Monday the Yes in My Backyard (YIMBY) Act (H.R. 4351) passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support, after being approved by the House Financial Services Committee last week.
Introduced by Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN) and Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) on September 17, 2019, YIMBY requires Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) recipients to report on policies to remove barriers that impact access to housing for Hoosiers and all Americans.
Specifically, the YIMBY Act requires reporting under the existing Consolidated Plan on the implementation of certain land-use policies, including enacting high-density single-family and multi-family zoning and allowing manufactured homes in areas zoned primarily for single-family residential homes, among others, to promote housing production and increase affordability.
According to Up for Growth Action, a non-profit organization that focuses on housing affordability, from 2000 – 2015 the United States underproduced housing by 7.3 million homes. One considerable barrier to housing construction has been zoning and land use policies that stifle construction and have a significant impact on housing availability. As these regulations have increased, the result is fewer homes built and untenable housing costs.
H.R. 4351 seeks to increase transparency in land use and zoning decisions while encouraging localities to eliminate barriers to housing
“America is missing millions of homes, and solving our nationwide housing crisis will require federal, state and local governments to work together towards this shared goal,” said Heck. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant and we need to identify and reduce barriers to housing construction at the local level. In passing the YIMBY Act, I am proud that Congress is taking a critical first step towards bringing relief to cost-burdened renters and homeowners across America.”
“We want more affordable homes for American families,” said Hollingsworth. “Today’s bipartisan passage of YIMBY signals strong support across the aisle to reform our nation’s housing regulations at all levels of government.”
The CDBG program provides annual grants to states and local units of government to develop communities by providing decent housing and expanding economic opportunities.
Recognizing that CDBG funds are critical for localities, the YIMBY Act seeks to encourage local governments and CDBG practitioners to work together to address severe housing underproduction and improve the lives of families and individuals who are negatively impacted by a lack of affordable housing.
H.R. 4351 is supported by the American Planning Association, Congress for New Urbanism, Council for Affordable and Rural Housing, Habitat for Humanity International, Housing Advisory Group, Leading Builders of America, Manufactured Housing Institute, Mortgage Bankers Association, National Apartment Association, National Association of REALTORS, National Leased Housing Association, National Community Stabilization Trust, National Multifamily Housing Council, Prosperity Now, Real Estate Roundtable, Smart Growth America, YIMBY Action, and Up for Growth Action.