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New HUD Program Takes Aim at Housing Supply Crisis

June 6, 2022

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a new program to help remedy the nation’s housing supply shortage by boosting affordable housing. HUD’s “Our Way Home” initiative sets out to increase housing supply by helping local communities preserve and add affordable housing in their area for rentals and homeownership. This may include several initiatives, like advocating for zoning changes, holding roundtables to engage local and state leadership for solutions, and more.

The National Association of REALTORS® welcomed HUD’s announcement to combat the housing supply challenge. “As NAR has long recognized, a collaborative approach that involves local partners is critical to building strong, thriving, and inclusive communities,” NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith said in a statement about HUD’s new initiative. “‘Our Way Home’ promises to not only provide tools and resources necessary to address the supply shortages plaguing the country, but it will also improve vital HUD programs based on feedback gained through this effort.”

NAR commissioned a report last year that found the U.S. faces a housing shortfall of 5.5 million housing units. The gap is so large, NAR says, that eliminating it will likely take more than a decade. The combination of record-high home prices and record-low housing inventories is making homeownership increasingly difficult to achieve, particularly for Americans of color and first-generation home buyers, NAR says in its recent “Double Trouble” report.

“This historic shortage of affordable housing requires a once-in-a-generation response,” Rouda Smith says. NAR supports zoning reform, greater allocations to increase new-home construction, expanded financing options, and tax incentives that will increase investments to convert unused commercial spaces into residential.

“The shortage of affordable housing has been growing for decades—but this is a solvable crisis,” Marcia L. Fudge, HUD’s secretary, said in the “Our Way Home” initiative announcement. “Across the country, we are seeing many communities ending exclusionary zoning, building affordable housing in communities that previously did not allow it. We are seeing communities use innovative building models and materials, and design homes that are sustainable and resilient. And we’re seeing communities tackle homelessness by building permanent affordable housing with services. These are the types of community wins that we want to elevate with ‘Our Way Home’ and encourage others to follow.”