New agreement will lead to the construction of critically needed affordable housing projects in Southern Nevada
The U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development and the Interior today announced a new action to make it easier and more affordable for local communities in the Las Vegas metropolitan area to obtain federal land to build affordable housing. With the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the Departments are establishing a process to make eligible public lands available for $100 an acre, far below the fair market value, for the construction of critically needed affordable housing projects in Southern Nevada.
“We are proud of the partnership with the Department of the Interior to help families in Nevada get access to homes they can afford,” said Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Adrianne Todman. “This builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts announced last week to ensure an increase in housing supply to lower costs across the country.
“Through an all-of-government effort, the Department of the Interior is helping deliver on President Biden’s priorities to lower housing costs and expand housing supply,” said Deputy Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau. “We are proud to partner with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the state of Nevada, and local governments to make it easier for residents to access affordable housing.”
These efforts support President Biden’s economic agenda. Through the “Bidenomics” strategy, the Biden-Harris administration is growing the American economy from the middle out and bottom up – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $500 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating good paying jobs and building a clean energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient. Last week, the Biden-Harris Administration announced new commitments to expand affordable housing supply and renter protections, focused on the Administration’s goal of lowering housing costs for all.
The new MOU formalizes an updated sales process, specifying that public lands be made available for Nevada or local governmental entities for $100 an acre. This is far below the rate for comparable land sales – which at one point reached a high of more than $2 million per acre.
The collaboration between the Departments occurs under the authority of the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act of 1998, which allows the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to sell public lands within a specific boundary around Las Vegas, Nevada, for development. Although SNPLMA requires parcels to be sold for fair market value to fund education, water and public lands projects in Nevada, Section 7(b) of the Act allows state and local governments to purchase land for a nominal cost to support affordable housing.
As a demonstration of this improved process, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Laura Daniel-Davis, BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning, and HUD leaders were in Las Vegas this past April to celebrate the BLM’s conveyance of a five-acre parcel to Clark County, Nevada, for the development of affordable housing for senior citizens in the Las Vegas metro area. Clark County provided $11.8 million in funding for the project, which represents one of the first efforts in its “Welcome Home” initiative, aimed at creating more affordable housing options for Las Vegas Valley residents most in need. The facility will consist of 195 one- and two-bedroom apartments that will be rented at below-market rates to low-income seniors.
Since its enactment, SNPLMA has generated more than $4 billion through 19 rounds, funding projects that have supported the development of parks, trails, and natural areas; public infrastructure; conservation initiatives; multi-species habitat conservation plans; acquisition of environmentally sensitive land; hazardous fuels reduction projects in the Spring Mountains, Carson Range, and at Lake Tahoe; landscape restoration projects in eastern Nevada; and environmental restoration at Lake Tahoe.