Our Solutions

These are the changes we advocate for governments to make. We believe these solutions are major steps toward a future of abundant housing that's affordable, inclusive, and sustainable.

Why We Need These Changes

We fight for more housing because we want to reduce poverty, end homelessness, eliminate racial segregation, create jobs, and stop climate change.

Poorly designed tax structures contribute to the high cost of housing. Those tax structures encourage cities to add jobs, but limit housing. Adding jobs but not housing means that cities can get tax revenue from businesses, without needing to pay for services (e.g., schools) for new residents.

Since many local governments have limited budgets, they try to get more revenue by charging fees on new housing projects. The fees discourage home builders and are often passed on to future residents.

States need to offer more help to local governments and fix these broken incentives. Better incentives can make cities build enough housing for workers. Better incentives can also make it feasible for home builders to build smaller, less expensive new homes.

Policies in this category include eliminating parking requirements and improving regional coordination on transit.

Examples of policies we’ve supported include Denver Deserves Sidewalks and Expanding Housing Affordability.

American neighborhoods are defined by exclusion. Our system of exclusionary zoning bans duplexes, apartments, subsidized affordable housing, student housing and more in most “residential” areas. Excluding these types of residences keeps neighborhoods homogeneous and makes housing more expensive. YIMBYs advocate for the end of this ban on apartments and other kinds of housing; we want to end exclusionary zoning (aka “upzone”).

Upzoning is especially important in wealthy, high-opportunity neighborhoods where current zoning laws reinforce racial and class segregation.

Policies we have advocated for in this category include density bonuses for dedicated Affordable housing, legalizing Accessory Dwelling Units (aka granny flats), and Colorado’s Strong Communities program.

Most housing in the United States is “market-rate”. People or companies that own homes rent or sell them at a price where they can find a buyer. Even if housing becomes less expensive on the open market, there will likely always be people who can’t find housing at a price they can afford.

Traditionally, public funding helps provide housing for people with very low incomes. Funding for this kind of housing currently falls far short of what is needed. YIMBYs believe that we must increase funding for income-qualified housing at all levels of government. Funding affordable housing is critical to create a future of abundant, affordable housing for all.

Policies in this category include bonds for affordable housing, increasing Section 8 funding, and 2022’s Make Colorado Affordable ballot initiative, which we supported.

Past policy changes intended to address housing needs often had severe consequences for communities that were already vulnerable. As we advocate for more housing, we advocate strongly for laws that protect tenants and policies that protect vulnerable communities.

Examples we’ve advocated for include No Eviction Without Representation and the efforts of the Unhoused Action Coalition.

Even where housing is technically allowed, complicated and arbitrary permitting can slow, shrink, or stop housing in practice. Complicated permitting creates opportunities for corruption to flourish and makes building housing take much longer. It further drives up the cost of new housing.

Improving permitting is especially important in exclusionary neighborhoods. In those neighborhoods, wealthy homeowners often use complicated permitting rules to block new housing in their neighborhoods.

Policies in this category include “by right” or “as of right” permitting, permit streamlining, and reform of environmental review processes.

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