Key State Roles

Educate and Convene to Encourage Action

States have many formal powers that can be brought to bear to expand the availability of affordable homes, including the power to pass legislation that influences local land decisions and the power to develop and fund state affordable housing programs. In addition to these more formal roles, however, states can play a critical informal role in educating the public about the importance of affordable homes and convening the necessary actors to develop a comprehensive housing strategy for the state and for regions within the state.

An initial but important step is to convene the different state agencies that focus on affordable housing to ensure their policies are coordinated and mutually supportive. A good next step is to assemble a working group at the state level to develop a comprehensive state housing strategy. States also may wish to commission reports documenting the nature and extent of the housing challenges in the state as a means of galvanizing public and legislative attention and hold listening and educational sessions at the regional and local levels to present ideas, obtain feedback, and discuss coordination across municipalities within a region.

These coordinating activities may lead to a state housing plan that sets out a coordinated housing strategy and specific affordable housing goals against which progress can be measured. They also may help identify legislative changes needed at the state level as well as model policies for localities to consider to maximize opportunities for the development of affordable homes.  Click here to learn more about building a comprehensive housing strategy.

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