The Biden administration is supporting the conversion of vacant commercial properties into residential housing, although it declined to allocate any new funds for this endeavor.
“The actions announced today build upon the initiatives in the White House Housing Supply Action Plan, which is lowering housing costs, boosting housing supply, and promoting fair housing, and the Administration’s actions to lower energy costs and tackle the climate crisis,” said the White House in an unattributed press statement. To date, President Biden has yet to deliver a speech that specifically addressed housing issues.
The administration has not pledged new funds for this effort. Instead, it published a blog through the Council of Economic Advisers that noted how office vacancies reached a 30-year high and it released the “Commercial to Residential Federal Resources Guidebook,” which listed over 20 federal programs across six federal agencies that can be used to support conversions.
The White House also called attention to a new guidance from the U.S. Department of Transportation on how the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) programs can be used to finance property conversion projects.
Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released an updated notice on how the Community Development Block Grant fund can finance property conversions, and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) will expand on its Good Neighbor Program to promote the sale of surplus federal properties that buyers could potentially redevelop for residential use.
Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons