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State and local policies have profound effects on housing availability and affordability, some of which are positive while others are detrimental. State and local governments use federal housing resources, plan and zone for a diverse mix of housing, streamline development approval procedures, establish housing trusts, create programs that target specific needs and devote other local resources to housing. All of these actions clearly have positive impacts on housing availability and affordability. On the other hand, restrictive local land use policies, regulations and fees can thwart efforts to broaden housing choices and promote housing affordability. Even outdated zoning and building codes can interfere with affordable housing preservation or prevent new, more efficient construction techniques that would lower housing costs.
States and localities often find it difficult to find a balance when seeking solutions to competing problems, such as improving environmental quality while promoting housing affordability. It is critically important that all affected stakeholders have opportunities to participate in the decision-making process. Reducing unnecessary regulation, promoting innovation and transparent decision-making and encouraging public-private collaboration at the state and local level can positively affect the availability and affordability of housing for all members of a community. Barry Rutenberg is Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Home Builders
Welcome to the BPC Housing Commission expert forum! This forum is intended to foster interactive and substantive discussion about pressing housing issues. Each month contributors from different parts of the housing sector will be invited to respond to a discussion topic. Guest posts will feature prominently on BPC’s website, as well as be shared regularly with Housing Commissioners to help inform their work. Have a pressing question you’d like us to consider? Please leave it in the comments section. We encourage you and our expert bloggers to add comments, contributing to the national dialogue on solutions for the future of the housing sector. Expert bloggers are not members of the BPC Housing Commission. Any views expressed on this forum do not necessarily represent the views of the Housing Commission, its Co-Chairs, or the Bipartisan Policy Center.