Housing Solutions Lab
Helping cities plan, launch, and evaluate equitable housing policies
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About the Lab
Why we work with small and midsize cities
While housing needs in larger and coastal cities receive the most national attention, small and midsize cities—those with populations between 50,000 and 500,000—face their own array of complex housing challenges—from disinvestment and concentrated poverty to housing instability and affordability gaps.
Small and midsize cities are ripe for innovation. Smaller cities can be more nimble and less encumbered by bureaucracy than their large city peers, and better able to engage higher levels of leadership, gain visibility for promising strategies, and build trust and engagement with the wider community. But they are also less likely to benefit from the philanthropic and corporate support present in larger places, or have the necessary staffing, resources, and access to data, best practice or specialized expertise needed to develop and implement effective housing responses.
The unaffordability of rental housing in these cities disproportionately affects people of color, who are more likely to be renters, and gaps in homeownership rates between white, Black and Latino households—already substantial in large cities—are even wider in small and midsize cities.
Working with the Lab
The Lab offers customized resources and tools on its Local Housing Solutions website, engages city leaders in peer learning opportunities, and can provide cities with policy and data analysis support.
We provide the following services:
- Policy and data analysis: We help cities understand housing policy options, and to use data to design, adapt, and monitor local housing programs and policies.
- Policy evaluations: We design and conduct rigorous evaluations to study the effectiveness of local housing policies and programs.
- Technical assistance: We work directly with cities on real-time policy and program implementation questions, and connect cities to targeted technical expertise.
- Peer support: We facilitate connections among city leaders to foster learning, support, and innovation.
- Dissemination: We collaborate with local governments to develop and distribute accessible, timely, policy-relevant products that highlight successful strategies and outcomes.
The Lab’s work elevates strategies for meaningful community engagement and civic leadership in policy development, and centers resident voice and priorities. Our approach also considers the nexus between housing and other policy areas, including education, health, and economic and community development, by encouraging collaboration across government agencies, with nonprofit organizations, and with other community stakeholders.
City representatives can contact us directly for more information or assistance with a housing policy question, or apply to participate in a Housing Solutions Lab Peer Cities Network.
The Lab is an interdisciplinary team of housing research and policy experts housed at the NYU Furman Center. NYU Furman Center is a joint initiative of the NYU School of Law and Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Martha Galvez is the Executive Director of the Housing Solutions Lab. Her expertise is in housing and homelessness policy, with a focus on policies and programs that strengthen housing stability and neighborhood choice for low-income families. She has experience in mixed-methods research, and has designed and led studies involving complex administrative, survey, and qualitative data. Prior to joining the Lab, she was a Principal Research Associate at the Urban Institute. She has also held policy and research positions in several state and local research organizations, including the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services’ Research and Data Analysis division, the West Coast Poverty Center at the University of Washington, the Seattle Housing Authority, the New York City Department of Small Business Services, and the New York City Citizens Housing and Planning Council. Galvez earned an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in Urban Planning and PhD in public policy and administration from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.
Camille Watson is Director of Strategy and Policy, leading the Lab’s strategic direction and cross-sector policy initiatives. She is interested in the intersection of health, neighborhoods and housing. Prior to joining the Furman Center, she led policy projects on social determinants of child health at the American Academy of Pediatrics, with a focus on poverty and inequality. At Health Care for All (MA), she advocated for cross-sector policy reforms and investments to reduce health disparities. She has also managed community-based research in public housing developments. She earned her Master’s degree from the Harvard University School of Public Health.
Sophie House is the Law and Policy Director at the Housing Solutions Lab. Before joining the Lab, Sophie was a Legal Fellow at the NYU Furman Center. She also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Andrew D. Hurwitz of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She is a graduate of Yale Law School, where she worked with local government attorneys through the San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project and represented low-income clients in housing proceedings at the Urban Justice Center and New Haven Legal Assistance. She holds a B.A. in Economics from New York University and an MPhil in Comparative Social Policy from the University of Oxford. Sophie’s research focuses on how cities approach challenges related to housing instability, homelessness, and the use of public space.
Carl Hedman is a Housing Solutions Lab Policy Research Fellow at the NYU Furman Center. Before joining Furman, Carl served as a Rappaport Public Policy Fellow at City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development, where he supported efforts to expand the City’s low-cost rental housing acquisition program. Prior to that, he worked as a research analyst at the Urban Institute on a series of mixed-method research projects exploring policy issues related to racial segregation, housing affordability, economic development, and consumer protection. Carl received a B.A. in economics from Reed College and Master of City Planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research focuses on how cities advance racial equity in housing and increase the supply of housing that is affordable to low- and moderate-income households.
Jess Wunsch is the Peer Cities Manager at the Housing Solutions Lab. Prior to joining the Furman Center, she was a policy analyst at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy where she supported the Legacy Cities Initiative, a national network of local leaders from post-industrial cities working to increase access to opportunity and improve quality of life for residents. She also served as a Hatfield Fellow at the Oregon Department of Housing and Community Services where she focused on improving foreclosure prevention programs and has held several local government roles in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Greensboro, North Carolina. Her primary interests include innovative approaches to housing and land use policy and the role of community-based research in informing public decision making. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Ithaca College and MPP and MURP degrees from the University of Michigan.
Yuju Park is the Housing Solutions Lab Technical Assistance Manager at the NYU Furman Center. Before joining the Lab, Yuju worked in affordable housing advocacy in Silicon Valley and conducted research with UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation and the Center for Community Innovation. Prior to that, she worked as a Research Analyst at the Urban Institute on projects focused on child welfare and community and economic development. Yuju received a B.A. in Sociology from Bryn Mawr College and a Master of City Planning from University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include alternative homeownership models, social and public housing, and the intersections between housing and transportation policy.
Ruben Anguiano is a Predoctoral Research Fellow at the NYU Furman Center and Housing Solutions Lab. He recently graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Urban Studies and an M.A. in Sociology. During his undergraduate studies, he was a research assistant for the Changing Cities Research Lab at Stanford, interned at the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and was an academy fellow for the Policy Academies. He is interested in neighborhood change, housing justice, and housing policy’s impact on low-income communities of color.
Ellie Lochhead is a Predoctoral Research Fellow at the NYU Furman Center and the Housing Solutions Lab. She received an M.S. in Economics and Urban Planning from Tufts University and a B.A. in Economics and Public Policy from the University of Denver. Her research interests include urban economics and housing policy with a particular focus on issues of housing stability, rent burden, eviction, and homelessness.
Ingrid Gould Ellen is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and Faculty Director of the NYU Furman Center. Her research centers on neighborhoods, housing, and residential segregation. Ingrid is the co-editor of The Dream Revisited: Contemporary Debates About Housing, Segregation, and Opportunity (Columbia University Press, 2018). She is also the author of Sharing America’s Neighborhoods: The Prospects for Stable Racial Integration (Harvard University Press, 2000) and editor of How to House the Homeless (Russell Sage Foundation, 2010). She attended Harvard University, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics, an M.P.P., and a Ph.D. in Public Policy.
Katherine O’Regan is Professor of Public Policy and Planning and Faculty Director of NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. She spent April, 2014 through January, 2017 in the Obama Administration, serving as the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Her primary research interests are at the intersection of poverty and space—the conditions and fortunes of poor neighborhoods and those who live in them. Her recent research includes work on a wide variety of affordable housing topics, from whether the Low Income Tax Credit contributes to increased economic and racial segregation, to whether the presence of housing voucher households contributes to neighborhood crime. Her board work includes serving on the board of the Reinvestment Fund, one of the largest community development financial institutions in the U.S. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley and spent ten years teaching at the Yale School of Management prior to joining the Wagner faculty in 2000.