Federal Zoning Reform Funding Available Now

A new federal competitive grant program — totaling $85 million — is now available to help local governments develop and implement policies that create and preserve housing options by breaking down barriers to zoning reform. 

The program was created and funded as part of the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill passed at the end of last Congress.

Housing production is not meeting increasing demand for attainable and available units in many areas — both rural and urban — across the US. The Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing Program (PRO-Housing) grants provide support and technical assistance to communities serious about boosting housing supply and lowering housing costs.

PRO-Housing Webinar: Replay

Catch the replay of the PRO-Housing webinar if you missed the initial broadcast. Hear from key leaders about the PRO-Housing Program's potential for impact, benefits, and recommendations for successful applications.

Presented by APA, together with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Up for Growth.

Apply Today

PRO-Housing supports communities who are actively taking steps to remove barriers to affordable housing development, such as:

  • Barriers caused by outdated zoning, land use policies, or regulations;
  • Inefficient procedures;
  • Gaps in available resources for development;
  • Deteriorating or inadequate infrastructure;
  • Lack of neighborhood amenities; or
  • Challenges to preserving existing housing stock such as increasing threats from natural hazards, redevelopment pressures, or expiration of affordability requirements.

Guidance for year one of the program is out now. Eligible uses for the funds are flexible to accommodate communities of all sizes, and can support reform efforts, including:

  • Planning and policy activities to allow for higher-density, multifamily, and mixed-use housing development;
  • Streamlining processes for affordable housing development ;
  • Infrastructure activities necessary for the development or preservation of housing ; and,
  • Reducing requirements related to parking and other land use restrictions .

Eligible applicants are local and state governments, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), and multijurisdictional entities. Priority is given to applicants who "demonstrate a commitment to and progress toward overcoming local barriers to affordable housing and have an acute demand for affordable housing."

The application deadline is October 30, 2023. Apply at Grants.gov. 

Looking Ahead

The PRO-Housing Program is a direct result of planners' advocacy to secure federal investment for zoning reform in recent years. APA is working with HUD and other national partners to prepare resources that help planners take advantage of this new federal incentive, including a webinar on September 6, 2023.

Whether focused on the benefits for social equity and affordable housing or reducing regulations and spurring development, zoning reform has appeal across the political spectrum that is essential for making legislative advances in a divided Congress.

But a second year of PRO-Housing funding has yet to be approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. Stay tuned for further advocacy information: APA can help you make your case to your representatives in the days and weeks ahead and will let you know when the time is right to engage.

Emma West is APA's public affairs contractor.

August 30, 2023

By Emma West