By Todd Baker
The Housing Solutions Lab, with our partner Abt Associates, is proud to introduce two new, self-led online training modules to help local government officials and their partners learn the fundamentals of housing policy. These trainings are our latest digital resource to help cities develop and implement comprehensive, balanced, and equitable local housing strategies.
Each module takes approximately one hour to complete, although users can go at their own pace. Modules can be taken separately or in combination, and course takers and can opt to download certificates of completion after they complete each.
Our first training, Core Concepts, provides a basic overview of housing affordability: how is it defined and measured, why is it such a widespread challenge, and how can localities fund and implement solutions? This training is an excellent professional development and learning opportunity for anyone whose work intersects with issues of housing affordability, including mayoral or city council staff, nonprofit service providers, health and education officials, and more.
Using videos, flash cards, interactive quizzes, and other self-paced activities, Core Concepts outlines the basic challenges facing local jurisdictions today, as well as some of the most successful tools available for ensuring safe, healthy, and affordable housing.
Interactive features help users understand the basic mechanisms of housing affordability, such as how developments are financed.
For officials with more direct oversight of housing policy, the follow-up module, Developing a Strategy, guides users through the next stages of turning knowledge into action. This more advanced training will help housing policymakers navigate the process of creating a comprehensive local housing strategy.
A local housing strategy is a detailed and wide-ranging plan in which a local government outlines all of its housing objectives and its path to meeting them. The strategy should coordinate all of the agencies and divisions that administer programs affecting housing and take advantage of every option in a locality’s policy toolbox.
This module teaches users which stakeholders to engage and how, what metrics might be insightful and where to find them, among other topics. In addition, the Developing a Strategy training guides housing planners through Local Housing Solutions’ four pillars of housing policy, our framework for structuring a comprehensive local housing strategy. It also includes a video guide to using LHS’s Housing Needs Assessment tool, an invaluable data resource for gauging local needs.
Learn how to use the Housing Needs Assessment tool to generate customized reports on local demographics, affordability metrics, housing stock characteristics, and more, for any U.S. Census Bureau jurisdiction.
Both modules include links to Local Housing Solutions’ expansive Housing Policy Library, which contains a wealth of information on topics ranging from conducting virtual community engagement to methods for tracking vacant properties. These policy briefs offer detailed policy explanations, resources, and examples from around the country, providing practical lessons for local housing officials.
If you would like to learn more about our online courses or other ways to connect with us, Ask the Lab.