May 13, 2021

Young Reintroduces Yes In My Backyard Act to Encourage Communities to Cut Regulations and Increase Housing Supply

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i) introduced the Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) Act to shed light on discriminatory land use policies, encourage localities to cut burdensome regulations, and bring a new level of transparency to the community development process. Instead of adopting inclusive land use policies that allow citizens of all income levels, backgrounds, and identities to live, work, and flourish in their city or town, some communities are building paper walls of regulations around themselves that negatively affect and sometimes discriminate against low- and middle-income Americans. The YIMBY Act would require Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) recipients to go on the record with why they are not adopting specific pro-affordability and anti-discriminatory housing policies. 


“Discriminatory local zoning and land use policies drive up housing costs in communities across America,” said Senator Young. “These policies exacerbate the housing affordability crisis and stifle the ability of Americans to move to areas of opportunity. My legislation will require cities, towns, and rural areas across America to face this reality under a new level of transparency and encourage them to cut these harmful regulations.”


Cindy Chetti, Senior Vice President, NMHC said, “Regulatory barriers restrict the supply of housing and drive up prices for rental housing in communities across America, straining family finances and limiting local economic growth. The YIMBY Act promotes policy changes at the local level that benefit housing providers, residents, local economies, and the environment. NMHC supports the YIMBY Act, and believes this legislation will help address the housing affordability challenges facing our nation.”


Mike Kingsella, Executive Director of Up for Growth Action said,“The YIMBY Act complements the many pro-housing proposals currently before Congress. The YIMBY Act will empower communities across the country to clear the path for housing that is more affordable, equitable, and sustainable. Up for Growth Action encourages Congress to say yes to more affordable and market-rate housing by passing the YIMBY Act.”


Robert Pinnegar, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Apartment Association said,“Affordable housing is a critical issue that affects not only 40 million renters, but communities and rental housing providers through the nation. The National Apartment Association is proud to support the bi-partisan YIMBY Act, which will help ease our nation’s affordability crisis and spur construction of much-needed affordable and market based housing. Sen. Young’s and Sen. Schatz’s leadership on this issue, alongside their colleagues in the House of Representatives, will help expand affordable housing options for Americans, and provide local communities with a framework to address housing shortages.” 


The National Taxpayers Union said,“The reintroduction of the YIMBY Act is a commonsense approach towards addressing our country’s housing affordability shortage. Overly restrictive local land use laws act as a severe barrier on the construction of housing units, which ultimately harms both renters and property owners. Thankfully, this legislation would encourage localities to reform restrictive zoning laws and maximize taxpayer dollars spent on housing construction. We are proud to support the YIMBY Act and NTU urges swift consideration by the Senate.” 


Americans for Prosperity with Policy Fellow Clint Woods said, “For years, local governments have unnecessarily erected barriers that stand in the way of individuals and families realizing their potential by accessing housing and using land as they see fit. AFP applauds the introduction of the bipartisan Yes in My Backyard Act to help ensure that governments identify and remove regulations that prevent Americans from pursuing housing opportunities that will enable them to thrive.” 


The bipartisan bill received widespread support from over 250 organizations. To view full list of supporters, click here.


The Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) Act works to provide more transparency for citizens, lawmakers, academics, and others to understand and in some cases, critique, a community’s rationale for not adopting anti-discriminatory housing policies. The bill does not encroach on states’ rights because it does not tell localities what policies to implement, it simply requires them to detail their rationale for choosing not to cut harmful land use regulations. The country is dealing with a housing affordability crisis and it’s about time that localities do their part to make housing more affordable for everyone.


For the full bill text, click here.