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Schatz, Young Lead Roundtable Discussion On Housing Supply, Yes In My Backyard Policies

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai?i), chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) this week led a roundtable discussion on the national housing crisis and how “Yes In My Backyard” policies and reforms can address our nation’s housing shortage.

“The housing shortage didn’t happen overnight. It’s a product of decades of broken and racist housing policy – particularly zoning laws, restrictive covenants, and land use regulations that were designed to segregate Americans by race and class,” said Senator Schatz. “Fixing the housing shortage starts at an obvious place. To have more housing, we need to make it easier to build it. That means eliminating unnecessary barriers and legalizing the types and amount of housing people want and need. A lot of this work by default will happen at the state and local levels. But the federal government has a role and responsibility to help encourage reform as best we can.”

“The YIMBY Act encourages localities to adopt more pro-growth zoning practices and cut through the red tape that hampers construction and increases costs,” said Senator Young. “Our overarching goal is to ensure that every American has access to decent and suitable housing. To achieve this, we must tackle the housing supply shortage that is acutely felt across the nation. This isn’t a red state or blue state issue. It isn’t a rural or urban issue. It is an issue that is affecting Americans of all income levels across the country.”

“Communities across the country, including in Oregon, are facing a shortage of homes, which is driving up the cost of housing for many Americans,” said Julie Fahey, Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives. “By collaborating on the state, local, and national level, we can continue to break down barriers to building housing with smart, equitable policies that create accessible pathways to housing for all.”

“I’m gratified that Sen. Schatz and Sen. Young are placing a spotlight on the housing supply problem. Decades of under-building have led to a severe shortage of affordable homes in communities across the country. This roundtable shows how everyone can play a part in addressing the issue, especially when it comes to the availability and use of land,” said Arica Young, Associate Director of the Underserved Mortgage Markets Coalition and Innovations in Manufactured Homes Network at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. “I am deeply grateful to participate in Senators Schatz and Young's roundtable to discuss concrete solutions to housing supply, an issue that is a problem for communities of all sizes and types. It is a drag on economic development and influences negative health and education outcomes. This is a chance to talk about solutions!”

“Our housing shortage deeply affects working and middle class Americans across the country, with people living in overcrowded, substandard housing far from where they work. Most young adults view home ownership as a pipe dream. That’s why I’m thrilled that we have champions like Senator Schatz fighting for federal policies that ease zoning restrictions and make it easier to build more housing. The Senator represents the next generation of legislators who are saying ‘yes in my backyard’ to new housing and new neighbors. The YIMBY movement is proud to be the grassroots organization fighting for these changes and working arm-in-arm with these legislators,” said Sonja Trauss, Executive Director of YIMBY Law.

The discussion included the following panelists:

  • The Honorable Julie Fahey, Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives
  • Arica Young, Associate Director of the Underserved Mortgage Markets Coalition and Innovations in Manufactured Homes Network at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
  • Sonja Trauss, Executive Director of YIMBY Law

Video of the roundtable discussion is available here.


Related Issues

  1. Housing & Transportation