A new federal grant program to reward state and local governments that reform land-use policies and other local barriers that constrain the supply of affordable housing is set to begin accepting applications in the fall.
The law was authored by US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), and details were announced today by the the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Government needs to change its mentality from intentionally constraining the supply of housing to incentivizing it, and this new grant program will help us do that,” said Senator Schatz, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.
For decades, local zoning and land use regulations as well as lack of necessary housing-related infrastructure have prevented housing production from keeping pace with population and economic growth, resulting in a nationwide housing shortage, according to a news release issued by Sen. Schatz.
“The new $85 million federal grant program will help reverse this trend by rewarding state, local, and regional jurisdictions that address exclusionary zoning practices, land use policies, and housing infrastructure to increase the supply of affordable housing,” according to the announcement.
These policies include increasing density, reducing minimum lot sizes, creating transit-oriented development zones, streamlining or shortening permitting processes and timelines, expanding by-right multifamily zoned areas, allowing accessory dwelling units on lots with single family homes, eliminating or relaxing residential property height limitations, and donating vacant land for affordable housing development.
This year, Schatz secured an additional $100 million for the new grant program in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development fiscal year 2024 appropriations bill, which unanimously passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee last week.
More information on the grant program, including how and when to apply is available here.