The YIMBY Act Gains Momentum in the House

Financial Services Committee to mark-up pro-housing legislation on Thursday

February 25, 2020 | Up for Growth
Reading time: 3 minutes min

WASHINGTON, DC – The House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to markup the Yes in My Back Yard (YIMBY) Act on Thursday, February 27. Introduced in 2019 by Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) and Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN), H.R. 4351 requires Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) recipients to report on local policies that affect housing creation and affordability. Policies cited in the legislation include multifamily zoning, reduced minimum lot sizes, transit-oriented development zones, accelerated permitting timelines, and lowered parking requirements. The amended version of the YIMBY Act adds new provisions such as increasing density bonuses, easing height restrictions for residential properties, and incentivizing mixed-income developments. 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 conversation by highlighting the policies that improve housing affordability – and those that make housing more expensive – in their localities.

“Support for the YIMBY Act is growing because the national housing crisis is no longer something that elected officials at any level of government can ignore,” said Mike Kingsella, Executive Director of Up for Growth Action. “We applaud Representative Heck and Chairwoman Waters for making the YIMBY Act a priority on the House Financial Services Committee and look forward to continuing to work with them on pro-housing policies in Congress.”

Up for Growth Action led a coalition of 20 organizations in writing a letter of support for the amended version of the YIMBY Act and its consideration by House Financial Services. “The YIMBY Act will help communities recognize their own agency in the housing shortage and provide them with a framework for smarter policymaking,” wrote these organizations, which include Council for Affordable and Rural Housing, Habitat for Humanity International, the National Multifamily Housing Council, Smart Growth America, and YIMBY Action. Up for Growth Action wrote about the YIMBY Act in its latest insights posts, which highlights some policies that fall under YIMBY Act jurisdiction and are currently being considered by cities and states across the country.

Senator Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the Senate version of the YIMBY Act; it is co-sponsored by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI). The YIMBY Act is one of the key bills in Up for Growth Action’s legislative agenda, which also includes the Build More Housing Near Transit Act and the Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act.

Up for Growth Action, a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization, fosters equitable growth by empowering a diverse member network in advancing research and policy that eliminate structural barriers to housing. You can learn more at http://www.upforgrowth.org