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Schatz Secures $85 Million To Address National Housing Crisis, Help Build More Affordable Housing

Funding Included In Appropriations Bill Will Encourage Local Communities To Cut Unnecessary Housing Regulations, Help Increase Housing Supply

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) today secured the inclusion of a new $85 million grant program based on his bipartisan ‘Yes In My Backyard’ legislation in the fiscal year 2023 appropriations bill. The bill establishes a new federal program to reward state and local governments that reform land-use policies and other local barriers that constrain the supply of affordable housing.

“We need to legalize housing, and abandon the exclusionary zoning that originated during Jim Crow and continues today. Government needs to change its mentality from intentionally constraining the supply of housing to incentivizing it,” said Senator Schatz, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.

For decades, local zoning and land use regulations as well as lack of necessary housing-related infrastructure have prevented housing production from keeping pace with population and economic growth, resulting in a nationwide housing shortage. The new $85 million federal grant program will help reverse this trend by rewarding state, local, and regional jurisdictions that address exclusionary zoning practices, land use policies, and housing infrastructure to increase the supply of affordable housing. These policies include increasing density, reducing minimum lot sizes, creating transit-oriented development zones, streamlining or shortening permitting processes and timeline, expanding by-right multifamily zoned areas, allowing accessory dwelling units on lots with single family homes, eliminating or relaxing residential property height limitations, and donating vacant land for affordable housing development.

Schatz first introduced the Yes in My Backyard Act in 2019 with U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.). It was re-introduced last year, and has the support of more than 250 organizations.