A growing number of communities across the country are struggling with problems tied to high housing costs, including rising homelessness, fear of displacement among longtime residents, and growing numbers of households unable to afford their rents or mortgages. LocalHousingSolutions.org provides policymakers and practitioners, housing advocates, developers, and concerned community members with a single source of guidance via a library of more than 80 policies to preserve and strengthen affordability and address a range of other housing objectives. The site will be particularly useful for cities, towns, and counties seeking to develop and implement comprehensive and balanced local housing strategies that tackle high housing costs.
LocalHousingSolutions.org allows stakeholders to assess a community’s current housing needs and policy goals. An online questionnaire generates recommendations from the site’s extensive Policy Library. Policy guidance is organized around a four-pronged framework that includes policies for creating and preserving dedicated affordable housing and for removing barriers to the creation of additional market-rate housing – two complementary ways to increase the supply of affordable housing. The framework also provides strategies to help households afford and access private market homes, both in the rental and homeownership markets. These efforts can relieve the intense competition for a limited supply of subsidized units, and help to address historic patterns of segregation. Finally, the site offers policies to protect against displacement and improve housing conditions, critical elements of a fair and effective housing strategy.
“A growing number of cities are confronting challenges that stem from high housing costs” said Ingrid Gould Ellen, Faculty Director at the NYU Furman Center. “Local Housing Solutions provides communities with both the blueprint and tools to develop or enhance housing strategies that promote affordability, stability, quality, and choice.”
The website was developed with input from nationally recognized housing experts and over 40 housing organizations, all working together as part of a National Community of Practice on Local Housing Policy. The guidance provided on LocalHousingSolutions.org is meant to reflect a broad range of views and experiences that can be used by cities, towns, and counties of different sizes and with different levels of resources and capacity.
“Local Housing Solutions benefitted immensely from the guidance of the 14 members of the Community of Practice’s core working group,” said Jeffrey Lubell, Director of Housing and Community Initiatives at Abt Associates. “Their expertise, together with feedback from advisory council, have helped to ensure our guidance is grounded in lessons learned across the U.S.”
The formal launch of LocalHousingSolutions.org marks the start of an iterative process to continually refine the site’s content and usefulness. Stakeholders’ experience with various policies in their local communities will serve as case studies that highlight successes and provide insight into lessons learned. External resources on policy topics linked to housing – public health, transportation, and education – will grow as the site develops a broader user base.
“The flexibility of Local Housing Solutions to evolve based on new knowledge and a changing landscape is one of its key strengths” said Mark Willis, Senior Policy Fellow at the NYU Furman Center. “As communities build housing strategies and put them into practice, the breadth and depth of content will grow.”
This project was jointly funded by the Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. To learn more, visit LocalHousingSolutions.org.
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 Abt Associates: Abt Associates is an engine for social impact, dedicated to moving people from vulnerability to security. Harnessing the power of data and our experts’ insights, we provide research, consulting and technical services globally in the areas of health, environmental and social policy, technology and international development. More information can be found at abtassociates.com.