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Housing Policies

This policy inventory compiles some housing policies that states can choose to put into place to support economic security for families with young children.

  • NCSL’s Housing and Homelessness Legislation Database includes state-level legislation on many of the below housing and homelessness topics.
  • SchoolHouse Connection and Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan have released searchable data profiles on child and youth homelessness at the county and congressional district levels, school district, state, and national levels.
  • The Brookings Institution has gathered information about the emerging bipartisan pro-housing movement in states.

Child Care Priority During Homelessness

  • Establish automatic or streamlined eligibility for children experiencing homelessness
  • Establish priority for children experiencing homelessness to receive child care subsidies


School House Connection: State Laws on Early Childhood Education

Child Care Subsidy Exceptions During Homelessness

  • Implementing exemptions from work requirements for parents experiencing homelessness
  • Waiving co-payments for parents experiencing homelessness
  • When children are experiencing homelessness, exempting or putting in place a grace period for the submission of eligibility/enrollment documentation (with immediate enrollment pending document submission)
  • Grace period for children experiencing homelessness to meet immunization requirements (with immediate enrollment pending meeting requirements)


School House Connection: State Laws on Early Childhood Education

Pre-K Priority During Homelessness

  • Focusing on recruiting families experiencing homelessness to pre-k programs



  • Prioritizing children experiencing homelessness for pre-k slots


Maryland, Texas, Illinois


School House Connection: State Laws on Early Childhood Education

Rental Assistance for Low-Income Families

  • Funding a housing program that provides rental assistance to low-income families with children to avoid eviction or homelessness

Six states have established this kind of program.

Source: NCCP: Early Childhood Profiles

  • Creating a state-level rent voucher program

         Example: New York

         Source: NYU Furman Center: A State Level Rent Voucher Program

Policies to Keep Rents Low

  • Rolling back state laws that preempt cities and local governments from imposing rent controls
  • Requiring landlords to give six months’ notice before substantial rent increases
  • Give greater protections to renters whose landlords stake claims to damage deposits

     Examples: New Mexico, Michigan, Colorado, Tennessee, Virginia and Arizona


    Pluribus News: States consider rent control to address housing crisis

Housing-Based Food Access

  • Establishing a food security program in which housing authorities distribute food to low-income communities


Urban Institute: How Stable Affordable Housing Can Help Tackle Food Insecurity

Proxy for Income in Rental Assistance

  • Allowing a proxy to determine rental assistance eligibility

Programs can use a reasonable proxy, such as average incomes in a neighborhood, in conjunction with self-attestation to determine household incomes, in order to determine eligibility for Emergency Rental Assistance


National Low-Income Housing Coalition: Implementing Fact-Specific Proxy in ERA Programs

Improving Affordable Housing Supply Through Zoning and Procedural Changes

  • Using zoning, land-use regulations, and procedural changes to increase affordable housing supply

The BPC brief linked below provides an overview of how zoning affects housing supply—first describing local governments’ comprehensive plans and, second, zoning and some of its critical elements.

Examples: New York, Virginia, Montana, Utah, Oregon


Bipartisan Policy Center: What are zoning and land-use regulations and how do they affect housing supply?

Brookings Institution: Is zoning a useful tool or a regulatory barrier?

Brookings Institution: Who’s to blame for high housing costs? It’s more complicated than you think

NCSL: Targeting Policies that Help Families Stay Afloat

NCSL: Middle Housing: Filling a Gap in Available Housing Options

Improving Affordable Housing Supply Through Tax Credits to Developers

  • Providing tax breaks to developers willing to construct low-income housing.

The state programs are designed to supplement the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program.

Twenty-four states have implemented this strategy.


Colorado has been one of the most successful at leveraging state tax dollars to expand affordable housing.


Pew: Here’s one way states are boosting affordable housing

Using ARPA Dollars for Housing Assistance

  • Using federal rescue dollars for short term aid to renters and homeowners, services to people experiencing homelessness, affordable housing production, home repairs/weatherization, and supportive housing

Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia have used this strategy.


CBPP: States Should Use Flexible Federal Pandemic Aid to Boost Access to Affordable Housing and Reduce Homelessness

Tenants’ Rights

  • Establishing eviction protections
  • Expanding tenants’ rights to purchase properties

Examples: Tennessee, Illinois


NCSL: Family-Friendly Courts: State Legislatures’ Role in Improving Eviction Proceedings

NCSL: Targeting Policies that Help Families Stay Afloat

Home Financing

  • Improving home financing options for first-time homeowners, first responders, teachers, and others

Examples: Delaware, Connecticut


NCSL: Targeting Policies that Help Families Stay Afloat