County Commissioners Back Affordable Housing Initiatives

All Proposals Will Be Looked At Over The Coming Weeks

Mitch Kelly
October 16, 2019 - 6:50 am

Ethan MIller/Getty Images

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LAS VEGAS, NV (KXNT) - The Clark County Commission on Tuesday supported the creation of a Local Housing Trust Fund and other programs that will create incentives for new affordable housing developments and preserve existing affordable housing for very low-income households.

A very low-income household has an annual income at or below 50 percent of the area median income. For a single person household, the annual income would be at or below $24,550; and a family of four would have an annual income at or below $35,050.

The new initiatives also include efforts to streamline land-use and permit approvals, create an affordable housing land bank, and establish rebate programs for government and utility fees on new construction of affordable housing.

“The changes we supported today will give us the tools we need to support the development of more affordable housing in our community,” Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick said. “Increasing the amount of affordable housing we have in Clark County is important because it will help prevent families from becoming homeless and provide a home for those exiting homelessness.”

Today in Clark County, there is a shortage of 59,370 affordable homes for extremely low-income households, which have an annual income at or below 30 percent of the average median income. If one includes very low-income households, the shortage here grows to 78,112 homes. For extremely low-income households, there are 14 affordable and available rental homes per 100 homes in Clark County, which is the second fewest among all counties in the nation, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

In recent years, the County has supported affordable housing developments through grants and tax-credit programs. For example, in August the Commissioners approved funding plans for two affordable housing projects that will help more than 400 low-income seniors and families.

Commissioners agreed to greatly expand the County’s efforts through these proposed programs:

 

  • Community Land Trust – A land trust could be used to secure deed restrictions on affordable single-family homes that would require them to remain affordable into the future.

 

  • Local Housing Trust Fund – This would receive and distribute funding to support specific affordable housing developments and programs.

 

  • Green Tape Programs – These would give affordable housing developments priority when applying for local government permits and reviews.

 

  • Land Bank – This would acquire and hold land for future affordable housing developments.

 

  • Rebate Programs – These would seek waivers or reductions in utility and government fees associated with new construction or extensive renovations of existing affordable housing.

 

  • Zoning Tools – These could include changes to local government land-use regulations to make it easier for affordable housing developers to apply for and receive waivers of parking and other requirements.

 

  • Inclusionary Zoning/Fee in Lieu – This could require developers to include affordable housing units in new residential projects, or require payment to the Local Housing Trust Fund in lieu of providing those units.

 

While the Commission supported each of these measures today, all of them require additional review or approvals before they can be implemented. These additional approvals are expected to come within the next few weeks or months, depending upon the complexity of the specific program.