The U.S. is short 3.8 million housing units to keep up with household formation. Exclusionary zoning policies, rooted in a history of segregation, are making it harder to meet the national demand for better and more affordable housing. While state and local leaders across the country have been stepping up to promote housing abundance, our national response to housing shortages can be bolstered by increased federal action across the White House, Congress, and agencies like the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the Treasury Department.
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) is partnering with Slow Boring, Learning Collider, and Cornell University’s Legal Constructs Lab to crowdsource policy ideas to increase housing supply. The federal government has shared several strategies to close the gap in housing supply within the next 5 years. But high-quality policy ideas ready for action are also in short supply.
What We’re Looking For
Ideas for federal housing policy that are innovative, ambitious, and actionable. We are not looking for ideas for state and local policies (e.g., zoning reform). Your recommendations should focus on one of the following:
- Developing federal incentive structures that promote the construction of higher-density housing or multi-family housing in high-demand metropolitan regions
- Deploying or expanding new financing mechanisms to build more housing or fill critical gaps in home financing support for families
- Promoting housing innovation, including in building materials and methods, to reduce the financial and environmental costs of building new housing, and/or
- Aligning current policies around transportation, water, sewer, and other infrastructure and investments with housing production
- Introducing or improving federal data resources to measure the housing crisis
How it Works
- You submit an idea below that matches one or more of the relevant prompts (listed under “What We’re Looking For”). Submissions should be no more than 350 words and should include a clear plan of action in their recommendations.
- A selection of the most compelling ideas will get to work with our team of experts and deliver their ideas at a Fall pitch workshop and on the Slow Boring blog.
- Authors with promising ideas will be invited to convert them into full Day One Project memos and to socialize them with key government stakeholders, as appropriate.
Ultimately, FAS and partners will synthesize recommendations with contributors and collaboratively provide inputs to the policy leaders working with and within the White House, Congress, and federal agencies on ways to tackle the nation’s housing shortage.
Housing Challenge: Submit Your Idea by Sept. 8
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We encourage participants to avoid focusing solely on local zoning issues. This ideas challenge is focused on other actions that the federal government can take to increase the supply of housing in the United States.
We ask that all submissions follow the format above and feature a clear and concise summary and plan of action so that our teams may quickly understand the main thrust of your recommendations. You are welcome to link to relevant reports or data within your submission.
We are looking for ideas that are a) specific and grounded in the current housing landscape, b) are actionable at the federal level, and c) represent opportunities for bipartisan action. Creativity is also encouraged!
The team will accept submissions on a rolling basis until September 8th. We will get back to participants with an expected timeline shortly after they submit.
FAS maintains relationships and partnerships with a number of federal agencies. After the completion of the ideas challenge, we will work with authors to drive traction on their proposal with the goal of pushing for the implementation of recommendations outlined.
We will ask that you engage in written exchanges with our team of experts to further refine the ideas; alongside preparation for and participation in the workshop, we expect this might add up to ~8 hours over a couple of months.
Over the past several years, FAS has worked with leading academics, veteran policymakers, industry experts, researchers, students and other stakeholders to publish over 260 actionable policy proposals to support innovative policy in the federal government. Many of these proposals have had a direct impact on federal policymaking conversations; for example, the idea for the recently created US Digital Corps started as a memo published via FAS/the Day One Project before the Biden Administration launched it through the General Services Administration (GSA).
Yes! Participants are welcome to cross-publish on multiple platforms.