NYU Furman Center’s Housing Solutions Lab launched the Peer Cities Network program in 2020 to help city leaders advance effective housing policies that promote racial equity; increase access to opportunity; and improve health and well-being for residents. The network offers targeted technical assistance and capacity building support toward the creation of more equitable housing policies in mid-size cities through a cohort learning model that encourages participating cities to share lessons learned with one another. In June 2023, Hester Street partnered with the Furman Center to offer technical assistance to leaders from Cheyenne, WY, Jackson, TN, and Skokie, IL — three of the five cities selected to join the third annual Peer Cities cohort.

Our team worked to augment each cities’ learning by helping them explore best practices for community engagement in order to address existing housing concerns. We also led a cohort-wide workshop to create a shared vocabulary and understanding around the importance of community engagement, tapping into relevant tools and resources for cities’ organizing.

In December 2023, Hester Street produced three community engagement handbooks, with tailored recommendations for each city to consider in shaping their community engagement strategy and developing innovative housing solutions.