Dr. Ben Carson
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Remarks to Affordable Housing Roundtable with Tennessee Governor Bill Lee
Nashville, Tennessee, Tennessee State Capitol, January 29, 2020

 

As prepared for delivery. The speaker may add or subtract comments during his presentation.

I’m delighted to be in Nashville today to see the wonderful developments taking place in Music City. It’s a privilege to meet the hard-working people and leaders who make this city so unique, and I’m especially grateful to Governor Lee for inviting me to join this important discussion.

Nashville is my second stop on a two-day bus tour across the Great American South. On behalf of HUD, I have the privilege of meeting with local public officials, community leaders and industry representatives to see how we can work together to reduce the regulatory barriers that drive up the cost of housing.

This is a mission in which every American shares an interest. Housing is not just a pillar of our nation’s economy – it is the foundation on which families, communities, and their futures, are often built.

With the help of policies this Administration has pursued, America has witnessed historic highs in employment, job creation, and economic growth. But for many Americans, the supply of affordable housing has not kept pace with demand. Our nation only lives up to its name as the Land of Opportunity when there is upward mobility for everyone. And that starts with affordable housing.

Expert research has confirmed: the country’s current lack of affordable housing is caused in large part by the burdensome regulations surrounding new construction and development.

That’s why, to encourage the growth of new homes, President Trump established the White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing last summer. This Council, which I have the privilege to chair, is working with local leaders and citizens to identify and remove regulatory barriers that artificially limit the supply of new housing developments.

There is no shortage of regulatory barriers for our Council to confront. Among them: restrictive zoning and growth management controls; maximum density allowances for multifamily developments; excessively high developer fees; outdated building and rehabilitation codes; and unwieldy, inefficient permitting procedures. The American builder faces a whole host of excessive restrictions, fees, and delays – and we at HUD want to work with the American people to address these issues first-hand.

But as we learned a decade ago during the Financial Crisis – which was really a Housing Crisis – we can’t just inflate our way out of problems or impose top-down solutions. Answers need to come from the bottom-up, in collaboration with community and private sector leaders, such as those I’ve have had the pleasure to meet with in Louisville this morning.

To assist the Council’s work, HUD recently issued a Request for Information to all Americans for input on perceived barriers that limit development. I hope all interested citizens will lend your voice and share your feedback to enhance our efforts before the comment window closes on January 31st.

Conclusion

Our work on these vital issues would not be possible without state and local leaders, as well as concerned citizens, on the front lines of this fight. As I hope this bus tour makes clear: We at HUD don’t want to stand in your way; we want to help clear the path for incredible communities like Nashville to reach your highest potential.

Thank you for joining me in that mission, and on behalf of HUD, I am very much looking forward to the road ahead.

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