A NEW STUDY FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT of Housing and Urban Development places part of the blame for the lack of workforce housing on excessive governmental regulation. The report points to a number of trends that make it more difficult for essential workers such as teachers and police officers to live in the communities in which they work. Among them:

  • complex environmental regulations that increase the length of the home building approval process,
  • impact fees that “may not reflect the true infrastructure costs of a development and can artificially inflate the cost of housing,”
  • outdated building and rehabilitation codes,
  • the misuse of “smart growth” policies, and
  • slow and burdensome permitting processes.
  • The report, however, notes that there are exceptional communities that are removing barriers to allow for affordable housing to be built. “This report is a call to action for government at every level to rethink its approach to affordable housing and begin asking, ‘Why not?'” says HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. “All of us need to raise the level of common sense to make sure we don't create man-made obstacles that close doors on the very people who should be our neighbors.”

    For its part, HUD says that it's reviewing all of its regulations to locate any unnecessary barriers. In addition, all proposed HUD regulations must now be reviewed for their potential impact on affordability.