NLC Creates National Housing Task Force

November 21, 2018

Credit: National League of Cities

The National League of Cities (NLC) has announced the creation of a national task force to address how communities can better respond to the growing challenge of housing availability, affordability, investment and quality. The National League of Cities Task Force on Housing is being created under the leadership of NLC President Karen Freeman-Wilson, mayor of Gary, Indiana, and will be chaired by Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (pictured), according to a November 13 news release issued by the Washington, DC-based organization.

“Every American deserves a place to call home. But in cities across the country, serious shortages of adequate housing means that too many residents don’t have the security of a stable home,” said National League of Cities President Karen Freeman-Wilson, mayor of Gary, Indiana. “Local leaders are on the front lines of ensuring that residents have safe, affordable housing and through the formation of this task force we will leverage our collective experience to help solve this urgent challenge,” added Freeman-Wilson.

Comprised of 18 elected city leaders, representing a diversity of city sizes, geography, roles in their respective regions, and market types, the task force will develop a set of best and promising practices at the local level, as well as policy recommendations to federal and state governments.

“The affordable housing crisis is one of the most critical issues we are facing in this country, and one on which we are effectively working to tackle in Washington, DC. From investing hundreds of millions of dollars for affordable units in new developments to building creative livings spaces like grand-family housing for seniors raising their grandchildren, we know that mayors will lead the way in providing innovative solutions," said Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington, D.C., and chair of the newly formed the National League of Cities Task Force on Housing. “I am honored to serve as the Chair of the National League of Cities Housing Task Force and look forward to working with NLC President Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and other city leaders to advance solutions for our residents.”

Members of the National League of Cities Task Force on Housing include:

Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C., Chair

Councilmember Jesse Matthews of Bessemer, Alabama

Mayor John Giles of Mesa, Arizona

Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland, California

Councilmember Albus Brooks of Denver, Colorado

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta, Georgia

Councilmember Denise Moore of Peoria , Illinois

Councilmember Brandon Scott of Baltimore, Maryland

Mayor Vi Lyles of Charlotte, North Carolina

Councilmember David Bobzien of Reno, Nevada

Mayor Lovely Warren of Rochester, New York

Mayor Jamael Tito Brown of Youngstown, Ohio

Councilmember Greg Evans of Eugene, Oregon

Councilmember Lana Wolff of Arlington, Texas

Mayor Ron Nirenberg of San Antonio, Texas

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, Seattle, Washington

Carolyn Coleman, executive director of the League of California Cities

Daniel P. Gilmartin, executive director & CEO, Michigan Municipal League

To bring added attention to the Task Force, the newly-elected NLC President issued an article empowering city leaders. NLC President and Gary, Indiana Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson’s article, published November 14, follows.

“As elected officials, we want everyone to see our cities the same way we do. We work hard to make our residents feel the same passion, love and optimism that motivated us to run to serve them. But it’s hard to love your city if you’re concerned about the basics—like having a roof over your head. And for far too many people across the country, the basic necessity of quality housing at an affordable cost is not being met.

Some estimates indicate that almost 4 million Americans will experience housing insecurity in their lifetimes, and countless others will face unsafe housing situations. Inadequate plumbing and electricity, and even lack of air conditioning during heat waves and heating during the winter, can cause negative effects on health and result in exorbitant costs for taxpayers. That, coupled with soaring housing prices in many communities, and a lack of housing stock in others, creates an untenable situation.

For years, local officials like myself have been working tirelessly to ensure all of our residents can have a place to call home. Whether it is making use of housing trust funds, engaging in private sector partnerships, or identifying innovative financing strategies, local leaders in cities and towns across the country are translating basic needs into targeted and forward-looking strategies.

But we still have many people whose housing needs are not being met.

These are just some of the reasons why I have assembled a diverse and thoughtful group of city leaders to serve on a task force devoted to the complex issue of housing. The task force is comprised of 18 leaders representing a wide range of city sizes, geographies, roles in their respective regions, and market types who will develop a set of best and promising practices at the local level, as well as policy recommendations to federal and state governments. The task force will convene several times during the first six months of 2019, and will release a final report at NLC’s leadership meeting in June.

Through this task force, we will leverage our collective experience to solve this urgent challenge.

Task force officials are already testing new models and innovative tools to support their residents. You have to look no further than what housing task force chair Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C. is doing in her city. She’s investing hundreds of millions of dollars for affordable units in new developments, while also building creative living spaces like grand-family housing for seniors raising their grandchildren.

And in my city of Gary, Indiana, we’re addressing our problem with vacant and abandoned houses through a multi-pronged strategy that includes leveraging data to identify demolition targets and areas for reinvestment, while leveraging local, state and federal funds to tear down crumbling structures and creating an innovative public-private real estate partnership to attract developers.

These are just two examples of how city leaders are making bold moves towards solving our housing crisis. We don’t have any time to waste.

As president of the National League of Cities, I’m proud to direct our resources and support to solve this problem. Today, let’s remind residents across the country why they should love their cities, and how we are committed to insuring that their cities, in turn, love them.”

The Washington, D.C.-based National League of Cities (NLC) works in partnership with 49 municipal leagues, and is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. To that end, NLC serves as a resource to and advocate for the more than 19,000 cities, villages and towns it represents. It mission statement calls on NLC "to strengthen and promote cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance." The 2018 NLC City Summit, held in Los Angeles, CA, drew more than 3,800 mayors, councilmembers, and other delegates from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to the conference.

 

 

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