March 23, 2021

Klobuchar, Portman, Kaine Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Address Nationwide Housing Shortage

The Housing Supply and Affordability Act will create a competitive grant program to increase housing supply and affordability

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced the Housing Supply and Affordability Act to create a new grant program that would provide funding to help localities develop and implement comprehensive housing policy plans. This program will provide technical assistance to help states, localities, and regional coalitions increase housing supply, improve housing affordability, and reduce barriers to new housing development while avoiding the displacement of current residents. Companion legislation in the House of Representatives is led by Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), and Joyce Beatty (D-OH). 

“All Americans deserve access to an affordable home, but unfortunately the nationwide housing shortage has created an affordability crisis for far too many,” said Klobuchar. “These grants will help communities identify their housing challenges, improve affordability, and implement unique solutions to expand their housing supply.”

“The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the housing affordability crisis in Ohio and cities across the nation. To truly address the issue of housing affordability, we need to look closely at what’s happening at the local level, and that is exactly what this bill does,” said Portman. “This bipartisan piece of legislation will provide localities and municipalities with resources to expand the supply of housing and increase affordability. As we turn the corner on the coronavirus pandemic, let’s make sure that housing affordability and availability is at the center of our economic recovery efforts.”

“It’s critical that we eliminate barriers that keep Americans from accessing safe and affordable housing,” said Kaine. “I’m proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation that would help address our nation’s housing crisis and provide state and local governments the resources they need to ensure more Virginians can find affordable housing.” 

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen the critical need for housing supply and affordability. While Delaware has taken some truly innovative approaches to expanding housing, the reality is that our states and localities need more resources to be able to meet housing needs across the country,” said Blunt Rochester. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan Housing Supply and Affordability Act, which will create incentives which ultimately result in more Americans having the dignity and security of reliable housing.”

“Our nation’s housing crisis, coupled with the effects of the COVID pandemic, has hit Southwest Washington communities and families particularly hard. Finding solutions to meet our region’s housing demands is a top priority of mine, and it’s why I’m working in Congress to address this issue. I’m pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation aimed at helping local communities increase housing supply and affordability throughout our region. Our goal is to give families, seniors, and individuals increased access to quality housing in Southwest Washington,” said Herrera Beutler.

“Right now in America, millions of people lack access to safe, secure, and stable housing because of draconian land-use and exclusionary policies. The Housing Supply and Affordability Act will help close our nation’s severe housing shortage by incentivizing local governments to enact policies that increase supply and help more families find their ‘home sweet home,’” said Beatty. 

An estimated 2.5 million additional housing units are needed to match long-term housing demand, while the total inventory of homes for sale in December 2020 was the lowest on record. Minnesota is estimated to have the third-highest housing supply deficit of any state. This shortage of housing supply—and the inability of many housing markets to respond to local demand—decreases housing affordability for working families, restricts access to high-opportunity job markets, and raises the costs for housing assistance programs offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

In response, the Housing Supply and Affordability Act will establish a $300 million per year grant program to award planning and implementation grants to states, localities, and regional coalitions of localities to support the development and implementation of comprehensive plans to expand the supply and affordability of housing, reduce barriers to new housing development, and avoid the displacement of current residents. The bill also directs HUD to provide recommendations on strategies that states and localities should consider in developing and implementing these plans, including how to best inclusively engage with community members on housing reforms. Finally, the bill requires routine reporting from applicants regarding the use of these grant funds, convenes a learning group of applicants and grantees to facilitate problem-solving regarding housing reforms, and requires a study from HUD describing the impact of the Program and outlining the most successful strategies in expanding the supply of housing.  

This legislation has been endorsed by 100 national and local organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Up For Growth Action, NeighborWorks Association, Minnesota Housing Partnership, and American Planning Association. 

“The Housing Supply and Affordability Act will provide cities, states, regional associations, and tribes the resources they need to connect housing with jobs, transit, and opportunity,” said Mike Kingsella, Executive Director of Up for Growth Action. “The Local Housing Policy Grant program established by the legislation incentivizes recipients to develop housing policies that eliminate artificial barriers to housing production, including exclusionary zoning. The bipartisan Housing Supply and Affordability Act should be a key component of the country’s continued economic recovery. We applaud Senator Klobuchar, Senator Portman, Senator Kaine, Representative Blunt Rochester, Representative Herrera Beutler, and Representative Beatty for developing and introducing this critical pro-housing legislation.” 

“Many planners are pushing communities to take a fresh look at development codes and zoning,” said Leo Asuncion, AICP, President of the American Planning Association. “The federal incentives and support provided in the Housing Supply and Affordability Act will make it easier for more planners and local governments to overhaul local rules that continue to stymie housing supply, availability, and safety.” 

"The Housing Supply and Affordability Act, led by Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, will help remove local barriers to housing production, and ensure that communities have the tools they desperately need to address our housing shortage,” said Anne Mavity, Executive Director of the Minnesota Housing Partnership. 

"Zoning has been used by too many communities to keep people out. This legislation will provide incentives for local communities to remove discriminatory zoning policies, and ensure that communities have the housing they need to support a thriving economy, ensure healthy seniors, and ensure that every child has a home to do their homework,” Mavity added. 

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