Health Issues Inspire Local Governments To Expand Housing Supply

view down a four lane street flanked by trees. with coloured leaves and low rise buildings
Fayetteville, Arkansas, where local authorities have pre-approved architectural designs to speed up the construction of new homes in the city.

Research in the United States has been connecting safe, stable affordable housing with health care. This post is the final in a short series about how the research is spreading throughout institutions across the country.

This post is about a resource published by the National League of Cities (the League), which advocates for local government interests. The resource, called the Housing Supply Accelerator Playbook (the Playbook) is a joint project between the League and the American Planning Association.

COVID 19 is the health impetus for the Playbook. Local governments implemented creative responses to keep people housed. As well, higher orders of government often assigned the distribution emergency housing funding to local governments. And as the emergency funding has ended and homelessness has become much more visible, local governments are facing pressure to do something to solve the issue.

Local governments acknowledge the need for more housing. Local government also have clear roles in the housing development process. The Playbook brings together strategies that local governments have used to increase the diversity of housing stock and to add housing opportunities for groups of people that have difficulty accessing the existing supply. Some examples include

    • land banks
    • transit oriented development
    • allowing accessory dwelling units and medium density developments
    • changing parking requirements
    • funding renovations and repairs
    • funding pre-development costs

Why does this matter?

Much more deeply affordable housing is needed as part of any plan to end homelessness. Local governments are responsible for zoning, which controls what gets built. The majority of residential land use in the United States provides for single family housing exclusively. Changing zoning is central to adding to housing supply. But as the Executive Director of the National League of Cities notes, while changing zoning is a step in the right direction, it is not a silver bullet.  The Playbook, with its diverse collection of initiatives that have been implemented successfully, will help other local leaders to get on board.

The Playbook is posted on line by the National League of Cities1: Housing Supply Accelerator Playbook


  1. You will need to sign up to access the Playbook. No other payment is required.