Addressing the Nation's Housing Crisis

Planners continue to be leaders and champions for local change around zoning reform and addressing the nation's housing crisis. Action must be taken from the local level to the federal level to drive real change. To address the nation's housing crisis, planners know that a one-size-fits-all solution is not the right approach.

Zoning reform and housing opportunity remain a key federal legislative priority for APA, advocating on behalf of the profession to underscore that planning and planners are part of the solution to the nation's housing crisis. Last year, several states and cities moved key reforms forward to help address the crisis.

Momentum to address the nation's housing crisis continues to build. The Biden administration is strongly encouraging locally driven reforms to zoning and land use policies. Catch up on the latest about housing reform from ADUs to state efforts and everything in between:

Addressing the Housing Shortfall

Just this week, U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Suzanne P. Clark and Director of the White House National Economic Council Brian Deese wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed (subscription required) identifying three ways to address the nation's housing shortfall: eliminate unnecessary barriers to housing production; address constraints to housing production; and simplify the financing of new housing. The op-ed preceded a major zoning reform announcement by the White House.

"The good news is that there are proven ways the administration, Congress, state and local governments, and the private sector can work together to build and preserve enough homes to end the housing shortfall in America."

Housing Supply Action Plan

This week, the Biden administration announced its Housing Supply Action Plan to help ease the burden of housing costs and boost the supply of quality housing in communities. The plan strongly encourages locally driven reforms to zoning and land use policies. It even rolls out new financing tools for accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

The plan focuses on four key areas:

  1. Incentivizing land use and zoning reform and reducing regulatory barriers. This means that communities demonstrating progress on local housing reforms will be given more weight in the federal grantmaking process for certain U.S. DOT and U.S. EDA grant programs.
  2. Piloting new financing for housing production and preservation. This includes new financing tools for ADUs and boosting rural single-family construction.
  3. Improving and expanding existing federal financing. This includes leveraging American Rescue Plan funds for affordable housing investments.
  4. Preserving the availability of affordable single-family homes for owner-occupants. This includes encouraging the use of CDBG funds.

Advancing Pro-Housing Legislation

APA is partnering with Up for Growth to provide members with up-to-date information on key legislation and other efforts to help create more homes and advance housing equity. The recent webinar focused on the YIMBY Act. Watch APA Interact for future webinar dates.


Housing Resources

Access these additional housing resources to help your community advance local zoning and land use reforms and ensure all members have access to opportunity.

Stay updated on the latest zoning reform efforts by joining the Planners' Advocacy Network. Free with your APA membership, you'll get timely updates on federal policies and legislation that impact planning.

Policy solutions for planners that address dire housing challenges including accessibility, affordability, and availability.

Access background, policy guidance, and examples of local plan recommendations and zoning standards for ADUs from across the country.

Explore how loosening other development regulations can support missing middle housing and promote housing equity. Zoning Practice, May 2022

Top image: Getty Images/Sundry Photography

Roberta Rewers is APA's communications manager.

May 17, 2022

By Roberta Rewers