Deputy Secretary Bernardi Urges Communities to Join HUD's National Call to Action During First Workforce Housing Conference

Thursday, July 12, 2007

At the first workforce housing conference presented by HUD, Deputy Secretary Roy A. Bernardi issued HUD's National Call to Action for Affordable Housing Through Regulatory Reform. This National Call to Action is an appeal designed to reduce or eliminate unnecessary regulations that price housing beyond the reach of millions of Americans.

[Photo 1: Deputy Secretary Bernardi]
Deputy Secretary Roy A. Bernardi.

"Red tape is literally choking the life out of housing that's affordable to working families," said Bernardi. "Today, HUD is calling on local communities to join us as we identify and remove these man-made barriers that prevent teachers, police officers, firefighters and others from living in communities of their choice."

More than 100 state and local officials met at the HUD Workforce Housing Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, to learn more about how to reduce regulatory barriers in order to make housing more affordable in their communities.

At the time of the conference, more than 150 communities and organizations had already joined HUD's "Call to Action." Special recognition was given to Mayor Elaine Walker of Bowling Green, Kentucky, for being the first community to officially answer HUD's "Call to Action."

In May of this year, the City of Bowling Green received the Robert L. Woodson, Jr. Award for reducing burdensome regulations that unnecessarily inflate the cost of housing. With the award, HUD recognized Bowling Green as a national model for reducing unnecessary, outdated, and duplicative regulations that put the cost of housing out of reach of America's workforce.

[Photo 2: HUD Workforce Housing Conference in Louisville, Kentucky]
Left to right: HUD Senior Counsel and Director of the America's Affordable Communities Initiative A. Bryant Applegate, HUD Kentucky Field Office Director Krista Mills; HUD Acting Assistant Deputy Secretary for Field Policy & Management and Atlanta Regional Director Bob Young; and Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government Director of the Department of Housing and Family Services Kimberly Bunton.

Ways in which Mayor Walker and the city of Bowling Green are implementing innovative strategies to reduce regulatory barriers that result in more affordable housing include:

  • Waiving certain permits and fees for single family housing built by charitable nonprofits or the city. Savings: $500 to $750 per home.
  • Donating city-owned land to nonprofit agencies to develop infill or affordable senior housing. Savings: At least $10,000 per lot.
  • Demolishing dilapidated structures on the parcels at no cost to the receiving agency. Savings: Dependent upon structure.
  • Streamlining the permitting process for most residential construction projects to within five days of application.
  • Relaxing subdivision regulations to allow a wider sidewalk on only one side of the street and a narrower street to reduce infrastructure costs. Savings: Eight percent on street construction and $25,000 in sidewalk construction.

The day long conference included panel discussions by housing experts from across the nation on such topics as Best Practices, Zoning for Housing Choice, Land Development Standards, Impact Fees and Financing of Infrastructure, Streamlining Review and Approval Processes, and Moving Groups from NIMBY to "Why Not In My Community?"

To find out more about the America's Affordable Communities Initiative, please visit HUD's website.

Content Archived: September 09, 2009