To build a tool with a national scope that could help local government practitioners all over the country, we really needed a resource like PolicyMap. Charles McNally, Director of External Affairs at the NYU Furman Center
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Developing a local housing strategy is a time- and resource-intensive exercise. To support the development of comprehensive, balanced, and equitable housing strategies the NYU Furman Center, a joint center of the New York University School of Law and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, created Local Housing Solutions (LHS). When the platform launched, LHS provided policymakers, practitioners, and community leaders with step-by-step guides on how to access US Census data to encourage evidence-based decision making. But NYU Furman Center knew users needed a better way to obtain information about their communities.


Partnering with PolicyMap, the NYU Furman Center built the Housing Needs Assessment Tool. Users could now type in their locality and have at their fingertips all the data they needed to approach issues such as housing affordability, racial equity, and health equity. The Housing Needs Assessment Tool compiles and visually displays publicly available national data sources, such as the US Census, American Community Survey (ACS), and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The result is digestible city-, county, and metro-level data indicators of local housing need — no specialized data knowledge necessary. Users can also generate a customized report from the tool for every US Census jurisdiction in the country. The report displays and provides context on key data for a locality’s demographics, rental affordability, homeownership affordability, dedicated affordable housing, adequacy of housing production, housing stock characteristics, neighborhood variations, and housing stock for older adults. Recently, LHS hosted the Housing Solutions Workshop, where Planning Manager, Jacob Gonzalez of Pasco, WA said, “The Housing Needs Assessment Tool, in particular, revealed a lot about Pasco’s racial equity issues.” NYU Furman Center's Housing Solutions Lab is now accepting applications from local housing policy officials and stakeholders in cities of 50,000 – 500,000 residents. Participants will have access to an ongoing national community of support, timely and practical data and policy resources, and information from housing experts to help them pursue equitable, evidence-based housing policies. Learn more.