Student Reports

Spring 2022

Professors Douglas Besharov, Douglas Call, and Carl DeLorenzo


In Spring 2022, students worked with the Frederick County Department of Housing and Community Development, Howard County Department of Housing and Community Development, Howard County Immigrant Behavioral Health Services Program, Maryland Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention, Washington District of Columbia (DC) Office of the State Superintendent of Education, U.S. Department of Education Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Cornerstone Community Housing, and the Washington District of Columbia (DC) Network for Victim Recovery of DC. Students performed a wide variety of analyses, including needs assessment, performance measure development, policy analysis, process evaluation, and program design assessment.

The following are projects prepared by students. They are listed in order of clients.

Note: The associated files are best viewed using Adobe Reader. To get the software, go to http://get.adobe.com/reader/




County Government

Frederick County Department of Housing and Community Development

1. Designing an Eviction Prevention Program.

Presentation

2. Emergency Housing Rehabilitation Program: Implementation Evaluation. The Frederick County, Maryland government consists of 20 departments which handle matters ranging from Citizens Services to Planning and Permitting. As a whole, the mission of the Citizens Services Department is to supply client-centered housing, services, and resources at little to no-cost. Within the Citizens Services Department there are 6 divisions, one of which is the Housing and Community Development Division. This division offers various programs to Frederick County residents to include rental programs, homebuyer programs, and most relevant to this study, housing rehabilitation programs. The two most prevalent housing and rehabilitation sub-programs are the Emergency Rehab Loan Program and the Senior Rehab Grant Program; both programs provide financial assistance and services to repair the homes of low-income persons and/or low-income seniors (Frederick County Government, 2022). This report examines the Emergency Rehab Loan Program and the Senior Rehab Grant Program in detail for the purpose formulating measurable observation and evaluation

Paper Presentation

3. Legacy of Historical Housing Discrimination in Frederick County, MD. The research questions I was tasked with answering were as follows: how has historical discrimination manifested in Frederick County, how is that history reflected in current community needs, and what current programming best addresses those needs? The resulting project allows Frederick County officials to know which of their programs best addresses current community needs related to historical housing discrimination. Combined with equity analysis, this can be a very effective tool for the county to address housing inequality. Housing discrimination has manifested in Frederick County mainly through suburbanized segregation. Combined with business discrimination, disparate government services, and a wide wealth gap, Black and low-income households have less access to homeownership and are more likely to have lower home values. The most pressing community need, particularly for low-income households, is currently the affordability of rental housing. There is a gap in the market for households making less than $50,000. However, homeownership should still be a possible future reality for renters, so the county should also seek to increase the supply of affordable homes in the long-term. The program that best addresses current community needs related to historical housing discrimination is the Housing Choice Voucher Program as it increases access to affordable renting. However, as homeownership is a key piece of historical housing discrimination and increasing the supply of affordable homes should be a long-term county goal. An expanded and targeted Homebuyer Assistance Program and purposeful development priorities for example could be the county strategy. Other general recommendations include updating housing needs information, a specific focus on racial data collection and analysis, permanent rental registration procedures, and a departmental prioritization of housing inequality.

Paper

Howard County Department of Housing and Community Development

4. Policy Analysis of Home Renovation Programs for Howard County. My client, Kelly Cimino, Director of Howard County’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), seeks to explore ways to revitalize older neighborhoods and increase affordable housing availability and accessibility for households earning below 80% Area Median Income (AMI). This report will assist the DHCD in identifying and evaluating different housing renovation programs implemented across comparable jurisdictions. It aims to determine which revitalization program or combination of programs would be most suitable for the Howard County DHCD to adopt. The County desired the scope of this program to focus on housing renovation, particularly for single family detached, townhomes, and condominiums. Notably, most current programs incorporate housing renovation as only one among many components of accessible, affordable, and equitable housing initiatives. Nonetheless, it can be useful to see how the housing renovation components are funded, implemented, and evaluated in these multifaceted programs.

Paper Presentation

Howard County Immigrant Behavioral Health Services Program

5. An Evaluation of the Immigrant Behavioral Health Services Program in Howard County. The Immigrant Behavioral Health Services Program (IBHS) is a short-term referral program offered to foreign born individuals who are living in Howard County MD, are low income, and do not qualify for services through the public behavioral health system. The IBHS Program provides outpatient referrals for counseling and psychiatric medication needs. The type of project I will be conducting is an implementation evaluation. This evaluation will be conducted to identify existing strengths and weaknesses to ultimately present recommendations to improve program service delivery.

Paper Presentation

State Government

Maryland Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention

6. Maryland Evidence-Based Program Needs Assessment. The following report goes over the needs assessment conducted on Maryland EvidenceBased Programs (EBPs). The first section is a review and description of the EBPs mentioned in this paper. The second section lays out the methodology for the needs assessment, which employs survey and interview methods to gather information, and then an information verification process. The next section analyzes the information contained in the responses: how many responses from each jurisdiction, what types of stakeholders answered, how many conflicting responses were received, and how many EBPs were indicated to be present. The fourth section analyzes the verified information, utilizing maps to depict the number of EBP models each jurisdiction has, and then disaggregating the data into one of seven categories of EBPs. The report ends by presenting the assessed needs.

Paper Presentation

Washington District of Columbia (DC) Office of the State Superintendent of Education

7. An Analysis of DC Futures Online Pilot Program Application and Potential Factors that Influence the Pilot Application Accessibility to Participants. In our third year of living amid a pandemic, we have seen it cause tremendous financial hardships for students and families who want to pursue higher education. In addition, it adds stress to students' mental and physical health. Local governments have implemented new measures to help mitigate some of these expenses. In particular, Washington, DC has launched a new scholarship program called DC Futures. In addition, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education in 2021 requested federal funding to launch the DC Futures Scholarship Program. This paper will evaluate the DC Futures online pilot application that opened in October 2021 and assess if the online pilot application was easy to navigate for applicants. Finally, in my capstone, I conducted ten interviews with applicants and provided results and recommendations to use in the future. This paper analyses and explores the benefits and implications of the program in Washington DC, including the opportunities it presents for learning, education, and long-term economic growth and development of the pilot capstone program.

Paper

Federal Government

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

8. Using Suppressed Data for Program or Policy Improvement: A Policy Analysis. The Department of Education’s public EdDataExpress database contains educationrelated data for each state, county, and school district across the United States. This tool contains numerous data samples for many needs that users could have within the policymaking and education sphere. Despite this, much of the data is considered not useful as it is suppressed into ranges or non-numerical values due to privacy and information laws. This results in a question of how to interpret this suppressed data so that user may use these data samples to conduct analyses and make policy decisions? The recommendation for the Department is to offer two methods. The primary method is the Weighted method for its accuracy and inherit control for bias and skewed data. The Substitution method should also be offered in quick format to allow more average knowledge users of Excel and the subject area to efficiently digest data samples in a mostly accurate way.

Paper Presentation

9. Program Evaluation from an Equitable Lens. This project focuses on the development of equitable performance measures for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education’s discretionary grant programs. Performance measure criterion are based on current relevant studies and organizations focused on equity. Following this project, it is recommended that OESE develops personal equitable goals and priorities that will better inform their program evaluation.

Paper Presentation

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation

10. Implications of Shared Housing: A Systematic Research Review of “Doubled-Up” and Multigenerational Living Arrangements. Americans increasingly enter shared housing arrangements with nonkin and extended family members out of necessity and by choice. This project involved a systematic review of the research and literature related to shared living arrangements. Quantitative and qualitative sources were reviewed, and sources were screened using inclusion/exclusion criteria, a bias tool, and a quality tool. Four research questions guided the work to identify the types of shared housing, motivations for individuals to enter shared housing arrangements, the social/economic/health outcomes related to shared housing, and the potential impact of shared housing on social program delivery and use. The research suggested that multigenerational living may offer unique social and economic benefits for individual household members. In doubled-up arrangements, the ability to share economic resources among household members may be outweighed by negative physical, mental, and social consequences. That said, the advantages and disadvantages of living in shared households are complex and vary across individual household members. More research is needed to determine the implications of shared housing for program delivery and use.

Paper Presentation

U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development

11. Housing and Community Development Initiatives by HBCUs: Three Case Studies. Highlight and evaluate HBCU housing and community development programs that are funded by HUD grants.

Presentation

12. What You Breathe Matters: Environmental Health and Public Housing Authority Locations of Baltimore, Maryland. The primary goal of this paper is to explore the environmental health impact of housing policies and practices on public housing sites in Baltimore, Maryland. It also serves to provide the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with secondary research and analysis that will hopefully further raise agency awareness of environmental racism. Robert D. Bullard asserts that environmental racism extends to the export of hazardous waste, risky technologies, and pesticides and the application of non-sustainable and exploited development models to the Third World just as it has been targeted toward people of color, working-class people, and poor people in this country (Bullard, 1994). Prior research has found a connection between the environmental and construction quality in housing with racial equity and income disparity. Furthermore, health indicators like asthma rates, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cardiovascular disease manifestation have been associated with poor air quality. The paper reviews the historical context of environmental racism to better understand how redlining, segregation, blockbusting, and structural racism created hazardous environments for Blacks. There is a particular focus on land use and zoning practices and their relation to housing sites’ proximity to polluters and environmental racism. Additionally, the paper analyzes the role of HUD’s public housing initiatives while determining the regulatory barriers to implementing effective environmental justice efforts related to housing. It concludes with an identification of successful initiatives and programs that look to address the issue and offers recommendations based on local efforts.

Paper

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)

13. Broadband Adoption in Low-Income Urban Communities. The Digital Divide represents a significant challenge in protecting the economic, social, political, and equitable well-being of many Americans. Across the country millions of Americans in rural and urban low-income communities struggle with accessing and utilizing broadband services. In urban low-income communities they most frequently struggle with barriers to adoption such as cost, lack on information about available resources, and devices access. This report finds the Federal Government provides insufficient support for issues of broadband “adoption.” The Federal Government, specifically the Federal Communications Commission and Congress, must take steps to improve these gaps and address the Digital Divide in lowincome urban communities. This report recommends the Federal Communications Commission begins regulating broadband as a public utility and increases baseline service requirements. Further, Congress can help close gaps in device access by introducing programs that help provide support devices access such as a grant program to support refurbishing devices and increasing the device stipend in the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Paper Presentation

14. Federal Support for Non-Degree Occupation Training. This study seeks to understand to what extent prospective employees can use federal programs such as Pell Grants, Apprenticeships, HPOG, and Dislocated Worker Grants to fund training for in-demand non-degree occupations. I will complete it in three parts. First, I identified ten careers that do not require a four-year college degree, allow individuals to earn annual wages above the federal poverty level, and demand is growing faster than average. Then, for each occupation identified in part 1, minimum education standards, I considered the required training, time certificates, states that require licenses, and any applicable apprenticeships. In the final section, I compared the eligibility requirements for four federal funding programs that prospective students can use to fund occupational training to the occupations from part 1 and the educational standards from part 2.

Paper Presentation

15. Orbital Debris: Sources, Consequences, Solutions, and Regulations. 17,000 miles per hour—that is approximately how fast objects orbit the Earth at an altitude of 150 miles. At that speed, one could travel from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles in less than 10 minutes. Such speed is difficult to truly visualize and is what makes orbital debris so dangerous. A collision between a satellite and debris as small as 10 cm can cause a catastrophic break up. This raises concerns as many countries and private ventures, such as Elon Musk’s Starlink constellation, increase the amount of spacecraft in orbit each year. These launches, in unison with previous collisions and anti-satellite missile tests, have caused the number of orbital debris soaring around the Earth to rapidly increase at a rate unsustainable for critical uninterrupted satellite function. Vital communication, GPS, and weather satellites have burgeoning risk for collision and failure. Due to these concerns, Congress has tasked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) with formulating a comprehensive report on the matter. My role was to perform background research on a range of provided questions which will be detailed in the methodology below. Additionally, current and proposed solutions will be explored along with existing regulations surrounding orbital debris.

Paper Presentation

16. Performance Measures for Evaluating Sustainable Federal Buildings. Over the past two decades, the federal government has placed increasing emphasis on the development and maintenance of sustainable buildings. This transition has been motivated largely by emphases on both cost savings and mitigating contributions to climate change. The General Services Administration (GSA) plays a dual role in sustainability policy, on one hand acting as a policymaking body that advises on sustainability standards for the rest of the federal government, and on the other hand executing those standards in its capacity as the government’s largest civilian landlord. GSA uses a third-party green building certification system, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), for many of its projects, but the full extent to which LEED and other third-party systems encourage design in line with the federal government’s Guiding Principles document remains unclear. This policy analysis discusses the goals that GSA hopes to achieve by maintaining LEED certification requirements and the extent to which GSA has maximized its adherence to LEED’s requirements. This analysis also evaluates the performance measures encouraged by LEED design and concludes by suggesting a set of performance measures that GSA could use to evaluate its buildings’ success in meeting the agency’s sustainability goals. Ultimately, I conclude that LEED plays a valuable, if imperfect, role in encouraging GSA to exercise fidelity to the federal government’s sustainability goals and that GSA should consider additional performance measures beyond those encouraged by LEED.

Paper Presentation

17. Social Benefits of Closing the Digital Divide. It is easy to understand how broadband has become an increasingly important aspect of modern society. Every day, more activities occur online, including work, school, healthcare appointments, and other social activities. This importance has become increasingly important in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has further underscored the importance of the "digital divide" between those that have access to fast and reliable broadband services and those that do not. While specific measures of the prevalence of this divide vary, the consequences of inadequate internet services are clear. Through a comprehensive literature review and policy analysis, this report outlines how the digital divide negatively impacts several social indicators of health, including health, education, the economy, and community relations. In addition, this report includes a policy analysis on successful broadband expansion in several states. In conclusion, this report outlines several considerations for policymakers and other stakeholders interested in broadband policy and the digital divide.

Paper Presentation

Nongovernmental

Cornerstone Community Housing

18. Cornerstone Community Housing Program Implementation Evaluation. The objective of this project and report is to examine the substantive program implementation that Cornerstone Community Housing Inc has been engaged in which is providing transitional and supportive housing to homeless adult men in Baltimore city. It is expected that after talking to the Program Director, staff and residents and evaluating the program being implemented and suggesting recommendations, the results will serve as evidence for transferability to other places with similar characteristics. It is hoped that the recommendations that would be proffered at the end of the program implementation evaluation would serve as added tool for organizational learning and growth. CCH like many other small and large non-profit organization is not immune to challenges. These challenges become even more pronounced as the face of homelessness and the issues surrounding the problem continue to evolve. Baltimore, like many other urban cities faces insufficient public housing. The organization not only struggles with sourcing funding, but also lacks access to affordable housing which it could own and use to expand the pogroms. These issues would all be addressed in this project report.

Paper Presentation

Washington District of Columbia (DC) Network for Victim Recovery of DC

19. Stealthing Policy in the District of Columbia: A Policy Analysis for the Network for Victim Recovery of DC. This policy analysis was written for the Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC), which provides services to victims of all crimes in the District of Columbia, including survivors of sexual violence. After observing an increase in the number of reported cases on non- consensual condom removal—also referred to as “stealthing” (definition below)—NVRDC seeks to explore whether new criminal statutes or civil remedies might be effective tools to mitigate stealthing in the District of Columbia. Nationwide, stealthing has become an increasingly pervasive problem for legal systems and sexual violence advocates, both because it is reported more often and because the vast majority of jurisdictions do not have stealthing-specific statute to ensure that the problem is addressed consistently by the criminal justice system. At present, California is the only state with a stealthing-specific policy, though a small number of other states have debated stealthing policies in recent years; thus, NVRDC also seeks to examine the arguments in favor of and against other legislation in the United States to determine whether strategies used in other jurisdictions may be adaptable to the District of Columbia. Ultimately, NVRDC hopes to use the findings of this analysis to explore the possibility of developing a policy rooted in either criminal or civil statute to address stealthing in the District of Columbia.

Paper Presentation