The NYU Furman Center’s Housing Solutions Lab, Abt Associates, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy announced today that five localities have been selected to participate in the Housing Solutions Workshop — a program to help small and midsize communities develop and implement comprehensive local housing strategies. The selections include Pasco, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Gallatin County, Montana; Huntsville, Alabama; the City & County of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Senior officials from key housing agencies and regional partners in these communities will take part in a series of virtual sessions led by prominent housing experts and researchers.
The selected communities were chosen following a national Call for Applications that generated a number of competitive applications. The Workshop will begin on October 25 and run through November 18.
“As Pasco continues its exponential growth, it is critical that we collaborate with local stakeholders and all affected residents to identify new solutions to address our housing challenges. City staff is excited to participate in the Housing Solutions Lab, which will supplement ongoing planning efforts that allow for more diverse housing options to meet current and future demands,” said Jacob B. Gonzalez, Planning Manager for the City.
“There is innovation and energy coming from small and midsize places to address housing affordability and other critical housing challenges,” said Martha Galvez, Executive Director of the Housing Solutions Lab. “This Housing Solutions Workshop will help connect and coordinate these efforts, both within participating communities and among a national group of peers dealing with similar challenges.”
Between 1960 and 2016, national median income rose by about 11 percent in real terms while the real value of median gross rents rose by 80 percent. Research shows that the growing rent burden on American households has real consequences -- more stable, affordable housing is associated with better outcomes related to health, education, and earnings. Local governments have a significant role in addressing this affordability crisis. Yet, in contrast to the broad network of advocates, think tanks, and researchers focused on federal housing policy, only a handful of organizations focus on helping local governments develop more effective local housing strategies. Moreover, large cities often dominate conversations about local housing policy, even though 85 million people live in cities of between 50,000 - 500,000 people.
“We are excited to learn about tangible strategies during this workshop. With the announcement of Amazon, Reser’s, and Darigold, we know there are thousands of jobs coming to Pasco over the next several years. This will be an incredible opportunity to learn from some of the brightest minds in the country and bring some lessons to the region,” said Mike Gonzalez, Economic Development Manager at the City of Pasco.
The City’s Comprehensive Plan forecasts that Pasco will be home to over 120,000 residents by 2040. Employment growth is expected to increase by over 70% bringing new jobs and employers to the city. A diverse range of housing options will be necessary to accommodate and foster continued economic growth in Pasco. The Housing Solutions Lab supplements the City’s Housing Action Plan efforts to provide much-needed housing relief for community members living in Pasco today and in the future.
About Pasco’s Housing Action Plan
The City of Pasco is currently embarking on its first Housing Action Plan, including significant engagement with area housing stakeholders. The Plan will identify the projected housing needs for all income levels and evaluate the City’s Comprehensive Plan Housing Element, policies, and regulations to determine their effectiveness in meeting housing demands. The City will conduct a housing market analysis and an implementation component that identifies specific actions, responsibilities, and milestones necessary to accommodate housing needs. For more information, please contact the Department of Community and Economic Development at (509) 545-3441 or [email protected]
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 furmancenter.org and @FurmanCenterNYU.
The City of Pasco strives to continue improving the quality of community life in Pasco.