As Federal Government Remains Mired in Shutdown, 20+ City Leaders Convene in Washington to Find Solutions to Nation’s Housing Crisis

January 23, 2019 - (4 min read)

WASHINGTON — January 23, 2019 — As the federal government enters into the second month of a partial shutdown, more than 20 leaders from America’s cities, towns and villages gathered in Washington to take action to solve one of the toughest challenges facing the nation: the housing crisis. Today, the National League of Cities (NLC) National Housing Task Force held its inaugural meeting, ratifying five policy priorities that will be key to addressing the national housing crisis in 2019. Chaired by Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, the task force was formed to help communities better respond to the growing challenge of housing availability, affordability, investment and quality.

“As the federal government shutdown enters into its second month, city leaders are doing what we do best: finding local solutions to the critical challenges facing our nation. Chief among these priorities is expanding access to safe and affordable housing,” said National Task Force Chair and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “To reach our affordable housing goals and meet our housing demands, we know it’s going to take collaboration on the local, regional and federal levels. In Washington, D.C., we’ve made progress through historic investments and a commitment to meeting the specific needs of our residents, but there’s more work to do. I look forward to working with city leaders from across the nation to advance innovative solutions that give more of our residents a fair shot.”

NLC President Karen Freeman-Wilson formed the National Housing Task Force in November 2018 to find locally-driven solutions to America’s housing crisis. The task force brings together leading mayors and councilmembers from across the country to create an action plan to address housing affordability, supply and investment.

“Every American deserves a home that is affordable, of good quality and allows them to contribute to the health and wellbeing of our communities,” said National League of Cities (NLC) President Karen Freeman-Wilson, mayor of Gary, Indiana. “The leaders who make up the NLC National Housing Task Force will share proven solutions to housing challenges that can be replicated and implemented in cities, towns and villages of all sizes. We can fix our country’s housing crisis, and local officials are ready to lead the way forward.”

The five priorities that were selected at the meeting are:

  1. Community-Focused Approaches: Measuring success by doing more than “counting roofs” to ensure there are protections against displacement of long-time residents, seniors and people with low- and very-low incomes.
  2. Land Use: examining local development regulations to reduce barriers which increase costs and expanded use of community land trusts, up-zoning, accessory dwelling units, toward the goal of increasing housing equity and affordability.
  3. Regional and Holistic Planning: Connecting housing needs to job growth, health outcomes and mobility strategies, and exploring better regional collaborations to achieve more affordable housing.
  4. Federal Resources: Working with federal partners on a national housing strategy and utilizing federal programs and grants like CDBG, HOME, Section 8 housing vouchers and the Community Reinvestment Act.
  5. Local Housing Tools: Embracing the many options cities already have at their disposal, such as bond issues, impact and linkage fees, leveraged funds and publicly owned land.

Members of the National Housing Task Force include:

  • Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C., task force chair
  • Councilmember Jesse Matthews of Bessemer, Alabama
  • Mayor John Giles of Mesa, Arizona
  • Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland, California
  • Councilmember Albus Brooks of Denver, Colorado
  • Mayor Francis Suarez, Miami, Florida
  • Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta, Georgia
  • Councilmember Denise Moore of Peoria, Illinois
  • Councilmember Brandon Scott of Baltimore, Maryland
  • Mayor Cyndy Andrus, Bozeman, Montana
  • Mayor Vi Lyles of Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Councilmember David Bobzien of Reno, Nevada
  • Mayor Lovely Warren of Rochester, New York
  • Mayor Jamael Tito Brown of Youngstown, Ohio
  • Councilmember Greg Evans of Eugene, Oregon
  • Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford, Camden, South Carolina
  • Councilmember Lana Wolff of Arlington, Texas
  • Mayor Ron Nirenberg of San Antonio, Texas
  • Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, Seattle, Washington
  • Carolyn Coleman, executive director of the League of California Cities
  • Daniel P. Gilmartin, executive director & CEO, Michigan Municipal League
  • NLC President Karen Freeman-Wilson, mayor of Gary, Indiana, ex officio
  • Clarence E. Anthony, NLC CEO & Executive Director, ex officio


The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people across the country. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.