Opinion: Local Governments Must Take Urgent Action on Affordable Housing Funds

Cities and states have until the end of the year to decide how to spend federal affordable housing dollars.

1 minute read

March 10, 2024, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of large building under construction with cranes against sunset sky in downtown Charlotteville, Virginia.

Construction in downtown Charlotteville, Virginia. | tamas / Adobe Stock

In an opinion piece in Governing, Colby Sledge outlines the key decisions local lawmakers will need to make soon to avoid losing federal funding allocated for affordable housing in the American Rescue Plan Act. Localities have until the end of 2024 to allocate funds and until the end of 2026 to spend them, Sledge notes. “Looking to the future, local housing and planning departments can and should make the argument now for protecting their affordable-housing spending so the funds don’t get plundered in the upcoming budgetary cycle.”

According to Sledge, governments could allocate funds to recapitalizing existing projects such as supportive housing, building capacity with technical and policy assistance and supporting a more favorable building environment, and allocating funds to housing trusts and bridge loan funds that can fund the rehabilitation of existing housing and support long-term affordable housing development. “In localities where no such fund currently exists, localities may use ARPA dollars to fund the technical assistance needed to create one, while seeding the fund in future years through other revenue sources.”

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