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Heck's Yes In My Backyard Act Passes House
March 4, 2020

Earlier this week, on a unanimous voice vote in Congress on an NAHB key vote, the Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) Act co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Denny Heck (D-Olympia), HR 4351, passed the House of Representatives.

The United States is suffering from a severe housing crisis, with a shortage of seven to ten million housing units. This shortage is stressing our nation’s housing ecosystem and driving up the cost of shelter for all Americans. From homeowners to renters, market-rate to affordable homes, and urban to suburban areas, no corner of our nation has managed to avoid the economic impacts of our national housing crisis.

H.R. 4351, introduced by U.S. Reps. Denny Heck (WA-10) and Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09) addresses housing underproduction in the United States by requiring local governments to receive federal housing development funds through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to track and report on policies that may affect housing affordability. The bill would also increase transparency on local land-use policies and encourage localities to reduce barriers to housing production.

“America is missing millions of homes, and solving our nationwide housing crisis will require federal, state, and local governments to work together towards this shared goal,” said Heck. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and we need to identify and reduce barriers to housing construction at the local level. In passing the YIMBY Act, I am proud that Congress is taking a critical first step towards bringing relief to cost-burdened renters and homeowners across America.”

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) studies show that regulatory requirements alone account for about 25% of the cost of constructing a single-family home and roughly 30% of the price of a multifamily unit. Every day, builders grapple with increasing construction material costs, a shortage of skilled workers, and a dwindling supply of developed lots. Restrictive local policies that limit or even prohibit various types of homes and make large areas off-limits to new construction contribute significantly to this affordability problem. NAHB polling indicates that four out of five American households now believe the nation is suffering a housing affordability crisis, and at least 75% report this is a problem at the state and local level as well. NAHB believes that the YIMBY Act represents a common-sense approach to utilizing key federal resources to incentivize local communities to implement pro-housing policies and address the affordability crisis facing our nation.

This legislation will help address a key impediment to housing affordability – overly restrictive local land-use policies. By requiring local governments to detail specific policies publicly they are implementing to eliminate barriers to housing affordability when applying for federal funds through the CDBG program, the YIMBY Act will help communities across the nation proactively address this critical issue.

To view U.S. Rep. Heck’s floor speech on this legislation, click here.

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