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Rochester hopes participation in Peer Cities Network leads to housing solutions

Rochester hopes participation in Peer Cities Network leads to housing solutions

The city of Rochester hopes participation in New York University Furman Center Housing Solutions Lab’s Peer Cities Network will help create a comprehensive housing plan that leads to increased home ownership, rent-to-income equilibrium and market stability.

Rochester is one of nine cities selected to participate in the program. The others are Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa; Evanston, Ill.; Missoula, Mont.; Pasco, Wash.; Pawtucket/Central Falls, R.I.; Portland, Maine; and San Marcos, Texas.

The Peer Cities Network strives to help 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.

An initiative of the NYU Furman Center, funding is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“I want to thank the Housing Solutions Lab for selecting Rochester to take part in this incredible opportunity to share experiences and information with cities that also have housing challenges rooted in a history of racial segregation and poverty,” Rochester Mayor Malik Evans said in a news release.

“The lessons we learn from participating in the Peer Cities Network will bring much-needed focus to our housing strategies and improve collaboration among our partners in the housing community. A comprehensive and permanent community-wide housing plan will become our blueprint to housing stability and neighborhood vitality to create a safe, growing and prosperous Rochester for everyone.”

The city’s housing development team will work to develop new strategies, better coordinate the objectives of ongoing initiatives and improve collaboration among human-service agencies and consortiums dedicated to reducing the city’s poverty rate through improved access to affordable housing and a commitment to equity.

“Our goal is to meet cities where they are 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, Rochester’s housing 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.”

The findings of the Peer Cities Network will complement recommendations produced by the Housing Quality Task Force that Evans launched in February.

The participating cities all have racially-based housing challenges, including low rates of home ownership, a high number of rent-burdened residents and an aging housing stock that weakens property values and perpetuates disinvestment.

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