HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 05-010
Tom Friesen
(404) 447-1488
For Release
July 14, 2005

Montana cited as a model for removing regulatory barriers that drive up housing costs

WASHINGTON - They are teachers, police officers, nurses, firefighters and returning veterans�the sort of people anyone would be happy to call a neighbor. In some communities, however, excessive regulations are creating
barriers that artificially drive up housing costs on working families. Today, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson recognized Montana for its efforts in breaking down these barriers and creating a more inclusive environment for families struggling to afford decent homes.

As more Americans become homeowners, rising housing costs are pricing out millions of hard-working families who hope to find homes close to their jobs and within their budgets. Often, regulations that drive up the cost of housing are to blame.

HUD is taking a fresh look at these barriers to affordable housing with its America's Affordable Communities
. This initiative is designed to combat the outdated, excessive and duplicative regulations that significantly increase the cost and limit the supply of affordable housing and is motivating communities like those in Montana to take a look at their housing regulations and determine which ones no longer serve a valid public purpose.

"We know that regulatory barriers can increase housing costs by as much as 35 percent, making it impossible for
many working families to live in the cities where we work," said Jackson. "Other communities around the country
can learn from Montana's efforts to open more doors for the very people who should be our neighbors."

A new legislative proposal (SB 195) being discussed in the Montana State Legislature is called the Quality Growth
Act. The legislation encourages cooperation between cities and counties so that infrastructure expenses are shared by both entities. The expected result will be lower taxes spent on infrastructure and more livable and affordable homes will be built. The bill provides incentives in locally designated quality growth areas for affordable housing construction, but does not restrict development outside of these areas. There are no new regulatory powers or responsibilities for local governments. Discussion is in its infancy, but there is some bipartisan support and
widespread agreement that new legislation is necessary.

The Affordable Communities Initiative focuses on local, county, and state efforts to revise statutes and ordinances
to promote affordability as well as reduce, defer, or eliminate burdensome regulations, fees, processes and
procedures that significantly restrict the development of affordable housing without providing a commensurate
health or safety benefit. These barriers can effectively exclude working individuals from living in the communities where they work. In addition, senior citizens often find it impossible to locate suitable homes or apartments near
their adult children, and young families are unable to find a home in the communities where they were raised.

By recognizing communities in Montana, HUD hopes to encourage others around the country to reexamine their
own regulatory climate and work closely with builders and urban planners to find creative solutions to allow for the development and redevelopment of more affordable housing.

"We recognize that what might work here in Montana may not be appropriate in other parts of the country," said
John Carson, HUD's Regional Director. "Montana's leadership in this area reminds us how important it is to work together to reduce barriers that stifle the development of housing affordable to our teachers, nurses, police
officers or returning veterans."

HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as
enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet


NOTE: For more information about America's Affordable Communities Initiative.


Content Archived: June 27, 2011