Announcing Our Peer Cities Network Selections

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We are excited to announce the selection of nine city teams to participate in the 2022 Peer Cities Network! The Peer Cities Network aims to help city leaders advance effective housing policies that promote racial equity; increase access to opportunity; and improve health and well-being for residents. This is the second year of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-supported initiative, and the cities announced today include:

  • Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Evanston, IL
  • Missoula, MT
  • Pasco, WA
  • Pawtucket/Central Falls, RI
  • Portland, ME
  • Rochester, NY
  • San Marcos, TX

The city teams will engage with their peers and policy experts to strategize on emerging and longstanding policy challenges. City teams will receive customized technical assistance, data analysis, and evaluation support to address their local priorities.

Our goal is to meet cities where they’re at— and offer a range of supports that can be customized to meet their unique housing needs. In joining the Peer Cities Network, these leaders will gain access to a national community of experts, practitioners, and researchers to help them plan and launch strategies that leverage housing to expand opportunity.

Martha Galvez, Executive Director of the Housing Solutions Lab

The selected teams will work with the Network to strategize on equitable solutions to a wide range of challenges. Some, like Des Moines and Rochester, seek strategies to strengthen the quality of their older stock of buildings requiring extensive investment and maintenance. Others, including Pasco and Missoula confront skyrocketing housing costs that contribute to disparities in housing and neighborhoods. All of the Network cities aim to address cost burden, seeking to reduce the number of residents who spend more than a third of household incomes on housing costs. Recognizing that all of the cities’ housing challenges have a disproportionate impact on residents with low incomes and often, Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities, the Network will help cities prioritize racial equity in their local efforts.

This Network builds on the inaugural cohort convened by the Housing Solutions Lab in 2021. The Network served as a national community for seven cities to address COVID related housing challenges, including eviction prevention and rental assistance, as well as the long-standing planning priorities that preceded the pandemic. With the Lab’s assistance, housing officials in Boulder, CO improved their approaches to data collection and metrics for tracking outcomes and progress for eviction prevention and rental assistance. Bethlehem, PA, worked with the Housing Solutions Workshop to develop a strategic plan to address homelessness in ways that center resident needs and priorities.

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