Across the country, cities are struggling with an affordable housing crisis. This lack of housing is exacerbating the issue of homelessness. As a result, many communities are considering housing alternatives ranging from municipally sanctioned camping sites, “tiny homes,” modular units, and more. If your community is struggling with affordable housing and considering such tactics, join this Mayors Challenge Forum to discuss challenges faced by elected officials and questions to consider as your city deals with this growing issue.

NLC’s Racial, Equity And Leadership (REAL) group will showcase ways a Results Based Accountability (RBA) framework can be used to set and achieve racial equity goals. Participants will learn how a Seattle department adopted RBA to develop measurable goals and create an organizational culture that focuses on real results for racial equity.

The homes and businesses in your city rely on effective water management to protect public health, treat stormwater, manage wastewater, and preserve a clean environment, but effective water management can be complex and costly. Integrated Water Management (IWM), or a “One Water” framework, emphasizes a coordinated approach to built infrastructure and natural watershed systems. It considers the urban water cycle as a single integrated system, in which all urban water flows are recognized as potential resources. Many cities are achieving better water quality or reducing costs by promoting conservation, right-sizing infrastructure, or restoring natural systems throughout the water cycle. Learn how your city can begin to implement Integrated Water Management, including how to build successful partnerships between agencies and utilities with different water oversight authority.

Residents with substance addiction and mental illness frequently use very high portions of expensive city services, including emergency medical care and law enforcement responses, which often make little progress resolving the core needs creating a revolving door into and out of city services. Police and fire frontline officials often know who these individuals are, but are rarely equipped to do more than arrest or treat and release. Especially in the face of the opioid crisis and efforts to reduce mass incarceration, cities have developed innovative approaches to improve long-term outcomes for these “high utilizers” and reduce the future burden on city services. Hear successful examples from diverse cities, including a small city, connect with national support resources and peers, and develop a “getting started” action plan to implement at home.

Across the nation, city officials recognize the perils of an uneducated and under-skilled workforce. Mayors and corporate leaders share the concern that today’s workforce is not prepared for today’s jobs, much less the jobs of tomorrow. Afterschool and summer programs have the unique ability to expose youth to new careers and provide them with key skills to be prepared for the workforce. Hear from leaders in Charlotte, NC and Richmond, VA about how they have engaged the City and business and foundation partners in the private sector to support expanded learning opportunities to ensure youth across the city have equitable chances at success. Why? Because city and business leaders know that successful youth equals economic mobility for young people and their families which means a successful business and strong economy for the city. Learn action steps to inventory your community for afterschool opportunities and get the research and data to back them up, as well as tips to message the importance of afterschool programs to business and philanthropic leaders.

In many cities, economic advancement is uneven. Economic mobility, income inequality, and racial inequity remain challenges—not only as deeply concerning social problems, but also as economic problems. The NLC Equitable Economic Development (EED) Fellowship helps cities pursue economic development strategies that create more equitable access to opportunities for all residents. EED Fellows will share lessons they have learned, and will empower you to start looking at economic development in your own community through an equity lens.