- The National League of Cities (NLC) has created a national housing task force to address the growing housing crisis. It will examine issues including housing availability, affordability, quality and investments.
- The National League of Cities Task Force on Housing will be made up of 18 leaders from cities of various sizes, regions and demographics. It was created under the leadership of NLC President and Gary, IN Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, and it will be chaired by Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.
- The group will develop a set of best and promising practices for addressing housing issues at the local level as well as policy recommendations for state and federal governments.
The housing crisis initially was viewed as a problem only in large cities, namely those with traditionally high costs of living or some that have seen recent affordability issues in conjunction with the tech industry boom. But leaders no longer consider the problem limited to cities like New York, San Francisco and Seattle. Mid- and small-sized cities including Salt Lake City also are feeling the pinch and taking action to mitigate the problem.
The cost of housing now outpaces wage growth in most parts of America and the problem has the potential to worsen significantly, given that more and more people are moving to urban areas, further stretching housing supply. "The affordable housing crisis is one of the most critical issues we are facing in this country," Bowser said in a statement.
Cities are trying a variety of tactics to address their individual housing challenges, from Boston offering up $16 million for affordable housing projects to Baltimore launching an affordable housing trust to numerous cities cracking down on short-term rentals to several cities like Denver implementing housing plans. But cities increasingly are realizing they can't necessarily do this all alone.
Boston teamed up with neighboring municipalities to create a regional housing partnership and the Salt Lake City Council called on neighboring municipalities to follow suit when it passed a housing plan last year. Plus, groups including the U.S. Conference of Mayors have dedicated housing groups to bring together a variety of leaders to brainstorm solutions. Thus far no tried-and-true solution has emerged for the housing crisis, but NLC's housing task force could provide a framework for progress on the topic.