Federal Housing Grants Address Local Government Capacity Needs 


  • Michael Wallace
August 3, 2023 - (4 min read)

The Biden administration announced new federal grant opportunities to provide local governments with direct technical assistance and funding for capacity building around planning, land utilization, and preservation of affordable housing.  

Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing (PRO Housing) 

The latest grant opportunity, Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing (PRO), will award grants of up to $10 million to local governments that have documented significant housing needs and can demonstrate they have taken steps to identify, address, or remove barriers to affordable housing production and preservation. A total of $85 million is available through PRO Housing this year. The application deadline is October 30, 2023, at 11:59pm ET (8:59pm PT) on Grants.gov

HUD has identified a range of issues as potential barriers to affordable housing and types of eligible expenditures for addressing them. Potential barriers include:

  • Outdated or unexamined zoning, land use policies, or regulations in need of modernization; 
  • Inefficiencies in government operations or procedures; 
  • Gaps in available financing or other resources for development; 
  • Deteriorating or inadequate infrastructure; 
  • Lack of neighborhood opportunities or amenities; or 
  • Pressures jeopardizing existing housing stock such as extreme weather events or other climate changes, redevelopment and residential displacement pressures, or expiration of affordability requirements. 

PRO Housing grants may pay for activities including: 

  • Planning and policy activities to allow for higher-density, multifamily, and mixed-use housing development;  
  • Streamlining processes for affordable housing development;  
  • Infrastructure activities necessary for the development or preservation of housing; or 
  • Reducing requirements related to parking and other land use restrictions. 

To assist prospective grantees, HUD developed a  FAQ page to assist with developing the grant applications and will host four webinars on different aspects of the program designed. Dates and registration information are available on HUD’s website, with the first webinar scheduled for August 3rd at 3:00pm ET. Register here. 

Thriving Communities Technical Assistance  

Launched in February, HUD’s Thriving Communities Technical Assistance is accepting applications on a rolling basis until the $5 million set aside for the program under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law runs out.   

This program has funding trusted partners like the National Housing Trust, Smart Growth America and universities to provide direct technical assistance to program participants. The goal of the technical assistance is to support coordination and integration of transportation and housing objectives in infrastructure planning and implementation.  

Any local government may apply, but HUD is giving priority to applications from jurisdictions with populations less than 250,000.  The application portal can be found on HUD’s website.  

Other qualities HUD is looking for in potential grantees include: 

  • Jurisdictions receiving transportation funding, either directly or through a state pass-through, with priority given to those receiving competitive funds;  
  • Grant applicants seeking to address housing needs in disadvantaged communities in accordance with broader housing and/or equity goals; 
  • Commitment to community engagement to ensure residents and businesses in disadvantaged communities benefit from the transportation investment; and 
  • Would benefit from technical assistance in one of the following four issue areas: Land utilization, Preservation, Coordination, or Regulatory Reform. 

Cities and towns interested in applying can find a list of current Thriving Communities Technical Assistance grantees here, with brief descriptions of their technical assistance supported activities. 

Housing Supply Accelerator

A partnership between the National League of Cities (NLC) and the American Planning Association (APA), the Housing Supply Accelerator is a national campaign to improve local capacity, identify critical solutions, and speed reforms that enable communities and developers to work together to produce, preserve and provide a diverse range of quality housing by realigning the efforts of public and private stakeholders in the housing sector to meet housing needs at the local level.

About the Author

Michael Wallace

About the Author

Michael Wallace is the Legislative Director for Community and Economic Development on the Federal Advocacy team at the National League of Cities.