The White House has announced new actions to increase the supply of affordable housing through the support of converting high-vacancy commercial buildings to residential use.

Actions include:

  • Sparking Investment through New Federal Funding and Repurposing Property
    • Department of Transportation
      • Released new guidance on how the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) programs – can be used to finance housing development near transportation, including conversion projects.
      • Released a policy statement with principles for pursuing transportation projects with the dual goals of increasing affordable housing supply and decreasing emissions
      • Released guidance that makes it easier for transit agencies to repurpose properties for transit-oriented development and affordable housing projects, including conversions near transit.
    • HUD
      • Released an updated notice on how the CDBG fund, can be used to boost housing supply – including the acquisition, rehabilitation, and conversion of commercial properties to residential uses and mixed-use development.
      • Is also increasing outreach efforts to support municipalities and developers seeking to use HUD tools to finance conversions.
      • Will make awards through a research-related Notice of Funding Opportunity, which can be used to develop case studies that can serve as roadmaps for other localities interested in pursuing conversions.
      • Accepting applications for the $85 million Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing program, which includes the development of adaptive reuse strategies and the financing of conversions as eligible activities.
    • The General Services Administration (GSA) will expand on its Good Neighbor Program to promote the sale of surplus federal properties that buyers could potentially redevelop for residential use.
  • Leveraging Federal Funding to Encourage Conversions
    • Releasing a Commercial to Residential Federal Resources Guidebook with over 20 federal programs across six federal agencies that can be used to support conversions including;
      • Low-interest loans
      • loan guarantees
      • grants and
      • tax incentives
    • Information about training workshops for local and state governments, real estate developers, owners, builders, and lenders on how to use federal programs for commercial to residential conversions
    • DOT new technical assistance through direct engagement with federal agencies and third-party intermediaries to support municipalities and developers seeking to use DOT tools to finance conversions.
    • Release of Dept. of Energy commercial to zero emissions housing toolkit that includes technical and financial guidance on how to achieve zero emissions commercial to residential conversions.
    • Release of Treasury blog post that describes tax incentives for builders of multifamily housing.
  • Working with States, Localities, and the Private Sector to Take Action
    • The National Association of Counties (NACo) is expanding its focus to support county capacity to convert commercial properties to residential use. NACo will identify counties who are actively pursuing projects to participate and will hold a series of listening and informational sessions, culminating in a policy paper for county officials interested in pursuing commercial to residential conversion projects.
    • The American Planning Association, in collaboration with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Harvard University Graduate School of Design, is expanding its existing work with the planning directors of the 30 largest U.S. cities to include new programs on commercial to residential conversions.

To view the White House press release/fact sheet with more information, please click here.

To view a feature article from Newsweek, please click here.