The Housing Supply Accelerator, a partnership between APA and the National League of Cities (NLC), is committed to addressing the nation's housing shortage by improving local capacity, identifying critical solutions, and refining processes that align the efforts of public and private stakeholders in the housing sector to meet housing needs at the local level.
On July 18, 2023, APA and NLC convened the Housing Supply Accelerator steering committee, with core, regional, and national stakeholders, in Tacoma, Washington. This meeting marked the second of three convenings, which explore three key drivers of the nation's housing shortage: construction and development; finance; and land use and regulations. The meeting in Tacoma centered on finance and identifying opportunities and strategies to bridge financing gaps in housing development to accelerate, preserve, and improve housing availability.
The conversations during the convening brought to attention several significant points:
- Providing local leaders with education and tools to better understand housing development finance
- Significance of forging partnerships between the public and private sectors
- Availability of federal grants and resources available to local governments to assist with addressing local housing challenges
Bridging the Information Gap for Local Leaders
Throughout the convening, it became clear that for local leaders to better address their local housing supply challenges increased capacity is needed. Suggested areas for increased capacity included connecting local leaders to experts and resources to assist with navigating the complexities of housing development finance and connecting local leaders to financial tools and resources of state, federal and national partners to address local housing supply challenges. A few of the tools highlighted include:
- The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency equips community and economic development stakeholders with guides to overcome barriers to financial inclusion. Additionally, the OCC’s Community Affairs Officers, situated nationwide, extend technical aid and training to local leaders through consultations, workshops, and conferences.
- The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a guide, Affordable Housing How-To Guide: How to Use State & Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for Affordable Housing Production and Preservation, to assist cities with using SLFRF for affordable housing. HUD's regional offices are an additional resource for local governments to obtain technical assistance on how to utilize HUD funds creatively.
- The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco extends several community programs and grants within their member territories, supporting the expansion of affordable housing and facilitating homeownership opportunities.
- The National Development Council provides advisory services tailored to local governments, enabling them to define effective local housing strategies and realize successful housing development projects.
Leveraging Public-Private Partnerships
Collaborative partnerships between governmental bodies and private investors, including local major employers or philanthropic organizations, offer a strategy to pool resources and deliver transformative housing projects.
- A collaboration between the Tacoma Housing Authority and JP Chase Bank, RBC Capital Markets, and Amazon Housing Equity Fund — The Hilltop, underscoring the significance of leveraging corporate partnerships.
- The Together Center, in Redmond, Washington, was highlighted at the convening. This project harmonizes social services and affordable housing in close proximity to transit, residing on a single campus. It leveraged non-profit owned land with investments from non-profit partners, the City of Redmond, state and federal entities, and private partners like Microsoft.
Utilizing Federal Funding and Programs
While some federal grants focus solely on producing, preserving, and improving housing supply, others are available through disciplines related to housing such as transportation and sustainability. This presents a unique opportunity for local governments to combine various resources applicable to their needs to fund housing projects and the infrastructure to support them.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation's Thriving Communities Program addresses the intersection of housing and transportation needs through planning, technical assistance, and capacity-building support in under-resourced communities.
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development introduced the Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing (PRO Housing) resource, which funds regulatory changes to increase housing supply.
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development established an inter-agency partnership with the USDA Rural Development, known as the Rural Partners Network, aimed at producing signature projects to improve housing supply in selected communities, including rural areas often ineligible for federal funding.
Additionally, the convening led to the identification of several topics for further exploration, including community land trusts and land banks.
Special thanks to our program partners for joining the convening, including National Association of Realtors, National Association of Home Builders, Mortgage Banker Association; federal representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Community Development and U.S. Treasury; representatives from national and regional organizations including National Development Council, National Council of State Housing Agencies, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, JP Morgan Chase, Smart Growth America, Center for Community Progress, LISC, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, Pallet Shelter, Puget Sound Regional Council, City of Tukwila, City of Renton, Homestead Community Land Trust, and DevCo.
The next convening on land use and regulations will be held in Washington, D.C. in September. Follow along for updates on X, formerly known as Twitter, using #housingsupplyaccelerator.
The Housing Supply Accererator is a joint initiative between APA and the National League of Cities to improve local capacity, identify critical solutions, and speed reforms that enable communities and developers to work together to produce, preserve, and provide a diverse range of quality housing.
Top image: Members of the Housing Supply Accelerator Steering Team visited The Southard, an environmentally sustainable neighborhood developed by the Homestead Community Land Trust in Tukwila, Washington.
About the Author
Stephanie Onuaja is a program manager for Housing and Community Development at the National League of Cities.