News Release - Rochester Selected for Peer Cities Network to Improve Housing Stability

City of Rochester

News Release

City is one of nine to collaborate on housing strategies to confront challenges of segregation, poverty

(Thursday, March 24, 2022) – Mayor Malik D. Evans announced today that Rochester is one of nine U.S. cities that have been selected to participate in the New York University Furman Center Housing Solutions Lab’s prestigious Peer Cities Network to help the City draft a comprehensive Housing Plan.

“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,” said Mayor Evans. “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.”

“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 Peer Cities Network is an initiative of the NYU Furman Center with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 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.

Working with the Peer Cities Network, the City’s Housing Development team hopes to gain evidence-based insights into Rochester’s housing challenges. They will work to develop new strategies, better coordinate the objectives of ongoing initiatives and improve collaboration among the many human-service agencies and consortiums dedicated to reducing the city’s poverty rate through improved access to affordable housing and a commitment to equity. The City is specifically looking for research and best practices to improve housing stability through increased home ownership, rent-to-income equilibrium, and market stability.

The findings of the Peer Cities Network will complement the recommendations that will be produced by the Housing Quality Task Force that Mayor Evans convened in February to improve housing quality in Rochester.

All nine cities in the Peer Network have racially-based housing challenges similar to those in Rochester, including low rates of home ownership; large proportions of residents who are “rent burdened,” or spend more than one-third of their household income on housing; and an aging housing stock that weakens property values and perpetuates disinvestment.

This is the second cohort of the Peer Cities Network. The other eight cities are: Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa; Evanston, Ill.; Missoula, Mont.; Pasco, Wash.; Pawtucket/Central Falls, R.I.; Portland, Maine; San Marcos, Texas.