Both fair housing lawyers and policy wonks say the Biden administration should work with jurisdictions to provide technical and planning assistance in its aims to rid itself of exclusionary zoning practices. To this end, Biden has endorsed providing $300 million in local housing policy grants, which would “give states and localities the technical assistance and planning support they need to eliminate exclusionary zoning policies.”
“Exclusionary zoning is a product of state law, and if we can get states to address that through funding incentives, I think that that could lead to some real change at the local level,” Phil Tegeler, executive director of the civil rights group Poverty and Race Research Action Council, told Vox. “Local governments have no inherent authority that’s not granted to them by state government.”
States care a lot about the general economic outlook and growth of their metro regions, whereas local officials are sometimes captured by the interests of local homeowners to the detriment of the broader region. Creating incentives and showing states how they are allowing localities to inhibit growth could spark a lot of change through state legislatures.