Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria and the other members of the National Association of Counties Housing Task Force have released a final report highlighting best housing practices and identifying 25 policy recommendations to enhance housing affordability.
The Housing Task Force was impaneled by National Association of Counties President Denise Winfrey and consisted of 33 county commissioners and other county leaders from across the country. Since November 2022, the Housing Task Force has collaborated with housing policy experts, academics, intergovernmental partners, and other stakeholders to identify and elevate county-led solutions to address the housing affordability crisis.
“Making housing more affordable is one of Wake County’s most acute challenges,” said Commissioner Calabria. “But what we are experiencing locally is part of a national trend, with counties across the country facing rising housing costs. This report identifies steps counties can take to improve housing affordability, so families won’t be priced out of their communities.”
While county authority and community needs vary locally and the prospect of realizing housing affordability is a long-term goal, the Housing Task Force identified five categories of policy, programmatic, financial and community-engagement levers that counties can use to effect change.
- Land use, zoning, infrastructure and community planning: Evaluate zoning plans and practices, identify infrastructure barriers to new development, understand inventory of additional land, develop long-term housing and land use plans, and assess existing housing stock for potential opportunities.
- Federal-county intergovernmental solutions: Invest additional federal resources to support housing, educate federal and state partners on local housing needs, and combine resources.
- Finance, lending and county tax policy: Identify opportunities for tax incentives, reform the county assessment process, administer supporting programs that prioritize underserved communities, partner with local organizations to provide innovative financing mechanisms, and source new revenue streams.
- Local regulation, permitting and fees: Evaluate county permitting and inspections to identify points of improvement, provide pre-approved templates for housing designs, analyze the impact of local regulations on housing affordability, and streamline and simplify county systems.
- Community engagement, partnerships and education: Establish an office or department to streamline housing projects and facilitate partnerships, foster healthy dialogue with community organizations, engage in public education initiatives, measure success and communicate milestones.
“The report dovetails nicely with the work of Wake County’s Housing Affordability and Community Revitalization Department. In Fiscal Year 2024, our board is investing nearly $20 million in capital projects to preserve the affordable housing stock that already exists and develop even more units for people in need of safe, stable places to live,” said Commissioner Vickie Adamson, who chairs the board’s Affordable Housing Committee.
For more information about NACo’s Housing Task Force and to access the final report and recommendations, click here.