NACo’s long-awaited affordable housing report is out, shedding light on the state of housing and offering strategies for boosting housing production.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) recently released its long-awaited report on affordable housing. The report outlines the state of housing nationally and highlights some tools and strategies counties can use to boost housing production in their jurisdiction. One of the key themes throughout the report was that housing is an interconnected issue, with a multitude of stakeholders and overlap with other policy areas – this is something MACo has been working to bring attention to as conversations continue around possible housing solutions for Maryland.
Important Context for Maryland Readers: NACo is a national organization covering counties in all 50 states. Compared to Maryland, many states do not have as robust systems of local control. Maryland’s counties will find certain sections very informative, while others will be intended for jurisdictions in a different governance environment.
Several highlights from the report:
- Counties are not the sole actors or barriers to housing. Furthermore, counties cannot solve the housing crisis alone – action from state, federal, and private actors is critical to ending the crisis.
- In many cases, local regulations & permitting can be streamlined or simplified to ease the development process.
- Pre-approved templates for common housing designs
- Improve permit evaluation systems
- Financing is often a barrier to further development; counties should work to partner with other government and private actors to provide new financing mechanisms.
- Counties should assess existing housing stock for potential opportunities.
- Counties should identify infrastructure barriers to new development.
Baltimore and Charles Counties in the Pursuit of Affordable Housing
Baltimore County & Charles County were mentioned for work to produce more affordable housing. Terry Hickey, Director of Housing and Community Development for Baltimore County, and Hon. Reuben Collins, Commissioner President of Charles County, served on the task force.
Baltimore County, Maryland, has established through legislation a process to designate properties as vacant and is compiling an inventory to provide residents, developers and others a public, centralized place to view vacant properties, ultimately serving to remove public safety hazards and nuisances and revitalizing communities by converting blighted and abandoned properties into rental and homeownership opportunities.
Charles County, Maryland, works with federal, state and foundation partners to apply for grant opportunities. In Fiscal Year 2023, Charles County received more than $9.7 million in federal housing grants, including both formula and competitive grant application awards.