CALLING FOR AN HONEST DISCUSSION OF HOUSING by both Republicans and Democrats, four prominent men convened a press conference in Washington, D.C., to promote a comprehensive national housing agenda.

Housing is an issue that can “bring some civility to the debate in this country between the right and the left,” said Jack Kemp, former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the George H.W. Bush administration and co-director of Empower America, a public policy and advocacy organization he co-founded in 1993. Kemp was joined by Henry Cisneros, former HUD secretary during the first Clinton administration and chairman of American CityVista; Kent Colton, former CEO of the NAHB and a senior scholar at Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies; and Nicolas Retsinas, former assistant secretary for housing at HUD and director of Harvard's Joint Center.

Calling housing “the most regulated industry in the U.S.,” Kemp said the panel wants to use funding and tax incentives, not penalties, to encourage communities to eliminate regulations that are cutting off households from the economic and social benefits derived from affordably priced housing.

The men's agenda is included in their new book entitled Opportunity and Progress: A Bipartisan Platform for National Housing Policy. They call for an elimination of regulatory barriers to affordably priced housing, and they urge the federal government to assume its place at the table as a partner with states, localities, and public and private sector organizations to address housing concerns.