White House Signs Executive Order for Council on Affordable Housing

White House Council on Affordable Housing
President Trump readies himself to sign an executive order on affordable housing. Image and video courtesy of C-Span.

Move Toward Regulatory Reform Bodes Well for Manufactured Housing Industry

President Trump signed an executive order that directs federal agencies to collaborate on ways to reduce government barriers to affordable housing.

“We’re going to take a major step in our historic regulatory reduction campaign today,” the president said during a live broadcast from the Oval Office. “We begin a bold new initiative to bring down the cost of housing for American families… launching the White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing.”

The new federal council will be led by Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.

“Over-regulation of housing in the housing market is a primary cause of the rising housing costs across our country. Nationwide it’s estimated that the regulations account for more than 25 percent of the cost of a new home,” the president said. “As a result, the supply of affordable housing cannot keep up with demand today. Over 37 million American households have to spend more than 30 percent of their annual income on housing.”

Manufactured Housing Institute on Council for Affordable Housing

In a “Housing Alert” to MHI members, the national association indicated the council would work on how to:

  • Quantify the impact of the lack of affordable housing on individuals and the economy and the impact of regulatory barriers on the production of affordable housing
  • Review rules and regulations for impact on impeding affordable housing development. And to make changes at the federal level to support the production of affordable housing
  • Adjust federal programs to incentivize localities to reduce regulatory barriers or condition federal funding on such reductions of local impediments, such as zoning and land-use restrictions
  • Present to Congress legislative recommendations to alleviate the barriers to the production of affordable housing

“MHI has always advocated for policy solutions that target the underlying problem—a limited supply of affordable housing,” MHI stated in its alert. “Today’s executive order makes clear that the only appropriate solution is to focus on reducing the cost of supply and emphasize innovative housing solutions, which includes manufactured housing and a right-sized regulatory focus.”

HUD Secretary Ben Carson to Lead New Council on Affordable Housing

Secretary Ben Carson said the council consists of members from eight federal agencies. Council members will lead federal efforts to engage with the state, local and tribal leaders across the country. The goal is to remove obstacles that impede the production of affordable homes.

“The president has given us a mission to break down barriers and to clear the path for the millions of Americans to pursue their American dream,” Carson said. “It’s a mission we proudly and enthusiastically accept.

“The forgotten men and women of America will be forgotten no longer”, Carson added, thanking the president and administration.

“The home is the foundation of the community, which is the foundation of the nation. We can all do this if we work together,” Carson said.

Structure of the New Council on Affordable Housing

A White House-issued release on the executive order states the assistants to the president for domestic policy and for economic policy, or their designees, will serve as vice chairpersons for the council.

In addition, the council on affordable housing will consist of the following officials or their designees:
  • Secretary of the Treasury
  • The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Secretary of the Interior
  • Secretary of Agriculture
  • Director of the Office of Management and Budget
  • Secretary of Labor
  • Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers
  • Secretary of Transportation
  • Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Secretary of Energy

Heads of executive departments, agencies and offices may, from time to time, designate or invite attendees, as appropriate. The vice chairs shall convene regular meetings of the council, determine its agenda, and direct its work with the oversight of and in consultation with the chairman. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide funding and administrative support for the council.

Senators Join Administration for Signing of Executive Order on Regulatory Reform

Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., said she visited all 15 Arizona counties within the first 90 days of her Senate term. She said there was a theme among her constituents throughout.

“We’re a very diverse state, and the economy is growing. But a top theme is affordable housing, and there are many barriers to that, and so this group coming together … to provide more opportunities at lower cost, so everybody can meet their full potential, is really important for my constituents. So I am grateful for this initiative.”

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said the new council is certain to help more Americans who are credit-worthy to achieve homeownership.

“The American Dream so often is seen through the prism of homeownership,” Scott said. “This executive order will accelerate the path of responsible home ownership.”