Governors Focus on Affordable Housing

In 2023 State of the State addresses, Governors outlined efforts to increase housing availability and improve affordability.

The high cost of housing and what that means for communities is top of mind for Governors, and that concern was evident in the 2023 State of the State addresses Governors delivered from coast to coast.

  • “When combined with higher interest rates, home affordability has soared out of reach for far too many. The problem cuts across nearly every facet of our society, contributing to homelessness and limiting our ability to expand our workforce.” Maine Governor Janet Mills
  • “It’s a difficult irony of having a strong economy. Well-paid workers flock here for jobs, forcing lower-paid workers to compete for housing. When there’s not enough housing for all, rents and prices skyrocket beyond what many can afford.” Washington Governor Jay Inslee

Governors’ State of the State addresses show a bipartisan consensus that the answer, while complicated in implementation, is actually fairly straightforward: Build more housing.

  • “It really is that simple. If we want less expensive housing, we simply need more of it. And not just deeply affordable or low-income housing—although we certainly need that, too—but more of everything.”NGA Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox
  • “We must now return to an era of bold action on housing. We need a comprehensive approach to housing that addresses all segments of the population, from renters to low-to-moderate income individuals and families, to those experiencing homelessness.”Hawai‘i Governor Josh Green

In their addresses, some Governors called for increases in direct funding for housing projects, some called for increasing incentives for builders and buyers, and most called for an all-of-an-above approach to growing the housing supply and improving housing services.

  • “I am requesting over $100 million for housing programs, including mobile homelessness response teams that serve unhoused residents; eviction protection that keeps families in place; down payment assistance that helps people start a new chapter and begin to build equity; and investments in the Mortgage Finance Authority, which are matched exponentially by federal funding. We need thousands more homes – so let’s build them.” – New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
  • “To encourage the development of housing for lower-income families, help more Ohioans achieve the dream of homeownership, and continue the revitalization of our downtowns and historic communities, I am proposing in my budget a series of tax changes and programs.” – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

Having the money to build is one thing, being able to build is another, which is why Governors also focused on reducing regulatory barriers while protecting the health, safety and environment of communities.

  • “But we can’t just buy our way out of this, we have to break down government barriers, expand private property rights, and reduce regulations to actually construct more housing options at a lower cost so all Coloradans can thrive.” Colorado Governor Jared Polis
  • “Sadly, we know that government decisions are one of the major drivers in the price of a home. Not just taxes and fees, but every requirement placed on a builder — including the time it takes to make those decisions — increases the cost of a home. Tonight, I’m calling on us to change it. We can build more and do it in a way that does not diminish the quality of life.” – NGA Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox

Recognizing that local land use policies, including full-on bans of multi-family homes and onerous zoning and approvals processes, make it difficult to build new homes, New York Governor Kathy Hochul introduced the New York Housing Compact, which sets clear expectations for growth, while at the same time, giving localities plenty of tools, flexibility and resources to stimulate that growth. The compact also allows for the state to fast-track approvals if proposed housing projects languish for no legitimate reason.

In addition to reducing regulatory barriers to housing construction, Governors also proposed programs to create infrastructure improvements to make housing construction possible. Programs, such as the Georgia Rural Workforce Housing Fund, allow the state to partner with local development and housing authorities to prepare land for housing developments. Another example is Montana Governor Greg Gianforte’s proposed Home Ownership Means Economic Security (HOMES) Program in his budget, which—tied to conditions including increased density—invests money for the expansion of water and sewer infrastructure to facilitate an increase in the supply of affordable housing to meet regional workforce needs.

  • “Transformational projects, good-paying jobs, and new investment are worth little if there aren’t options for hardworking Georgians to live where they work.” – Georgia Governor Brian Kemp.
  • “To increase the supply of affordable, attainable housing, we also need infrastructure in place. It’s why, in addition to historic investments in water and sewer, we’ve proposed an additional $100 million to repair our roads and bridges. And like access to water and sewer systems as well as safer roads and bridges, Montanans’ access to broadband is essential in the 21st century [ … ] That’s why we made the largest-ever investment in broadband infrastructure – which will bring reliable broadband to 62,000 Montana homes that don’t have it now.” – Montana Governor Greg Gianforte

This article was developed by NGA staff. For more information on Governors’ housing efforts please contact