NHC’s Policy Priorities
Defending Our American Home Since 1931
The National Housing Conference is a diverse continuum of affordable housing stakeholders that convene and collaborate through dialogue, advocacy, research, and education, to develop equitable solutions that serve our common interest – an America where everyone is able to live in a quality, affordable home in a thriving community.
Affordable Housing Production and Preservation
No single factor impacts housing affordability more than the law of supply and demand. The supply of housing for extremely low through moderate-income Americans remains unsustainably inadequate. The United States is millions of units short of what we need, and even more alarming, according to Moody’s Analytics, we have experienced an 8% decline in affordable units for the extremely low-income renters since the pandemic. NHC is committed to addressing affordable housing production and preservation shortages of single-family and multifamily units in urban, suburban, rural, and Tribal areas. Reducing barriers to producing and preserving affordable housing, like exclusionary zoning, development fees on affordable housing, and other regulatory impediments to increasing supply are key components of our approach. We strongly support the enactment of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act and the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act to help address this issue.
Vibrant communities are an essential part of any successful housing strategy. Programs aimed at funding schools, community facilities, and economic development have a proven record of success to help communities leverage their housing strategies to create dynamic, healthy places to live. The best way to acknowledge the impact of community development tools is through adequate funding, as well as expanding tax credit-driven programs to maximize private sector capital.
Housing policy must include a renewed focus on incorporating sustainable building practices and disaster mitigation strategies to ensure that homes are more resilient to climate change. Incorporating climate resilience into development will support healthier and more economic homes for people who are at risk of bearing the brunt of climate impacts and reduce the risk of displacement resulting from damage caused by extreme weather or disasters. Strategies include but are not limited to improvements in the National Flood Insurance Program, accelerating the implementation of Inflation Reduction Act resources in ways that benefit affordable housing and its residents, and empowering housing advocates, renters, and homeowners to better engage with environmental initiatives that improve the quality and safety of homes.
Expanding Homeownership and Racial Equity
Narrowing and ultimately closing the racial and ethnic homeownership gap is essential to the future prosperity of all Americans. Concentrated efforts to better assist Black Americans and Americans of AAPI, Latino, and Native American national origins are needed to effectively expand homeownership. Tools include but are not limited to Special Purpose Credit Programs, down payment assistance, and other financial products that invest in historically neglected communities. NHC’s leadership role in the Black Homeownership Collaborative and our Racial Equity Working Group are key components of our work.
Health and Housing
Safe and stable housing is one of the most important social determinants of health, but federal policies on healthcare and housing are inefficiently siloed. Addressing the larger health and behavioral needs of communities through healthy housing initiatives has an outsized impact on the population’s health as a whole. Effective change must engage the federal Departments of Health and Human Services as well as Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in recognizing housing as a healthcare solution. NHC is committed to engaging with healthcare partners to address the changing needs of health and housing, including finding housing solutions for seniors as the population ages.
Housing Security and Sustainability
Efforts to promote affordable housing and homeownership are ultimately only as effective as their sustainability. Lessons learned from programs during the COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters, including more loss mitigation options and flexible funding of emergency assistance, should be incorporated into long-term sustainability solutions, including a permanent authorization of resources. NHC is committed to finding strategies to keep people in their homes and avoid the long-term negative impacts of displacement on renters and homeowners.
Being prepared to meet the housing challenges of families and individuals experiencing homelessness is essential to realizing NHC’s vision of an America where everyone is able to live in a quality, affordable home in a thriving community. Adequate funding, good policy and evidence-based program design informed by people with lived expertise (i.e., rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, Housing First) are required to move people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing. Policies that criminalize homelessness and poverty are never effective in ending homelessness and often create additional barriers to people successfully securing housing and employment. Promoting affordable housing as a strategy to reduce the risk of homelessness through rental assistance, and increasing the supply of units affordable to extremely low-income households is vital to making sustainable reductions in homelessness.
The U.S. has a diverse set of regulations that contribute to the overall housing landscape and are designed in a manner that greatly impacts the availability of affordable housing. Ensuring that the Federal Housing Finance Agency, HUD, and the Departments of Treasury, Agriculture, and Veterans Affairs are maximizing their capability to foster affordable housing and invest in communities through coordinated efforts provide large-scale opportunities to address housing challenges. Regulatory and statutory improvements to the Housing Choice Voucher, Capital Magnet Fund, HOME Investment Partnerships and Section 234 housing programs are essential to maximizing the impact of every federal dollar invested in housing.
Technology and Innovation
Technical innovations help to better identify profound housing needs, drive the tools necessary to ensure a vibrant homeownership market, empower consumers to help meet their specific needs, and better support regulatory and enforcement efforts in combatting housing discrimination. It is crucial that as we continue fostering ways to create housing opportunities, the relevant agencies have the technology they need to better innovate, expand, and regulate housing. Key to this goal is the use and sharing of data and the continued adaptation of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning while remaining cognizant of unintended consequences of new technology.