FY 2023 Lead and Health Homes Technical Studies 

Program Description:

Through this NOFO, HUD is funding studies to improve knowledge of housing-related health and safety hazards and to improve or develop new hazard assessment and control methods, with a focus on lead and other key residential health and safety hazards. HUD is especially interested in applications that will advance our knowledge of priority healthy homes issues by addressing important gaps in science related to the accurate and efficient identification of hazards and the implementation of cost-effective hazard mitigation. This includes studies using implementation sciences in identifying specific conditions under which residential environmental hazard interventions, that have been shown to be effective in specific housing types and residential settings, can be assessed in other contexts. Key hazards are discussed in Appendix A, Key Residential Health, and Safety Hazards, of this NOFO. A list of references that serves as the basis for the information provided in this NOFO is provided as Appendix C, Relevant Publications, Guidelines and Other Resources. Priority research topics of particular interest to HUD are identified in section III.F.1.

Both the Lead and Healthy Homes Technical Studies (LHHTS) Programs are important for the achievement of research goals identified in HUD's Healthy Homes Strategic Plan (available at: https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/DOC_13701.PDF),the federal healthy homes strategic plan, Advancing Healthy Housing : A Strategy for Action (available at: https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/STRATPLAN_FINAL_11_13.PDF, and the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts (https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/HH/documents/fedactionplan_lead_final.pdf).

a. General Goals
(1) Lead Technical Studies (LTS)
The overall goal of the LTS grant program is to gain knowledge to improve the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of methods for evaluation and control of residential lead-based paint hazards. Through this Program, HUD is working to fulfill the requirements of sections 1051 and 1052 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 (Title X) (42 U.S.C. §§ 4854 and 4854a) which directs HUD to conduct research on topics which include the development of improved methods for evaluating and reducing lead-based paint hazards in housing, among others. Brief descriptions of active and previously funded LTS projects can be found on HUD's website at https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/healthy_homes. Where appropriate, you are encouraged to build your proposed study upon HUD-sponsored work that has been previously completed, in addition to other relevant research (i.e., reported in the published literature). The results of the applicable aspects of LTS will be used in part to update HUD's Guidelines for the Evaluation and Control of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Housing (Guidelines) and other HUD policy guidance. For supporting references, including where to find the Guidelines, see: The HUD Guidelines for the Evaluation and Control of Lead-based Paint in Housing | HUD.gov / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Appendix C.

The overall objectives include but are not limited to the statutory requirements listed in Section 1052 of Title X:

  1. Develop improved methods for evaluating lead-based paint hazards.
  2. Develop improved methods for reducing lead-based paint hazards.
  3. Develop improved methods for measuring lead in paint films, dust, and soil.
  4. Establish performance standards for various detection methods, including spot test kits.
  5. Establish performance standards for lead-based paint hazard reduction methods, including the use of encapsulants.
  6. Establish appropriate cleanup standards.
  7. Evaluate the efficacy of interim controls in various situations.
  8. Evaluate the relative performance of various abatement techniques.
  9. Evaluate the long-term cost-effectiveness of interim control and abatement strategies.
  10. Assess the effectiveness of hazard evaluation and reduction activities.

Studies should be related to the above primary objectives. For example, a study using large databases may be related to the efficacy of interim controls, etc. Another example may be relating the use of novel methods for lead risk assessment or for dust lead measurements to the primary objective of developing improved methods for evaluating lead-based paint hazards or for measuring lead in dust.

(2) Healthy Homes Technical Studies (HHTS)
The overall goal of the HHTS Program is to advance the recognition and control of priority residential health and safety hazards and more closely examine the link between housing and health. The overall objectives of the Program include but are not limited to:
(a) Development and evaluation of cost-effective test methods and protocols for the identification and assessment of housing-related hazards.
(b) Development and assessment of cost-effective methods for reducing or eliminating housing-related hazards.
(c) Evaluation of the effectiveness of housing interventions and barriers and incentives affecting future use of the most cost-effective strategies.
(d) Supporting translational and implementation research studies which involve the adaptation and use of effective healthy homes intervention strategies in different housing types, residential settings, and populations.
(e) Investigation of the epidemiology of housing-related hazards and illness and injuries associated with these hazards, with an emphasis on low income, vulnerable populations (e.g., children, communities of color, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, etc.).
(f) Analysis of existing data or generation of new data to improve knowledge regarding the prevalence and severity of specific hazards in various types of housing and by demographic characteristics of residents, with a focus on low-income housing.
(g)  Improved understanding of the relationship between residential exposure and illness or injury of children or other vulnerable populations. (Note: Applicants that propose this type of study should discuss how the knowledge that is gained from the study could be used in a program to reduce these hazards in target communities). 

HUD anticipates that the results of program-supported studies will help to develop evidence-based approaches that are cost-effective and efficient and will result in the reduction of health threats for the maximum number of residents and, in particular, children and other vulnerable populations (e.g., communities of color, persons with disabilities, the elderly) in low-income households. Study results are also expected to improve our understanding of how specific aspects of the indoor environment can affect the health of residents.

Applicants should consider the ability of their proposed study to generate definitive results. Since the size of the awards under this NOFO may limit the ability of applicants to design and implement research on health outcomes using the strongest methodology (i.e., a randomized controlled trial), applicants should consider focusing on important indoor environmental quality (IEQ) measures instead of health outcomes in studies where this is appropriate, such as when existing research has demonstrated a significant association between the IEQ measures and health outcomes. A focus on environmental outcomes is expected to produce results that will complement the health outcome, typically, the impact of improvements to IEQ on health outcomes can be inferred where the evidence base is sufficient. HUD is especially interested in funding practical, applied research, including studies using implementation science, which can directly inform policies and practices to reduce the prevalence and severity of residential health and safety hazards and improve the health and well-being of residents.  You should be aware of where your proposed study fits within a translational research framework (i.e., Pettibone et al., 2018:  https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP3657). Implementation research (IR) helps identify the context (real world environmental and social setting) that impacts the adoption of interventions within a community to address persistent residential environmental health hazards (Bauer, 2020; Smith, 2020). Identifying and understanding the specifications of the context within which the study is being conducted helps provide a better understanding of how and for whom the interventions work, under what conditions, and the expected outcomes (Smith, 2020). To use IR studies effectively the researcher needs to identify the interventions of interest, then determine whether the interventions have shown both effectiveness and efficacy, and if they have, finally use mixed methods designs (Lane-Fall, 2019). HUD is particularly interested in IR proposals that involve the identification and study of the context and conditions under which different interventions are effective, thus making these interventions more acceptable and easily implementable in low-income and affordable housing environments.

The HHTS Program is a component of HUD’s Healthy Homes Program. A description of the Healthy Homes Program is available on the HUD website at https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/healthy_homes/hhi. In addition to deficiencies in basic housing conditions that may impact health (e.g., structural problems, lack of adequate heating and cooling, pest infestation, excess moisture), other subtler health hazards may exist in the residential environment (e.g., asthma triggers, volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds including pesticide residues, injury hazards, etc.). While some hazards will be found disproportionately in housing that is substandard, housing-related environmental hazards may also exist in housing that is otherwise of acceptable quality. Appendix A of this NOFO briefly describes the key housing-associated health and safety hazards HUD considers targets for intervention. The hazards and conditions identified in Appendix A are not considered exhaustive, applicants may submit applications that focus on topics that are not included in Appendix A. HUD has also developed resource papers on several topics of importance under the Healthy Homes Program, including mold, environmental aspects of asthma, carbon monoxide, pesticides, residential assessment and unintentional injuries. These resource papers can be downloaded from https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/healthy_homes.

b. Community Participation 
HUD believes that it is important for researchers to incorporate meaningful community participation in the development and implementation of studies that are conducted in communities and/or involve significant interaction with community residents. Community participation can improve study effectiveness in various ways, including the development of more appropriate research objectives, improving recruitment and retention of study participants, improving participants' involvement in, and understanding of a study, improving ongoing communication between researchers and the affected community, and improving dissemination of study findings. Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) offers researchers the opportunity to use translational science to improve sustainability/long-term success and efficacy of effective scientific interventions to address residential environmental health issues in diverse communities. It also helps identify specific conditions and structures within the communities needed for these effective interventions to work best. HUD encourages applicants to consider using elements of a CBPR approach, where applicable, in study design and implementation. (See, e.g., The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences report titled "Successful Models of Community-Based Participatory Research" at https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/DOC_12485.PDF and the Wallerstein and Duran (2010) paper titled "Community-based participatory research contributions to intervention research: The intersection of science and practice to improve health equity"). CBPR is characterized by substantial community input in all phases of a study (i.e., design, implementation, data interpretation, conclusions, and communication of results).

Funding of approximately $7,000,000 is available through this NOFO. HUD expects to make approximately 13 awards from the funds available under this NOFO.

Program Office:  Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes
Funding Opportunity Title: Lead and Healthy Homes Technical Studies
Funding Opportunity Number: FR-6700-N-15
Assistance Listing Number: 14.902 -- Lead Technical Studies Grants 14.906 -- Healthy Homes Technical Studies Grants
OMB Approval Number: 2539-0015
Opening Date: September 15, 2023
Deadline Date: November 6, 2023

Program NOFO