Legislation Introduced to Support Adaptive Reuse of Federal Buildings

The proposed bill would promote the conversion of vacant and underused buildings into affordable housing.

1 minute read

April 15, 2024, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Modern six-story office building in Washington, D.C. formerly occupied by Federal Aviation Administration.

Former Federal Aviation Administration building in Washington, D.C., vacant in 2008. | AgnosticPreachersKid, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Former FAA building

A bill introduced by California Representatives Adam Schiff and Jimmy Gomez would promote the conversion of government-owned buildings into affordable housing.

As Carten Cordell explains in an article for Route Fifty, the proposed legislation, the Government Facilities to Affordable Housing Conversion Act, “would task the Housing and Urban Development Department, General Services Administration and the Office of Management and Budget with identifying vacant or underused federal, state and local government properties that may be suitable for residential conversion.”

The bill, which comes in response to a GAO report that revealed vacancy rates in federal buildings as high as 75 percent, would also expand an existing HUD adaptive reuse program and fund a new grant program for residential conversions.

The bill includes affordability requirements. “Schiff and Gomez’s bill would require that any potential residential projects offer 20% or more of the residential units are occupied by a household with an income that does not exceed 50% of the median income for the area and that 40% are occupied by a household with an income that does not exceed 60% of median income — though some units can be inhabited by households with less than 80% median income.”

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