FY 2021 HBCU Research Center of Excellence

The Office of Policy Development and Research Office Fiscal Year 2021 NOFO HBCU Research Center of Excellences have completed final OMB and OGC Approval and it is ready for publication.

The purpose of this grant is to conduct research projects on multiple topics of strategic interest to the Department of Housing and Urban Development enabling the establishment of one, or up to two Historically Black College and Universities Center(s) of Excellence to (COE).  The research projects are intended to initiate an ongoing series of reports focused on housing, community, and economic development in underserved communities that can serve as national, local, or regional benchmarks and assist in support of COE(s) that expand the housing and community development research efforts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).  For benchmark comparisons, applicants are encouraged to consider the work of other university based housing research centers such as Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies at the University of Florida, and the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California Berkeley, that sometimes focus on national issues, but largely focus on local or regional housing and community development issues. The research projects, proposed by the awardee, will focus on topics of interest to the Department about underserved communities from the unique perspective of institutions that are often located in, and serve the residents of underserved communities.

Specifically, the purpose of the COE is to conduct innovative research of housing and economic development topics that include but are not limited to home ownership, the production and availability of affordable housing, neighborhood distress including abandoned or low-quality housing issues, housing shortage including issues of overcrowding and/or homelessness, and related issues. The COE should take a multidisciplinary approach to housing and community development research, and through innovative methods study the social and economic factors that create healthy communities. Ultimately, the purpose of the COE should be to influence policy at the local, state, and national levels, providing evidence-based innovative approaches to community development based on research it undertakes. 

Additionally, the awardee will be required to develop and submit a detailed plan for the development and long-term sustainment (beyond 5 years) of a Center of Excellence to carry on the work of the initial reports and to serve as a focus of thought leadership and alternative analysis of the issues related to underserved communities. The COE will serve as a platform for the formulation, analysis and dissemination of solutions utilizing alternatives to current academic theory and policy prescriptions to address problems confronting underserved communities. The COE will perform academic research, hold expert convenings, and conduct related activities designed to advance understanding of economic and social factors that affect communities, including housing, economic and workforce development, health and health care, education, civic engagement, public safety, and other dimensions of community health. Through academic programs, research projects and thought leadership, the COE will help leaders across all levels of government as well as the business and civic sectors address critical issues that impact the social and economic well-being of the families and individuals who reside in underserved urban and rural communities.

The challenges faced by underserved urban and rural communities are long-standing and complex and have defied conventional approaches for decades. HUD intends to fund research projects to initiate a series of benchmark reports that will apply new and context-specific approaches and methods to studying those challenges to develop innovative, evidence-based policy recommendations. HUD seeks applicants with demonstrated ability to conduct complex research and devise actionable policy recommendations. At the same time, HUD encourages applicants to propose building on their demonstrated experience to do something new and innovative. HUD encourages the submission of proposals that draw on novel research approaches, including big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence; and novel partnerships such as academic consortia, and collaboration with private entities or other federal agencies. Competitive applications will include action and sustainability plans, creative partnerships and collaboration models, multidisciplinary and holistic methodologies, and new or enhanced theory of change models designed to achieve transformative outcomes.

The funds made available under this NOFA will make awards for recipients to undertake multiple research projects. This will assist in the COE(s) ability to use this work to develop other streams of revenue and grant funding, including from private enterprise and private philanthropic organizations, to support on-going and sustainable operations and activities.

HUD is particularly interested in research that may include, as noted in the Presidential Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, a better understanding of the disparities in our laws and public policies, and in our public and private institutions, that may be denying equal housing and community building opportunity to individuals and communities and policy prescriptions that might address these disparities, the results of which would widely be available for application in the field. The subjects addressed by the applicant should be framed by issues of barriers to improving the quality of life and creating paths to increased economic success in underserved communities while improving access to sustainable rental and owner housing, particularly for minority residents. The research should take the view of both short- and long-term strategies. Research must be framed toward a long-term goal (e.g., improving minority homeownership). It may also include, but not limited to:

  • The production and availability of quality affordable housing and
  • Impact studies, policy analysis and alternatives for housing and community and economic development initiatives focused on people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.

Available Funding of $2,375,000 will be used by FY 2020 funds; and$ 2,125,000 will be used by FY 2021 funds for a total of $4,500,000. 

Preference Points: This NOFO offers 2 points for Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Designation

Program Office: Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R)

Funding Opportunity Title: HBCU Research Center of Excellence Program

Assistance Listing Number: 14.506

FR Number:  FR-6400-N-61

OMB Approval Number: 2528-0299

Opening Date: 4/29/21

Due Date for Applications: 7/29/21

Agency Contact:  Questions regarding specific program requirements for this NOFO should be directed to Kinnard.D.Wright@hud.gov. Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number via TTY by calling the toll-free Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339. Please note that HUD staff cannot assist applicants in preparing their applications.

Program NOFO