State and Local Housing Affordability

Land Development
Contact: Nicholas Julian
Senior Program Manager, Land Use
(202) 266-8309

Person filing paperwork and holding a tiny house

Safe, decent, affordable housing is fundamental to the economic and physical well-being of all families, communities, regional economics and the nations.

Housing stability, be it owned or rented, leads to greater financial stability and freedom, reduced stress, improved health, increased school attendance, increased school performance, and longer-term economic stability.

Yet families and households encompass an increasingly diverse demographic that has changed over time and now spans a broad income range of needs. There are more extended families in multigenerational households. Nearly half of U.S. adults are single. An aging population is living in homes that aren’t very accessible. And a record 41% of young adults live with their parents.

The challenge to affordable housing is a multidimensional problem, and the simple fact is that the current housing stock is not nearly as diverse as we are.

Planners, policymakers and elected officials need to explore the issues involved in building a greater range of housing types that discreetly add density to existing zoning and neighborhoods. The types include smaller homes, smaller lots, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) — a mix that is being referred to as Missing Middle Housing types.

Different tools and approaches are needed to address different income segments and solve different problems. Some may work better than others in particular areas. Most work best as part of a comprehensive housing affordability strategy. But there is no “silver bullet” solution.

Learn more about the different tools available and how different municipalities across the United States have tried to solve the housing affordability issues in their communities.

Tools and Resources