The City of Arlington announced its participation in a nationally funded policy initiative for small and midsize cities to advance innovative, evidence-based solutions to address their pressing housing challenges.
The Housing Solutions Lab, led by an interdisciplinary team from the New York University Furman Center with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will help cities to plan, develop, implement, monitor, and evaluate promising local housing policies that advance equity and opportunity for Arlington residents. While large coastal cities often receive the majority of policy attention for their housing challenges, the Housing Solutions Lab will focus on serving cities with populations under 500,000. Learn more about the Housing Solutions Lab.
“The Housing Solutions Lab provides an opportunity for Arlington to learn about innovative programs that address housing challenges that are being offered in similarly situated cities,” Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said. “Recent discussions have focused on best practices in providing rental assistance to families economically impacted during the coronavirus pandemic and how to prioritize the additional funding coming from various sources to meet urgent housing needs in our community.”
The opportunity to participate in the Housing Solutions lab came along at an important time for Arlington, where we are focused on making housing equitable for all incomes, races, and ethnicities. Arlington recently convened a Unity Council with a resulting data-driven report on equity and inclusion in housing, health and wellness, education and workforce training, and policing and criminal justice.
New ideas have been discussed during the lab, which will help the City find innovative solutions to many of the issues identified in the Unity Council report, Williams said.
In order to foster shared learning and innovation among city leaders, one component of the Lab’s work will be to host housing policy peer networks with cities across the country. Arlington was selected to participate in the inaugural group, which also includes Boulder, CO; Cleveland, OH; Jackson, MI; Oakland, CA; Pittsburgh, PA; and Syracuse, NY.
The Housing Solutions Lab provides the following services to cities:
- Policy and Data Analysis: Helping cities to use data to design, adapt and monitor local housing programs and policies
- Policy Evaluations: Developing and conducting evaluations to examine the effectiveness of local housing policies and programs
- Technical Assistance: Assisting cities with real-time policy and program implementation
- Peer Support: Facilitating connections between city leaders to foster shared learning, support, and innovation
- Dissemination: Collaborating with localities to develop and disseminate policy products that highlight successful strategies and outcomes
“Through our first Housing Solutions peer network, we’ve gained incredibly valuable insights into the ways that small and midsize cities are tackling housing instability and a variety of other concerns, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis.” said Martha Galvez, Executive Director of the Housing Solutions Lab. “Working with Arlington and the other network cities has helped lay the foundation for our new Housing Solutions Lab, which will take the next step to identify and share the most successful policy solutions that are steeped in values of racial equity, cross-sector collaboration, and elevating the voice of marginalized communities.”