Quick Tests of Change to Keep Families in Housing: MPHA
After experiencing a spike in the number of residents facing eviction due to late or nonpayment of rent, The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) knew there was a problem. As a provider of housing units to a diverse population of over 6,000, the team needed to act quickly. This pressing issue, which could have led directly to an increase in the homeless population in the Minneapolis area, along with recognition of their need to improve their data collection and usage as an organization, led them to contact Project Evident.
Our engagement with the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority focused on empowering their data team to conduct rapid cycle evaluations (RCEs) in-house. A one day training session with Project Evident included modules on capacity building, building a learning culture, and technical training on R. The team was able to walk through the steps necessary to conduct a hypothetical experiment, complete with an assessment of the statistics needed to complete the design, and analyze the results.
The team at the MPHA was able to devise and test a low-cost, high impact intervention – placing brightly colored reminders under resident’s doors – against a random control group. The data team at MPHA ran their experiment and found sufficient evidence to make posting fliers standard practice, seeing an increase in payment rate of 3% and late payments and eviction notices drop significantly in the first month within the group that received notices. They used this evidence to scale the intervention across the entire system, and have also ramped up their evidence collection practices.
Project Evident’s work with the MPHA gave them the tools they needed to design and implement a solution that has kept dozens of families in their homes. ]The engagement demonstrated the value of rapid tests of change, bolstered by training, team buy-in and solid infrastructure.