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April 02, 2024

Reps. Schiff, Gomez Introduce Bill to Convert Unused & Underutilized Government Facilities to Affordable Housing

Washington, D.C.— Today, Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) introduced the Government Facilities to Affordable Housing Conversion Act, legislation which will support the conversion of unused and underutilized federal, state, and local government-owned buildings into affordable housing units, increasing the supply of affordable housing nationwide and developing housing that is responsive to the needs of local communities.

“In a time where so many Americans are continually struggling to find safe, affordable housing, the Government Facilities to Affordable Housing Conversion Act represents a step forward in our efforts to address the housing crisis,” said Rep. Schiff. “By repurposing government buildings that have outlived their original use, we're not only making efficient use of our resources but also increasing the supply of affordable housing. We cannot stand by while the housing shortage displaces families and erodes the middle class. It's time to employ a broad range of strategies to ensure that every American has access to a safe, affordable place to call home.”

“The Government Facilities to Affordable Housing Conversion Act gets to the heart of why I founded the Renters Caucus—to find innovative solutions to the housing crisis. Our country has always used ingenuity to guide us through our most daunting challenges, and it’s time to start thinking that way about housing,” said Rep. Gomez. “I’m proud to join Rep. Schiff to introduce this bill that tackles two crises at once—empty or underutilized buildings and a lack of affordable housing. This will support the economic growth of our cities, strengthen main street small businesses and provide affordable places to live for our communities.”

“The United States is facing an unprecedented housing inventory shortage. As a result, renters are faced with increased housing costs associated with an under-supply gap of 5.5 million units. The National Association of Realtors® thanks Congressman Schiff for introducing the Government Facilities to Affordable Housing Conversion Act, which incentivizes the conversion of unused government buildings into affordable housing units. It is critical for Congress to create new ways to incentivize affordable housing development, and NAR commends Congressman Schiff for his leadership on this issue,” said Kevin Sears, President of the National Association of Realtors.

“Converting underutilized public land and buildings to affordable housing is an important tool in an all-out effort to address the housing needs of low-income Californians. The Partnership applauds Congressman Schiff for adding this tool to the toolbox and, most importantly, providing resources to increase its use,” said Matt Schwartz, President and CEO of the California Housing Partnership.

“California counties are committed to leveraging all available resources in combating homelessness and enhancing housing affordability across our communities,” said San Luis Obispo County Supervisor and California State Association of Counties (CSAC) President Bruce Gibson. “CSAC commends Representative Schiff’s Government Facilities to Affordable Housing Conversion Act, as it not only tackles housing scarcity but also proactively offers shelter and stability for those in need.”

Specifically, the Government Facilities to Affordable Housing Conversion Act would direct the Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to work in coordination to identify vacant and underutilized federal buildings that would be suitable for residential use development, maintain the public list sale opportunities, and provide an annual report to Congress on these efforts. The legislation creates a new, robust grant program to support states and local governments to undergo conversion efforts and the legislation also provides additional funding to study the effectiveness of office building to residential property conversions.

The Government Facilities to Affordable Housing Conversion Act is supported by the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), LeadingAge, National Association of Realtors, National Community Development Association, and PATH.

The Government Facilities to Affordable Housing Conversion Act is cosponsored by Representatives Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) and Gabe Amo (D-R.I.).

To read the full bill text, click HERE.