Tackling the housing affordability crisis requires a comprehensive strategy involving the private and public sectors to reduce costs and boost supply. This month, The National Association of Counties (NACo) released “Advancing Local Housing Affordability,” a report that proposes county-led solutions to overcome housing affordability challenges nationwide. The Hon. Bill Truex — commissioner in Charlotte County, Fla., and NAHB member — served on the NACo Housing Task Force that produced the report.
The task force report underscores the need for moderately priced, fair-quality housing in all counties. Report authors share many instances nationwide about how housing costs crowd out household budgets. For example, in Franklin County, Ohio — home to the capital city of Columbus — four out of every 10 renters are cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of their annual income on housing.
Because of the issue's complexity, NACo’s report outlines the shared responsibility of housing affordability among federal, state, local, private and community sectors. To address this, NACo urges counties to engage in dialogue and coordination and build strong relationships with stakeholders that impact housing.
In addition, the NACo housing task force avoids providing a one-size-fits-all policy solution. And the report authors acknowledge that creating solutions to address housing affordability barriers locally is “often slow, contentious and grueling.” As a result, policy recommendations outlined in the report are intended to serve as tools county leaders can use in developing a comprehensive housing action plan.
Abbreviated best practices and policy recommendations in the report cover topics such as:
- Land use, zoning, infrastructure and community planning
- Local regulations, permitting and fees
- Federal-county intergovernmental approaches
- Community engagement, partnership and education
- Finance, lending and county tax policy
“Counties are on the front lines of responding to the housing crisis. Stable, quality housing is the foundation for better health, safety, education, a strong workforce, improved financial wellness, and lower demands on the social safety net,” said NACo President Denise Winfrey, and Will County, Ill., commissioner. “Counties are committed to meeting the moment and addressing our residents’ housing needs.”
Visit the NACo Housing Task Force webpage to read the full report.