March 26, 2004
HUD TO OFFER AFFORDABLE HOUSING FUNDING INCENTIVES
Priority points designed to encourage communities to reduce excessive barriers
to affordable housing
WASHINGTON - The Department of Housing and Urban Development this week announced it will create a new funding incentive to encourage state and local communities to remove excessive regulations that inhibit the production of affordable housing. On March 22nd, HUD notified potential applicants of HUD's competitively awarded grant programs that it will begin awarding priority points to governmental and nongovernmental applicants in communities which have successfully demonstrated efforts to reduce regulatory barriers that prevent many working families from living in the communities of their choice.
This week's announcement is part of America's Affordable Communities Initiative, one of HUD's highest priorities and is designed to stimulate the production of more affordable housing at the local level.
"We want to motivate our state and local partners, the non-profit community and other applicants to work together in addressing obstacles to affordable housing," said A. Bryant Applegate, Senior Counsel and Director of HUD's Affordable Communities Initiative (AACI). "We believe this initiative will facilitate a dialogue on reducing excessive regulations that have a very real impact on working families being priced out of their own communities."
Common regulatory barriers include: exclusionary zoning; antiquated building codes; duplicative reviews and approval processes; and, excessive and unwarranted fees. These regulatory burdens can add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of affordable housing forcing hard-working lower income Americans such as teachers, firefighters, police officers, nurses and returning veterans to move out of their own communities.
Applegate added, "We want to encourage local leaders and community organizations to examine their own laws and determine which ones create regulatory barriers and then take the appropriate action that is best suited for their community. Meanwhile, HUD is leading by example as we continue to review federal regulations that may further discourage the production of affordable housing."
HUD launched America's Affordable Communities Initiative in June 2003 in an effort to focus more attention on the need for regulatory reform to spur the development of affordable housing in communities across the nation. Earlier this month, HUD published "Bringing Homes Within Reach Through Regulatory Reform" to help local communities develop strategies for reducing affordable housing barriers. To read this guide and for more information about this important HUD priority, visit /initiatives/affordablecommunities/index.cfm .
Applicants for certain HUD programs may elect to answer a series of questions about the affordable housing climate in their communities in order to be considered for the priority points. This questionnaire is strictly voluntary and an applicant can choose not to participate. However, because competition for HUD funding is often closely contested, an extra point or two in the evaluative process can prove decisive. In establishing this new priority points initiative, HUD is encouraging communities to play a more active role in improving access to affordable housing through regulatory reform.
To review this notice, which includes the actual questions being asked of applicants, go to /initiatives/affordablecommunities/index.cfm and click on the "Announcement of Incentive Criteria" link at the bottom of the page under "Highlights." Applicants who are interested in reviewing possible regulatory reform strategies to pursue are encouraged to visit our searchable database of barriers identified and solutions proposed at www.regbarriers.org
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 espanol.hud.gov.