Image of research papers used to illustrate research grantees awarded Lab funds

Lab Announces Housing Policy Innovation Grant Awards

The Housing Solutions Lab is delighted to announce the award of competitive research grants to four teams studying innovative housing policy in small and midsize cities. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the awards aim to identify housing policy insights and advance more equitable local housing policy. The Lab awarded its first group of scholars in 2022 as part of a broader effort to build a national community of housing policy researchers focused on small and midsize cities. This year’s grantees include the following teams, which have each been selected to receive $30,000 to conduct new research:

Uncovering Hidden Eviction Practices in Small and Midsize Cities
Lisa Bates, Alex Farrington, Colleen Carroll, and Azad Amir-Ghassemi
Portland State University

This project will compare eviction proceedings in circuit courts versus local justice courts in the Oregon counties of Lane, Marion, and Linn. Using eviction records and court observation, the researchers will investigate the role that court type plays in eviction filings and case outcomes, especially in racial disparities in eviction.

Measuring the Impact of Whole Home Repairs in Pittsburgh
Cypress Marrs, Katharine Nelson, and Rebecca Yae
University of Pennsylvania, Housing Initiative at Penn

This project will evaluate the effectiveness and equity of an intervention to subsidize home repairs for low-income homeowners in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The team will use administrative data from Action Housing, the program administrator, as well as longitudinal surveys of applicant households, to measure the effect of home repairs on housing and financial stability and on housing-related health outcomes, including child blood lead levels and asthma. 

Two additional teams will also receive seed funding to further develop current research. They include:

Engaging the Community in Zoning Reform: Lessons from Oregon
José Meléndez and Rebecca Lewis
University of Oregon

The researchers will study a group of midsize cities in Oregon that are required to update their zoning ordinances to allow more missing middle housing, but that have opted not to adopt the state’s model code. Through stakeholder interviews, the team will examine each city’s approach to community engagement in the reform process, and whether and how engagement with underrepresented groups informs local code adoption. 

Understanding Source of Income Discrimination in Minneapolis
Erin Anderson and Mikaela Binsfeld 
Minneapolis Public Housing Authority

Through qualitative interviews with local landlords and with households that have recently moved using a Section 8 voucher, this research seeks to better understand the awareness and enforcement of Minneapolis’ law prohibiting landlords from refusing to rent to voucher holders.

As the research teams complete their projects over the next year, the Lab will provide ongoing support to identify insights and disseminate findings. For more information about the Lab’s research agenda and funding opportunities, please contact Claudia Aiken, Director of New Research Partnerships, at

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