Housing Solutions Lab

Helping cities plan, launch, and evaluate equitable housing policies

On this page

On this page

2022 Peer Cities Network FAQ

What is the Housing Solutions Lab?

The Housing Solutions Lab (Lab) at NYU Furman Center works with cities across the country to design, monitor, and evaluate promising local housing policies. With funding support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Lab seeks to help cities advance evidence-based local housing policies that promote racial equity; increase access to opportunity; and support resident health and well-being. The Lab serves cities of all sizes, with a focus on small and midsize cities (those with populations of 50,000-500,000 residents).

Why is this opportunity only available to small and midsize cities?

The learning opportunities, resources and curriculum for the Peer Cities Network (Network) are specifically designed to benefit housing policy leaders in small and midsize cities. Although these cities face their own array of complex housing challenges – from disinvestment and concentrated poverty to housing instability and affordability gaps, we also know they are uniquely poised for innovation. While they may be more nimble, more plugged in to their communities, more apt to experiment and innovate, and less siloed or encumbered by bureaucracy than their large city peers, they may also lack the staffing, resources, or autonomy of larger cities. The Lab’s goal is to help fill these capacity gaps by providing policy, data, and research support and facilitating peer learning opportunities among city leaders in pursuit of equitable housing solutions. To learn more about our work with small and midsize cities, click here.

Do you accept applications from multiple smaller cities working towards shared housing goals or counties with fewer than 50,000 residents?

Yes. We recognize that some cities with fewer than 50,000 residents may want to collaborate with neighboring communities to address housing challenges through a regional approach. We welcome joint applications from multiple cities or a city with a representative from its respective county, as long as the total population meets the minimum 50,000 residents threshold.

How much does it cost to participate in the Network?

There is no cost to participate in the Network.

What is the expected monthly time commitment for participating in the Network?

Participants are expected to attend an hour-long monthly meeting, which will typically include time for both interactive presentations and discussion. Depending on the housing policy area of focus for the month, individual city teams may need to meet outside of the full cohort meeting or with Lab staff. Participants should expect to commit to 2-3 hours per month for successful engagement with the Network.

Can we swap city team members throughout the course of the Network?

We expect participants to remain consistent through the entirety of the Network. If a change in participants is needed for some reason (e.g. staff turnover), the city team should plan to notify and meet with Lab staff.

What are some of the ways that the Housing Solutions Lab can help our city through research and technical assistance?

The primary way the Housing Solutions Lab may assist Network cities is through offering research expertise in designing, implementing, and evaluating local housing policies. The Lab can also offer technical assistance by providing relevant resources and connecting your city with TA providers, other experts, and/or other cities with similar issues or needs. We can also provide guidance on how to use the Lab’s Housing Needs Assessment data tool or feedback on proposed policies, offer examples of best practices in policy development, and connect your city to other cities who have implemented similar policies.

Opportunities to discuss potential research support and technical assistance will be a part of quarterly city team meetings with Lab staff.

How do I apply to be in the Peer Cities Network?

The application is accessible here until February 25, 2022. You can also preview the questions here and prepare your responses in a word document with your teammates. Make sure to copy and paste your responses to all questions when you are ready to submit your application.

May I save and return to my application at a later date?

Yes. The application software records your IP address. Therefore, it recognizes when you are accessing the application from the same computer as the one on which you started the application. However, you cannot access an application in progress on a different computer. If you need time to draft your answers or collaborate with your prospective team members prior to submitting, we recommend you review the questions here and compile responses in advance of your submission.

How useful was this page?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.