Planners ‘Plant a Seed’ for Housing Reform

This month, nearly 100 planners from across the country gathered online for APA's Planners' Day on Capitol Hill. Each advocate brought stories of the housing challenges their communities are facing — and how planners are working to boost housing supply and expand affordability.

With a variety of federal legislation on deck to help address the nationwide housing supply crisis, Planners' Day proved to be an opportunity for planners to tell Congressional representatives why communities of all sizes need federal support for zoning reform. And Congress was ready to listen.


"I know you all have other meetings… if you have time, I'd love to talk about ADUs." ALWAYS have time to advocate for ADU reforms! Thank you to the office of @SenBobCasey for being #zoningreform champions." with a photo of advocates in attendance.

Bipartisan Support Grows for National Housing Reform

Housing and zoning reform remains a national focus as leaders on both sides of the aisle show their support for legislation such as the newly introduced Reducing Regulatory Barriers to Housing Act, the YIMBY Act, the Housing Supply and Availability Act, and the PRO-housing grant program.

Each of these APA-endorsed bills individually would create new tools and opportunities for planners to advance reforms at the local level, and together they empower communities to expand attainable housing options that meet their residents' needs. With national support stronger than ever, now is the time for planning advocates to secure federal action on pro-reform bills and programs like these.

"No matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on, it's beyond clear that the status quo is not working and reforms are desperately needed. Some steps can take place and policies that we can implement to make a difference for hard-working families. Of course, one of the most impactful ways we can do that is through zoning reforms."
— Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), during Planners' Day opening session
We have a housing affordability problem. In order to fix it, we need a robust response at the state, local and federal level.

Planners' Advocacy Continues for Housing Reform

But Planners’ Day is not the end of planners' advocacy in this important conversation. Said one first-time advocate, "We all touched a part of the (housing) bills and how important they are. So even if the staff members (of Congress) had questions or not, I believe we all planted seeds and we continue to see them grow."

APA is working to nurture this seed through national partnerships like the Housing Supply Accelerator, aimed at bringing community leaders and housing stakeholders together to identify and share local actions that communities can take to boost housing supply.

Last week, APA President Angela D. Brooks, FAICP, joined one Housing Supply Accelerator partner, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), to give voice to the essential role planners play in keeping communities on track to achieving their housing goals.

At the national level and the individual, advocates for housing solutions are raising their collective voices in support of zoning reform. Together, we can spur federal action that can be leveraged at the state and local levels to create more accessible, equitable, and attainable housing options for all.

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About the Author
Brenna Donegan is APA's public affairs program manager.

June 25, 2024

By Brenna Donegan