Arlington will participate in a national initiative focused on developing equitable housing policies and programs.
The city announced in a press release Tuesday that leaders will work with the Housing Solutions Lab. Based out of New York University, the lab offers help to cities with analyzing housing policies and programs, as well as developing and instituting new ones.
“The Housing Solutions Lab provides an opportunity for Arlington to learn about innovative programs that address housing challenges that are being offered in similarly situated cities,” Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said in the press release. “Recent discussions have focused on best practices in providing rental assistance to families economically impacted during the coronavirus pandemic and how to prioritize the additional funding coming from various sources to meet urgent housing needs in our community.”
The partnership comes as officials work on enacting recommendations on equitable housing submitted by the 28-member Unity Council. The group’s final report offered more than 50 proposals in areas including policing, health, economic disparities and education and workforce training in addition to housing.
The housing portion of the study found that people of color are more likely to experience rent burden, or spend over 30% of their income on housing costs. The report also identified parts of west and central Arlington that are among the most segregated areas in the city.
The Unity Council recommended removing barriers to developing affordable housing and redeveloping property caused by zoning, creating resources in schools and universities on home-buyer and renter education, removing barriers to renting, exploring housing needs and creating affordable and accessible housing services available throughout the city.
The Housing Solutions Lab assists small- and mid-cities with populations under 500,000. Arlington will join a network of cities working the lab including Bolder, Colo., Cleveland, Jackson, Miss., Oakland, Calif., Pittsburgh and Syracuse, N.Y.
Martha Galvez, the lab’s executive director, said in a press release that working with Arlington and other cities has helped “lay the foundation” for the new initiative.
The Housing Solutions Lab is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which has worked on equity in health and health care.