Evaluation Design for the Homeowner Assistance Fund
What was the challenge?
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021 provided $9.96 billion of funding to address the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing payment assistance for homeowners through the Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF). HAF is a U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) program that provides funding to states, territories, and other entities to prevent mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, and the loss of utilities or home energy services. The program prioritizes funds for homeowners who have experienced financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
What did we do?
OES partnered with Treasury to identify and recommend data sources and evaluation opportunities to build evidence about the HAF program. OES compiled a literature review examining homeownership challenges faced by individuals from socially disadvantaged groups. Based on this review, OES developed a list of data sources to help assess homeowner outcomes, particularly among socially disadvantaged individuals. OES then designed descriptive and impact evaluation options to assess outcomes related to equity.
What did we learn?
OES identified a number of short-term and longer-term evidence-building activities that can utilize existing administrative data in order to build evidence about the role of the HAF program in improving outcomes for historically socially disadvantaged groups.