White House Offers Plan to Address Affordable Housing Supply and Costs

On Monday the White House released a Housing Supply Action Plan outlining steps designed to address the rising costs and supply shortages of affordable housing. The White House statement links the plan to the administration’s effort to fight inflation, saying “tackling inflation is [President Joe Biden’s] top domestic priority” and that the plan would help close the housing supply shortfall in five years.

Importantly, while the plan calls on Congress to pass funding increases for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed in the administration’s FY 2023 budget, it also acknowledges the role played by local government policies in contributing to the lack of supply of affordable housing in their jurisdictions. Local regulatory barriers to housing production, including land-use regulations, minimum lot sizes, and prohibitions on multifamily housing have long been cited as a persistent problem, with then-HUD Secretary Jack Kemp issuing a report titled "Not In My Backyard: Removing Barriers to Affordable Housing" as far back as 1991. The Biden plan would reward jurisdictions that have reformed zoning and land-use policies with higher scores for competitive federal grant programs.

The plan also calls for deploying new financing mechanisms to build and preserve additional housing where gaps in financing currently exist, and for expanding existing forms of federal financing for multifamily development and housing preservation.