Heller Presses Interior Department to Implement Bill to Help Alleviate Nevada’s Affordable Housing Crisis
U.S. Senator Dean Heller (RNV) urged U.S. Secretary of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke to help alleviate the impact of the affordable housing crisis in Nevada by using the Department’s authorities to free up federal lands in Nevada so that communities can develop single and multifamily housing units to ultimately increase affordable housing options. Specifically, Heller pushed Secretary Zinke to implement his bipartisan legislation that reauthorized the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA), a program that allows DOI to expedite the sale of federal lands that are already eligible for disposal. The Heller backed program, which also ensures the proceeds from the land sales are used to acquire high value conservation lands, serves as a critical tool for states like Nevada to address soaring housing costs and break down barriers to the development of new housing projects given that 85 percent of Nevada’s lands are managed by the federal government.
Nevada is one of the fastest growing states in both population and economic expansion, and as a result Nevada is experiencing a lack of affordable housing because the demand for it is outpacing the supply. According to recent data, Nevada ranks last among states that provide affordable rental housing to low income families.
Before it expired in 2011, FLTFA allowed the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service in the western U.S. to use the proceeds from sales of certain federally designated areas to protect lands of exceptional conservation value. Between its enactment in 2000 and its initial expiration in 2011, FLTFA facilitated the sale of $88 million of lands in Nevada and contributed $35 million toward conservation projects.