The Biden Administration recently announced a slew of new federal incentives to help boost housing production and lower costs.
The Biden Administration recently released a slew of incentives and tools to help state, local, and private actors boost housing production while also working to make housing more affordable. The administration noted that nationally the United States is on track to build apartments this year than any year on record. Here are some highlighted new programs counties can take advantage of:
- Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing (PRO Housing) program.
- This $85 million program will provide communities with funding to identify and remove barriers to affordable housing production and preservation. HUD will award grants of up to $10 million to jurisdictions that have an acute demand for affordable housing and are working to identify, address, or remove barriers to housing production and preservation. Funding can be used for planning and policy activities to allow for higher-density zoning and rezoning for multifamily and mixed-use housing, streamlining affordable housing development, and reducing requirements related to parking and other land use restrictions. Funding can also be used for infrastructure activities necessary for the development or preservation of housing.
- Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods (RCN) program.
- This program will provide up to $3.16 billion for planning and capital construction projects that prioritize disadvantaged communities and improve access to daily destinations. This includes improving connections to affordable housing, fostering equitable development, and increasing housing supply through zoning reform. RCN includes a $450 million Regional Partnership Challenge that will incentivize stronger regional partnerships to tackle persistent equitable access and mobility challenges, with land use reform as a key priority.
- Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF).
- The GGRF will mobilize private capital and provide financing for thousands of clean energy projects, including cost-saving retrofits of existing homes and buildings, construction of zero-emissions buildings, and commercial-to-residential conversions, among others. Such investments will reduce pollution and lower utility costs.
The White House also announced several existing programmatic changes, including:
- HUD’s new guidelines that increase the dollar amount threshold at which a multifamily loan is considered a large loan and is subject to additional underwriting requirements from $75 million to $120 million.
- The Economic Development Administration (EDA) updated its “Investment Priorities” that guide the agency’s grantmaking to include an emphasis on efficient land use, where commercial uses, economic activity, and employment opportunities are concentrated and accessible to nearby residential density. Moving forward, EDA will more explicitly incentivize projects that include an emphasis on density in the vicinity of the project – which can, in turn, encourage greater housing supply and allow people to live closer to work and services they need.
- HUD published new guidance for public housing authorities and multifamily housing owners participating in the Rental Assistance Demonstration, providing them with additional tools to repair and build deeply affordable housing.