Spotlighting State Legislation on Housing Supply
Celebrating NAHREP familia, cultura, politics, and grassroots action
June 9, 2022
Qué onda mi gente?!
I’m currently at our Corporate Board of Governors (CBOG) Retreat and I was reminded of my favorite thing about NAHREP: the beautiful lifetime friendships that are built through this network. I had the pleasure of having dinner with some of my favorite NAHREP personalities, including Jerry Ascencio, Marc Hernandez, Cristian Correa, AT Almeida, and Alex Garza. We laughed harder than I have laughed, quite frankly, in a very long time. I needed that laugh. We were vulnerable, teased each other, told stories about our families, and through laughter, we established deeper bonds with one another than ever before. No pretense, no airs, no politics, just pure friendship. It went down as one of my favorite, most wholesome NAHREP experiences ever.
Relationships matter in life, of course, because friendships just make life better. But, they also matter in business and in advocacy. As all of you are establishing yourselves within your local communities, it is important to explore developing true friendships with people in government, whether it be in elected office or folks that work for those offices. Friendships that aren’t just transactional. And no, these won’t happen overnight. They require time, establishing trust, and an authentic effort to get to know people for who they are, where they have been, and where they’re going.
But going back to the CBOG retreat, I spoke to the board today about our state of play when it comes to politics. We are in the middle of a mid-term election, and we are more polarized as a country than ever. We are most likely not going to see any more action from Congress for the rest of the year. This means that it is more important than ever to look at our state and local initiatives to advance policies, particularly those that impact housing inventory. With that said, I thought I would give you all an overview of some legislation that we’ve been tracking that some of you might be interested in pushing for.
Significant homeownership investments in the CA state budget: NAHREP belongs to the California Homeownership Coalition, a group of housing advocacy organizations in California. Together, we are working to ensure that California’s Joint Legislative Budget includes significant investments in homeownership. The current budget proposal would make a substantial investment in new home construction, down payment assistance, and increased homeownership opportunities – including $350 million for CalHome, which acts directly to increase supply, $50 million in down payment assistance administered by CalHFA for low-income first-time homebuyers, $50 million for accessory dwelling unit (ADU) construction finance assistance, and $1 billion for the new California Dream for All Program, which is aimed at making homeownership more achievable.
Incentivize innovations to build affordable housing: Colorado lawmakers are considering House Bill 1282, the Innovative Housing Incentive Program, which would allocate $40 million to create an innovative housing program to incentivize developers to build affordable housing, such as modular or prefabricated homes. This funding would help cover operating expenses for developers, creating new jobs, funding factory development, and ultimately lowering the cost of housing for consumers.
Addressing statewide zoning reform: Arizona lawmakers recently passed HB 2674, called Municipal Zoning; By Right Housing. NAHREP was really excited about the original bill, which would have created a standardized set of statewide zoning rules to override housing regulations or restrictions adopted by local towns and cities. Understandably, this bill was ambitious and would have been difficult to pass. So in May, the state legislature revised the bill to instead create a committee to study the issue more deeply before establishing new zoning laws. The 10-member study committee will submit a report of their findings by the end of 2022, an important first step to addressing Arizona’s housing supply crisis. NAHREP is looking forward to reviewing its findings.
Rezoning commercial for residential: The Florida legislature recently passed Senate Bill 962, called Residential Development Projects for Affordable Housing, and the bill is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature. The bill allows a municipality to utilize a parcel zoned for commercial or industrial for a residential project, provided at least 10% of units constitute affordable housing. NAHREP is supportive of expanding zoning to include mixed-use projects and is hopeful it’ll be signed into law.
Housing investments in the budget: In April, Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak launched the Home Means Nevada initiative which would use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to invest $500 million to lower housing costs, help seniors stay in their homes by funding repairs and accessibility retrofits, and boost housing availability. The initiative includes $30 million to be invested in new home construction and rehabilitation. The initiative also aims to drop the cost of new homes from $500,000 to $350,000 and would develop up to 200 new single-family homes. The state has already begun accepting pre-applications for new and ongoing development projects at NevadaRecovers.com.
Middle housing initiative: Last year, the North Carolina legislature introduced SB 349 and its companion bill H401, called Increase Housing Opportunities. This bill would legalize “middle housing,” which it defines as duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, and townhouses. The bill would also give North Carolina homeowners the right to build and rent out an “accessory dwelling unit” (ADU). Finally, the bill would require each jurisdiction to make space for every type of land use except industrial and “nuisance” uses (such as garbage dumps). This bill has been held up in committee since last spring but the NAHREP Charlotte chapter is taking action on it, meeting with the bill co-sponsors, and seeing how we can get involved in bringing it back to life. As this bill perfectly aligns with NAHREP’s policy priorities, we hope to see the bill make some headway in moving forward.
Your NAC Call to Action
If you come from one of these states, I encourage you to ask your elected officials about these policies and have a discussion on how we can help move these issues forward. Or, you can use these as ideas to bring to your elected officials and encourage them to do something similar in your state.
Un abrazo a todos. I’m hoping that all of you get some of that deep belly, teary-eyed type of laughter in your conversations over the next few weeks.
About Noerena Limón
Noerena Limón is NAHREP’s Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Industry Relations. Noerena heads the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts on issues ranging from homeownership, housing inventory, credit access and immigration.
Prior to joining NAHREP, Noerena spent six years at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and served as a political appointee under President Obama in the White House Office of Political Affairs.