Social Innovation
day one project

We need your ideas to increase housing supply

07.14.23 | 2 min read

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:

How it Works

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 

Have more questions? See the FAQ below or get in touch with our team at

Housing Challenge: Submit Your Idea by Sept. 8

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Can put self if submitting in personal capacity
Describe your idea in 350 words. Include any hyperlinks to research or data that supports your course of action.
Who within the federal government must act in order to implement your policy recommendation? (e.g., House Finance Committee, HUD FHFA, the White House National Economic Council, etc.)
In 3-4 bullets, what specific actions are you recommending those federal actors or the White House consider?
What becomes possible if the program is successful and fully implemented?
How did you hear about us?*
Would you like to receive monthly FAS updates directly to your inbox?
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Frequently Asked Questions
Will you accept recommendations on local zoning?

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.

I have a detailed report or academic paper on all of these challenges, can I just submit that?

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.

What criteria will you use to select ideas?

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!

When will I know if my idea has been selected for a pitch workshop?

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.

What avenues does the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) have to make sure our policy recommendations are heard in the federal government space?

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.

How much time/effort will be needed if my ideas are chosen for inclusion in the final product and pitch workshop?

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.

What have been the outcomes of previous policy idea challenges and accelerators run by FAS?

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).

Will there be options for publishing my work both on the FAS website and other publication avenues?

Yes! Participants are welcome to cross-publish on multiple platforms.