Roundtable: Improving Outcomes for Residents of Subsidized Housing: Using Administrative Data to Inform Policy and Program Implementation
(Housing, Community Development, and Urban Policy)

Saturday, November 10, 2018: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
8219 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Moderators:  Evan White, California Policy Lab
Speakers:  Katherine O'Regan, New York University, Susan Popkin, Urban Institute, Vincent Reina, University of Pennsylvania and Leslie Dubbin, University of California, San Francisco

Drawing on this year’s conference theme, “Evidence for Action,” this roundtable will focus on the use of administrative data to improve outcomes for residents living in subsidized housing, including Section 8, public housing, and Low Income Housing Tax Credit units.  For the past three decades, housing policy has focused on improving outcomes for these residents, through both mobility (e.g., Moving to Opportunity) and place-based policies (e.g., HOPE VI).  Yet collecting data on the impact of these strategies is time and resource intensive, leading to significant interest in using administrative data to track outcomes over the long-term. Administrative data can allow for longitudinal analyses, quasi-experimental or randomized control trial methods, and can lead to cross-sectoral analyses of program barriers or impacts (e.g., by combining data across multiple domains, such as mental health services, criminal justice, and housing). In addition, local governments are increasingly being asked to demonstrate the effectiveness of their programs and to use data to better target interventions.  These concurrent trends have sparked a wide array of efforts to use administrative data to inform housing and social policies for residents living in subsidized housing.  But these efforts are not without their challenges, including conflicting research priorities, difficulty gaining access to the data, concerns about privacy and confidentiality, linking across data sources, data quality, and the need for more robust analytical techniques.

The roundtable is designed to explore the challenges and benefits of using administrative data to improve outcomes for residents living in subsidized housing.  The roundtable participants are using data from sectors as diverse as public health (hospital admissions records), education (child-level educational records), employment (welfare and workforce agency wage records), and criminal justice (juvenile court records).  Participants also have worked to develop research partnerships with local public health or public housing agencies to use the data to inform policy and practice, and have grappled with the politics of research that emerge when working with local agencies.  During the roundtable, these experts will share experiences from their own research, focusing on questions such as:

  • What are the benefits of using administrative data to better understand outcomes among residents living in subsidized housing? How can these data be leveraged to answer complex research questions?
  • What questions motivate local agencies, and how do we bridge the different priorities of researchers and practitioners? How can researchers build the capacity of local agencies to use data and research for program implementation and improvement?
  • What are the challenges around gaining access to administrative data, including governance and concerns about privacy, and what are some strategies for addressing them?
  • What approaches are effective in linking disparate data sources? How have researchers addressed issues related to data quality and documentation?
  • How can we use administrative data for longitudinal, experimental or quasi-experimental research designs?
  • What analytic techniques have been, or need to be, developed to better leverage administrative data for program evaluation?