Wednesday, July 24, 2019

HUD’s Ben Carson Continues Ramp-up of Affordable Housing Solutions

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said tackling the nation’s affordable housing crisis will take ingenuity and removal of barriers that restrict construction in cities across the nation.

Carson said strict zoning and other regulatory burdens drive up the cost of construction and make it more difficult to create new housing. Increased development costs force rents and home prices higher, further squeezing the pocketbooks of many Americans.

Affordability has emerged as a pressing issue in cities across the nation.

Carson said the nation needs to embrace new building techniques, such as modular construction and tiny houses. And it needs to incentivize development and relax land-use restrictions to help overcome the housing crunch.

However Carson’s idea of modular housing is really the types of modular built by Clayton Homes and other HUD manufacturers.

“Those are huge barriers,” Carson said. “When you look at some of the areas of the country where homelessness is the greatest, you see the greatest number of zoning restrictions.”

Many cities and counties devote the largest proportion of their residentially zoned property to single-family, detached dwellings. HUD does not have statutory authority to change zoning, but Carson said the agency can work with local governments to loosen zoning.

Change could come rather quickly if he continues to show that manufactured housing and inexpensive modular housing can be one of the solutions to America’s housing problem, especially if he can pierce the R1 zoning laws.

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