The City of Oakland 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 Oakland’s 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.
“To deliver more housing affordability and security for our residents, cities need comprehensive policy changes,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said. “I’m proud of Oakland’s leadership in creating new housing policies that promote flexibility and innovation and redefine what makes a ‘home’ a home.”
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. Oakland was selected to participate in the inaugural group, which also includes Arlington, TX; Boulder, CO; Cleveland, OH; Jackson, MS; Pittsburgh, PA; and Syracuse, NY.
The City’s Housing & Community Development Department will continue working with the Furman Center on information and resource sharing. The groups work together strategizing effective and efficient policy solutions around rental assistance, eviction mediation efforts, and building the City’s data capacity to advance equitable housing policies.
“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 Oakland 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.”
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
About the NYU Furman Center:
The NYU Furman Center advances research and debate on housing, neighborhoods, and urban policy. Established in 1995, it is a joint center of the New York University School of Law and the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. More information can be found at furmancenter.org and @FurmanCenterNYU.
About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:
For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being.
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