Urban Manufacturing
Nisha Mistry andJoan Byron

Vibrant Neighborhoods, Successful Schools: What the Federal Government Can Do to Foster Both
Margery Austin Turner and Alan Berube

Long-Term Low Income Housing Tax Credit Policy Questions
Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

Scaling the Nationwide Energy Retrofit of Affordable Multifamily Housing: Innovations and Policy Recommendations
Lori Bamberger

Building Environmentally Sustainable Communities: A Framework for Inclusivity
Vicki Been, Mary Cunningham, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Adam Gordon, Joe Parilla, Margery Austin Turner, Sheryl Verlaine Whitney, Aaron Yowell, and Ken Zimmerman

Seeking Sustainable and Inclusive Communities: A King County Case Study
Sheryl Verlaine Whitney

Urban Policy in the Carter Administration
G. Thomas Kingsley and Karina Fortuny

Improving U.S. Housing Finance through Reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Assessing the Options
Ingrid Gould Ellen, John Napier Tye, and Mark A. Willis

The Disruption of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program: Causes, Consequences, Responses, and Proposed Correctives
Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

Monitoring Success in Choice Neighborhoods: A Proposed Approach to Performance Measurement
Robin E. Smith, G. Thomas Kingsley, Mary K. Cunningham, Susan J. Popkin, Kassie Dumlao, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Mark Joseph, and Deborah McKoy

Reforming the Mortgage Interest Deduction
Eric Toder, Margery Austin Turner, Katherine Lim, and Liza Getsinger

Facing the Urban Challenge: The Federal Government and America's Older Distressed Cities
Alan Mallach

Federal Post-Disaster Recovery: A Review of Federal Programs
Amy Liu

The Resident Choice Option: Reasons Why Residents Change from Project-Based Vouchers to Portable Housing Vouchers
Mary K. Cunningham and Molly M. Scott

Improving Neighborhood Location Outcomes in the Housing Choice Voucher Program: A Scan of Mobility Assistance Programs
Mary K. Cunningham, Molly M. Scott, Chris Narducci, Sam Hall, and Alexandra Stanczyk

What Do We Know About Housing Choice Voucher Program Location Outcomes?
Martha Galvez

Challenges and Policy Options for Creating and Preserving Affordable Housing near Transit and in Other Location-Efficient Areas
Rick Haughey and Ryan Sherriff

Connecting Residents of Subsidized Housing with Mainstream Supportive Services: Challenges and Recommendations
Rebecca Cohen

Key Researchers

The collaborative is made up of independent researchers from academia and policy research institutions. Key researchers include the following:

Vicki Been, New York University
Eric Belsky, Harvard University
Alan Berube, Brookings Institution
Mary Cunningham, Urban Institute
Ingrid Gould Ellen, New York University
Bruce Katz, Brookings Institution
Margery Austin Turner, Urban Institute

Core Research Partners

The collaborative is a unique partnership that brings together research organizations. The core research partners include the following:

Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Policy Program
Harvard University, Joint Center for Housing Studies
New York University, Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy
Urban Institute, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center

In addition to the core research partners, the collaborative draws on researchers from academia, policy, and practice.

Foundation Partners

Annie E. Casey Foundation
Ford Foundation
Kresge Foundation
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Open Society Institute
Rockefeller Foundation
Surdna Foundation