Administration Establishes Council on Affordable Housing

President Trump yesterday signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Council on Eliminating Barriers to Affordable Housing, and named HUD Secretary Ben Carson as its chair.

The Council will consist of members across eight federal agencies and engage with state, local, and tribal leaders across the country to identify and remove the obstacles that impede the production of affordable homes.

The Administration cited the “enormous price tag that follow burdensome government regulations” as a barrier in creating affordable housing.

“With the signing of today’s Executive Order, President Trump is prescribing a powerful treatment that correctly diagnoses the source of America’s affordable housing condition: this is a matter of supply and demand, and we have to increase the supply of affordable homes by changing the cost side of the equation,” Carson said in a statement. “Increasing the supply of housing by removing overly burdensome rules and regulations will reduce housing costs, boost economic growth, and provide more Americans with opportunities for economic mobility.”

Mortgage Bankers Association President and CEO Robert Broeksmit, CMB, issued a statement yesterday in support of the Executive Order.

“President Trump’s administration is to be commended for shining further light on the housing affordability challenges facing low-to-moderate-income Americans and the middle class,” Broeksmi said. “Housing affordability is an issue affecting millions of Americans, and we believe the public and private sectors must work together on solutions that ensure those looking to rent or buy a home are given every available opportunity. MBA looks forward to continuing to work with the administration and other stakeholders on this issue in order to strengthen communities throughout the country.”

Earlier this month MBA launched a new strategic initiative to help develop stronger and more effective affordable housing partnerships in both the policy and business arenas. The objective of these partnerships will be to promote more sustainable, affordable homes for purchase and rental for underserved people and communities, especially minorities and low-to-moderate-income Americans.

MBA named Steve O’Connor, a 23-year veteran of MBA and currently its Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Industry Relations, as Senior Vice President for Affordable Housing Initiatives.

The Council is tasked with accomplishing the following items by January 2021:

1. Work across agencies, states, local governments, tribal governments and private-sector stakeholders to identify policies that artificially increase the cost of developing affordable housing.

2. Report on the quantifiable effect that federal, state, local and tribal regulatory barriers have on affordable housing development, the economy and society.

3. Take action to reduce federal regulatory and administrative burdens that discourage private investment and housing development;

4. Take action within existing federal programs to align and support local, and tribal state efforts to reduce regulatory and administrative burdens that discourage housing development.

5. Recommend federal, state, local and tribal policies that would reduce and streamline statutory, regulatory and administrative burdens that inhibit the development of affordable housing supply at all levels of government; and incentivize state, local and tribal governments to reduce barriers to affordable housing development.