Urban Institute hosts panel discussion on advocating for zoning reform in local communities, barriers and lessons learned

ATLANTA (Jan. 30, 2024) — To address housing shortages and housing affordability crises, state and local governments are increasingly looking to zoning code reform to enable housing types beyond single-family homes to be built in their communities. But how much do these policies alone improve access to housing for all, and what else do policymakers need to consider to create sustained and significant positive change in our housing markets? 

In 2019, Habitat for Humanity launched Cost of Home, a five-year home affordability advocacy campaign in the U.S. In the first four years of the campaign, Cost of Home has supported more than 300 policy successes and improved access to affordable homes for 6.6 million people.

The Urban Institute, a nonpartisan research organization that provides data and evidence to help advance upward mobility and equity, released a research report funded by Habitat for Humanity that provides evidence that policy and systems change supported by local and state Habitat organizations participating in Cost of Home created measurable transformation in home affordability in communities around the country. Although the long-term impact of these policy innovations may take time to fully understand, the short-term benefits indicate progress.

On Monday, Feb. 5, 2024, at 3:30 p.m., the Urban Institute will host a dynamic panel discussion, “Zoning Reforms That Improve Access to Housing for All: Evidence and Lessons for Advocates.” Panelists will discuss how states and localities have embraced zoning reform through recent innovations, the evidence supporting the effectiveness of upzoning and other policies that should be paired with zoning reform to achieve racial equity and social mobility through housing. Dialogue among a panel of researchers, practitioners, policymakers and advocates will include barriers to passing and enacting zoning and other types of pro-housing reforms and strategies to overcome them. Register now for the livestream panel discussion. 

Learn more about Habitat for Humanity’s research with Urban Institute.

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.