“We’re seeing a shortage, or housing underproduction, in all corners of the U.S.,” says Mike Kingsella, the CEO of Up for Growth, which on Thursday released a study about the problem. The nonprofit research group is made up of affordable housing and industry groups.
“America’s fallen 3.8 million homes short of meeting housing needs,” he says. “And that’s both rental housing and ownership.”
Perhaps the biggest issue, he says, is that states and towns desperately need to change their zoning rules.
Changing outdated zoning rules is key
Ernest Brown heads up the Atlanta chapter of YIMBY Action, a housing advocacy organization... Brown says many places like Atlanta have outdated zoning rules that allow for either big apartment buildings downtown or single family homes on big lots — and nothing in between. He says that this results in a "missing middle" of more affordable town houses or smaller starter homes closer together.
Brown hears people complaining all the time about not being able to afford a house. He tries to get them to go to zoning meetings and call their representatives.
"They actually want to hear from you, particularly at the local level," he says. Brown says what he likes about the housing issue is that if you get involved, you're not just yelling into the wind about far-off federal politicians in Washington. Big changes have to happen at the state and local levels, he says.
"I have the phone number and regularly chat with my council person."
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