Preventing Evictions in a Five-City Pilot Program     

The Eviction Cohort launched in 2020 as a partnership between National League of Cities (NLC) and Stanford Legal Design Lab (“the Legal Design Lab”) in an effort to assist cities confronting a housing and eviction crisis that disproportionately impacts communities of color. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for cities to design, implement and institutionalize effective policies and programs to combat the root causes of evictions took on a heightened level of importance.   

Operating over the course of six months, NLC and the Legal Design Lab led the cities of Grand Rapids, MI; Norfolk, VA; Richmond, VA; Philadelphia, PA; and Pittsburgh, PA in hands-on technical assistance, virtual learning meetings, and peer-to-peer resource sharing and collaboration. By bringing together a diverse group of interconnected stakeholders across each city — including staff from housing and health agencies, legal services, courts, academic, community-based organizations and philanthropy — the participating cities tapped into the full ecosystem of stakeholders working to reduce the risk and impact of evictions.  

Read the report, The Eviction Prevention Cohort: Highlights from the Five-City Pilot! 

Learn more about the strides these five cities have made to support their most vulnerable renters and build support among their local landlords by reading the full report.  

The eviction prevention cohort

Participating Cities  
Participating Cities

The inaugural Eviction Cohort engaged five cities from three states. Each had foundational eviction prevention programs in action prior to the launch of the Cohort but sought to expand their work and tackle unique challenges through this peer-to-peer learning experience. The participating cities included: 

  • Grand Rapids, MI   
  • Pittsburgh, PA    
  • Philadelphia, PA  
  • Richmond, VA 
  • Norfolk, VA   

The teams from each of these cities were interdepartmental and included local partners such as philanthropies, legal aid organizations and social service providers.  

Program Goals 
Program Goals 

At the onset of the Eviction Prevention Cohort, NLC and the Legal Design Lab identified four key objectives for the initiative:

  1. Catalyze and strengthen the development and implementation of viable pilot solutions to address the eviction crisis, including tools, policies, and programs. 
  2. Bridge the gap between cities, service providers and legal resources by facilitating coordination and shared learning.  
  3. Inspire more cities to consider and create policy and programmatic solutions to address the eviction crisis.  
  4. Serve as example for further state-wide reforms related to housing and eviction. 
Elements of the Program
Elements of the Program

The Cohort model established a community of peers and created an opportunity for city staff and partners to learn, discuss and reflect on shared findings, opportunities and barriers during the rapidly progressing pandemic. As the pandemic drastically changed the eviction landscape in each city, NLC and the Legal Design Lab aimed to foster cross-city collaboration and coordination between cities in the same state.  

Based on each city’s action plans and priorities set by each city team at the beginning of the program, NLC and the Legal Design Lab offered hands-on technical assistancevirtual learning meetings that included presentations from experts in the field and highlighted the efforts of other cities, and peer-to-peer resource sharing.

Topics for the monthly Cohort Learning Meetings included:  

  • Eviction Diversion Programs 
  • Court Proceedings in Light of COVID-19 
  • Data Collection & Analysis Methods to Manage Evictions    
  • Sustainable Funding Strategies 
  • Communications, Outreach & Engagement Strategies 
  • Team Reflections & Looking Ahead to Eviction Prevention in 2021 
Furthering this Work with the Eviction Prevention Learning Lab
Furthering this Work with the Eviction Prevention Learning Lab

Building on this work, NLC and Stanford Legal Design Lab are launching the Eviction Prevention Learning Lab in 2021. This peer-to-peer network is an opportunity through which cities and their partners can gain exposure to the best practices, policies, and tools to prevent evictions. Participating cities will have access to interactive virtual programming, a shared resource hub, and opportunities for cross-city collaboration or hands-on work sessions that can equip them with the tools they need to better address evictions in light of the pandemic.   

Learn more and apply to join the Eviction Prevention Learning Lab! 

The Eviction Prevention Cohort: Highlights from the Five-City Pilot
The Eviction Prevention Cohort: Highlights from the Five-City Pilot    

The program and the efforts of participating cities are detailed at length in The Eviction Prevention Cohort: Highlights from the Five-City Pilot, a report from National League of Cities and Stanford Legal Design Lab. The report includes specifics about the Cohort and the technical assistance provided and offers a snapshot of the eviction landscape faced by each city. The report also charts a path for expanding, replicating, and refining these efforts. Read the full report here.  


If you have additional questions about the Eviction Prevention Cohort, please contact Lauren Lowery at  

The Eviction Prevention Cohort is now the Eviction Prevention Learning Lab!

Learn more about the new 2021 Eviction Prevention Learning Lab! Cities of all sizes and their partners are welcome to apply.