The House of Representatives approved the Yes in My Backyard (YIMBY) act on Monday, following approval by the House Financial Services Committee in February.
The legislation—H.R. 4351—requires Community Development Block (CDBG) recipients to report on local policies that impact housing affordability. Policies include bills regarding multi-family zoning, lot sizes, transit-oriented development zones, and more.
“The YIMBY Act does not condition CDBG funding on implementation of any specific policy, but rather encourages communities to become a part of the housing affordability conversation by highlighting the policies that improve housing affordability—and those that make housing more expensive,” a press release states.
“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 Representative Denny Heck (D-Washington). “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.”
Both the National Multifamily Housing Council (NHMC) and the National Apartment Association (NAA) voiced their support for the YIMBY Act as it made its way past the House Financial Services Committee.
“There is no doubt communities across the country are facing serious housing affordability challenges,” the two organizations said in a joint announcement.
House Financial Services Committee member Patrick McHenry praised H.R. 4351 during the committee’s markup last month, calling it a “good step forward” in understanding local barriers to housing.
“We need to look at local zoning laws. We need to look at the regulatory barriers and we need to look at the local processes and procedures that are harming our cities,” McHenry said.
Kim Hart, Managing Editor for AXIOS, appeared on CNBC in October 2019 to discuss the YIMBY moment. She said San Francisco was “ground zero” for rising home prices since the Great Recession, with home prices near $1 million and $1.7 million.
“You’re starting to see more and more people say, ‘well, you know what, the answer to this is to increase the supply. To help meet that demand. We have to build more houses and we have to build more units beyond single-family houses,’” Hart said.