The Village of Skokie has announced its participation in a national peer learning initiative that will help the Village preserve and improve its diverse housing stock, meet its housing goals, and plan for future housing challenges.
Organized by the Housing Solutions Lab, an interdisciplinary team from the New York University Furman Center and partnering technical assistance providers, the eight-month long initiative will support local housing officials as they seek to address, study, and better understand current and future housing policy challenges in Skokie.
Teams will include senior officials and staff from Network cities, housing agencies and non-profit institutional partners, all of whom share a deep understanding of their local housing context and needs. Areas of focus for this year's Network cities include advancing components of comprehensive housing planning, such as data collection and community engagement, and exploring land trusts.
“The Village has long recognized the importance of good housing policy with the adoption of the state’s first fair housing ordinance in 1967,” said Mayor George Van Dusen. “Participation in the Peer Cities Network puts the Village in the position to learn from others, while continuing to serve as a leader on a national and regional stage in housing policy work.”
Skokie was selected to participate in the third iteration of the Peer Cities Network, which also includes Cheyenne, WY; Jackson, TN; Olympia, WA; and Rapid City, SD.
Through its participation in the initiative, the Village of Skokie, joined by local affordable housing developer Housing Opportunity Development Corporation, will be able to further support the Affordable Housing Policy goals and actions recently approved by the Village Board, including development of a land trust, consideration of an inclusionary housing ordinance, and the creation of a Housing Subcommittee of the Plan Commission to review and update the housing chapter of the Village’s Comprehensive Plan. The ongoing implementation of the Village’s Environmental Sustainability Plan also offers a unique opportunity to link the work of sustainability and housing. The plan notes that 3,500 households in Skokie are energy-cost burdened, meaning more than 6 percent of household income is spent on energy costs.
An important component of the Lab’s work is hosting housing policy peer networks with cities across the country to foster learning and innovation. While large coastal cities often receive the majority of policy attention for their housing challenges, the Housing Solutions Lab focuses on serving small and midsize cities with populations under 500,000. Participants in the Network gain access to expertise in policy and data analysis, policy evaluations, technical assistance, peer support, and help disseminating policy strategies and outcomes.
“Our Housing Solutions Lab peer cities networks provide incredibly valuable insights into the ways that small and midsize cities are tackling housing instability and other local housing concerns,” said Martha Galvez, executive director of the Housing Solutions Lab. “At the same time, they offer city leaders the opportunity to learn from peers from across the nation who are grappling with similar housing challenges.”
About the Housing Solutions Lab: The Housing Solutions Lab at the NYU Furman Center works with cities across the country to design, monitor, and evaluate promising local housing policies. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Lab helps cities advance evidence-based local housing policies that promote racial equity; increase access to opportunity; and support resident health and well-being. The Lab serves cities of all sizes, with a focus on small and midsize cities (those with populations of 50,000 to 500,000).
Learn more about the Housing Solutions Lab.