Press Releases

Housing Solutions Lab Announces Peer Cities Network Selections

March 24th 2022

Housing Solutions Lab Announces Peer Cities Network Selections

Nine Small or Midsize Places Chosen from National Pool of Applicants

New York, NY — The NYU Furman Center’s Housing Solutions Lab announced today the selection of nine city teams to participate in the 2022 Peer Cities Network — a national program for small and midsize city leaders to develop innovative and equitable local housing solutions. In alignment with the Housing Solutions Lab’s mission, the program aims to help city leaders advance effective housing policies that promote racial equity; increase access to opportunity; and improve health and well-being for residents. This is the second year of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-supported initiative, and the cities announced today include:

  • Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Evanston, IL
  • Missoula, MT
  • Pasco, WA
  • Pawtucket/Central Falls, RI
  • Portland, ME
  • Rochester, NY
  • San Marcos, TX

Through this year’s program, the city teams will engage with their peers and policy experts to strategize on emerging and longstanding policy challenges. City teams will receive customized technical assistance, data analysis, and evaluation support to address their local priorities.

"Our goal is to meet cities where they’re at— and offer a range of supports that can be customized to meet their unique housing needs,” said Martha Galvez, Executive Director of the Housing Solutions Lab. “In joining the Peer Cities Network, these leaders will gain access to a national community of experts, practitioners, and researchers to help them plan and launch strategies that leverage housing to expand opportunity.”  

While housing needs in large cities have received no shortage of attention, the Lab homes in on the connections between housing conditions, racial disparities, and health outcomes in small and midsize cities. The communities were chosen following a national Call for Applications, and each selected city exhibited a strong commitment to advancing equitable housing policy in partnership with stakeholders who represent a diversity of resident perspectives. The Network will begin on March 28 and run through December 2022.

The selected teams will work with the Network to strategize on equitable solutions to a wide range of challenges. Some, like Des Moines and Rochester, seek strategies to strengthen the quality of their older stock of buildings requiring extensive investment and maintenance. Others, including Pasco and Missoula confront skyrocketing housing costs that contribute to disparities in housing and neighborhoods. All of the Network cities aim to address cost burden, seeking to reduce the number of households who spend more than a third of income on housing costs. Recognizing that all of the cities' housing challenges have a disproportionate impact on residents with low incomes and often, Black, Latino, and Indigenous communitites, the Network will help cities priortize racial equity in their local efforts.

"We know that structural racism is a root cause of the disparities in health and opportunity that communities of color experience today," said Amy Gillman, Senior Program Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "That is why the Lab is critically focused on the impact of housing policies and practices on race and place-based inequities."

This Network builds on the inagural cohort convened by the Housing Solutions Lab in 2021. The Network served as a national community for seven cities to address COVID related housing challenges, including eviction prevention and rental assistance, as well as the long-standing planning priorities that preceded the pandemic. With the Lab's assistance, housing officials in Boulder, CO improved their approaches to data collection and metrics for tracking outcomes and progress for eviction prevention and rental assistance. Bethlehem, PA, worked with the Housing Solutions Workshop to develop a strategic plan to address homelessness in ways that center resident needs and priorities.

About the Housing Solutions Lab

The Housing Solutions Lab at the NYU Furman Center helps small and midsize cities plan, launch, and evaluate evidence-based local housing policies that advance racial equity; increase access to opportunity; and improve long-term health and wellbeing for residents.            

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 and @FurmanCenterNYU.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is committed to improving health and health equity in the United States. In partnership with others, we are working to develop a Culture of Health rooted in equity that provides every individual with a fair and just opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at