HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD MEM-05-004
Yvonne Leander
(901) 544-3403
For Release
July 19, 2005

Memphis cited as a model

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 Memphis, Tennessee, 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 This initiative is designed to combat the outdated, excessive and duplicative regulations that significantly increase the cost and limit the supply of affordable housing and is motivating communities like Memphis 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 Memphis's efforts to open more doors for the very people who should be our neighbors."

Memphis has taken the initiative in creating affordable housing for both homeowners and renters. The City has set aside funds to buy down the cost of construction for infill home sites to provide affordable housing for low and moderate income families. In addition, both the City of Memphis and Shelby County have been proactive in implementing HUD's $1 Home Program to create affordable housing. Further, both City and County have
downpayment assistance programs for first-time homebuyers seeking affordable housing.

Barriers being targeted by HUD include public statutes, ordinances, 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 like Memphis, 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 of more affordable housing.

"We recognize that what might work here in Memphis may not be appropriate in other parts of the country," said
Bob Young, HUD's Atlanta Regional Director. "Memphis'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; and, 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 and


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


Content Archived: August 26, 2011