Housing Solutions Workshop

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Call for Applications

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The Housing Solutions Workshop is a four-week intensive virtual program of seminars, strategic consultation, and team-building created by NYU Furman Center’s Housing
Solutions Lab, Abt Associates, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. The Workshop aims to help small and midsize cities and counties—those with populations between 50,000 and 500,000—as they develop and implement comprehensive housing strategies to better meet their affordability and other housing challenges.

Running from October 25 to November 18, 2021, the Housing Solutions Workshop will include eight 90-to-120-minute virtual training sessions. Sessions are expected to be held on Mondays and Thursdays each week, with specific times determined after applicants are selected to participate in the Workshop. Delegations from four localities will be selected through a competitive process to take part in the Workshop. 

There is no cost to cities for participation in the Workshop.

Why apply

The Workshop is designed to help participating localities:

  1. make substantial progress in developing and implementing their local housing strategies and
  2. build valuable relationships within and among localities to help develop networks that participants can tap into for future collaboration and continued learning. 

Who should apply

The Workshop is intended for cities or counties that are at the early stages of developing a local housing strategy. Applicants should have a strong commitment to developing a new comprehensive and balanced local housing strategy or refining a strategy that is older, outdated, or narrowly focused. Because the Workshop will focus on developing comprehensive and balanced local housing strategies, it is not well suited for localities that have recently developed one.

Planned Activities

The Workshop will combine asynchronous learning, group discussions with peer localities and working sessions in which each locality focuses on its specific housing challenges and develops its policy toolkit. The Workshop will help accelerate the process of developing and refining a comprehensive and balanced local housing strategy. Participants will:

  • Share their local housing challenges and policies with other participating localities and Housing Solutions Lab facilitators to obtain feedback
  • Participate in small group discussions with peers from other localities to share ideas for how to optimize each agency’s policy toolkit
  • Identify options for strengthening local housing strategies and improving coordination across departments / agencies
  • Learn about ways to use data to assess housing needs and track progress
  • Learn ways to engage the community to address housing challenges and advance equity

Facilitators and staff

The Workshop will be led jointly by staff of Abt Associates and the NYU Furman Center’s Housing Solutions Lab. Facilitators will include: 

  • Jeffrey Lubell, Principal Associate and Director of Housing & Community Initiatives, Abt Associates
  • Stephen Whitlow, Senior Associate, Abt Associates
  • Ingrid Gould Ellen, Paulette Goddard Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at NYU Wagner, NYU Furman Center Faculty Director 
  • Mark A. Willis, Senior Policy Fellow, NYU Furman Center
  • Martha Galvez, Executive Director, Housing Solutions Lab, NYU Furman Center

In addition to these core staff, Abt Associates, the NYU Furman Center, and the Lincoln Institute may invite guest faculty to contribute to specific sessions of the Workshop.

Eligibility criteria

Localities must meet the following minimum eligibility criteria to be considered for the Housing Solutions Workshop:

  • Be a small or midsize city or county in the U. S. (population between 50,000 – 500,000) that has not recently developed a comprehensive local housing strategy. Joint applications—for example, one city and the surrounding county or two adjacent cities located in one county—may also be submitted if each of the following conditions are met:
    • at least one of the localities has a population of at least 50,000,
    • the combined population of the localities is no greater than 500,000, and
    • the localities can demonstrate previous collaboration on housing policies and a commitment to future collaboration on a local housing strategy.
  • Have a demonstrated interest in developing or refining a comprehensive local housing strategy, including evidence of recent steps taken by the city / county that indicate its commitment to addressing housing challenges. This may include passage or consideration of one or more housing policies, or public statements from the mayor or other senior officials of the need to address housing problems.
  • Identify a delegation of five-to-six participants from local city / county agencies or other partner organizations to jointly participate in the training; at least four participants should be senior local government officials. Partners should represent government agencies or external stakeholders with key roles in housing planning and implementation and community engagement; participants should represent senior leadership with decision-making authority to influence and advance the strategies developed during the training in their communities and organizations. See the section below on recommended makeup of city delegations for more information.
For additional selection criteria, please review the full Call for Applications.

Recommended makeup of city delegations

Applicants must send delegations of five-to-six senior leaders – generally, heads or deputies – of city / county or partner agencies that are critical actors in the development of a comprehensive, balanced, and coordinated local housing strategy. We expect that delegations will include no less than four local government representatives. Applicants may also choose participants from external partners that are essential to and closely involved in the city’s housing strategy. 

  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to include both the public housing authority that serves the city and the city agency most involved in the production of affordable rental housing (e.g., usually the city housing department or redevelopment authority). 
  • In addition to these agencies, other local government agencies may include the planning department, planning or zoning commission, continuum of care, local housing finance agency, local or regional transit authority, or a special purpose agency set up to oversee the implementation of a neighborhood or area plan or tax increment financing district. 
  • Other departments or agencies, nonprofit organizations, or legislative leaders, can also be represented in a locality’s delegation as long as they are key actors whose collaboration is needed to advance and implement the locality’s housing strategy. Nonprofit partners may include, for example, organizations that advocate for local housing policies or implement housing programs, developers of affordable housing, and foundations and community organizations that support local housing and community development.   
  • In localities with a Chief Housing Officer or in which the Mayor or City Manager’s office otherwise plays an active role in coordinating housing policies across agencies, the coordinating official is strongly encouraged to participate.

Key dates

Applications due: September 10, 2021, 11:59PM ET

Finalist phone interviews: September 20 to 24, 2021

Selection notification: October 4, 2021

Workshop dates: October 25 through November 18, 2021 (by Zoom or other virtual platform)


Review the full Call for Applications.

Questions about the application process or Workshop? Contact HSW@abtassoc.com. 

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