Yesterday, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Council on Eliminating Barriers to Affordable Housing, and named Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson as its chairperson.
The Council will consist of members across eight Federal agencies and engage with State, local, and tribal leaders across the country to identify and remove the obstacles that impede the production of affordable home. The Council will be tasked with accomplishing the following items by January 2021:
- Work across agencies, States, local governments, tribal governments, and private-sector stakeholders to identify policies that artificially increase the cost of developing affordable housing.
- Report on the quantifiable effect that Federal, State, local, and tribal regulatory barriers have on affordable housing development, the economy, and society.
- Take action to reduce Federal regulatory and administrative burdens that discourage private investment and housing development;
- Take action within existing Federal programs to align and support local, and tribal state efforts to reduce regulatory and administrative burdens that discourage housing development.
- Recommend Federal, State, local, and tribal policies that would:
- Reduce and streamline statutory, regulatory, and administrative burdens that inhibit the development of affordable housing supply at all levels of government;
- Incentivize State, local, and tribal governments to reduce barriers to affordable housing development.
The creation of such a council is fitting given the release this week of Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies report highlighting the lack of housing production as a key factor in affordability. From The State of the Nation’s Housing 2019: “The shortfall in new homes is keeping the pressure on house prices and rents, eroding affordability—particularly for modest-income households in high-cost markets. While demographic trends should support a vibrant housing market over the coming decade, realizing this potential depends heavily on whether the market can provide a broader and more affordable range of housing options for tomorrow’s households.”