Schoemann Appointed to National Housing Task Force
Posted on 11/10/2022

New Task Force of County Leaders Launched to Address Housing Affordability and Stability

West Bend, WI – County Executive Josh Schoemann has been appointed to the National Association of Counties (NACo) Housing Task Force, comprised of over 30 county leaders from across the United States. The group will identify county-led solutions and innovations for addressing America’s housing affordability and stability crisis.

“Counties are on the front lines of responding to the housing crisis,” said NACo President Denise Winfrey. “Stable, quality housing is the foundation for better health, safety, education, a strong workforce, improved financial wellness, and lower demands on the social safety net. NACo’s Housing Task Force is committed to meeting the moment and addressing our residents’ housing needs.”

The group will examine the complex conditions that undermine housing affordability. Housing costs are outpacing job and wage growth in many areas, with many colliding factors, including:

  • Supply chain disruptions
  • Labor shortages
  • Increased demand for short-term rentals
  • Land costs
  • Demographic pattern shifts due to generational population changes and economic competitiveness
  • Institutional investors
  • Governmental policies, regulations and capacities, and
  • Competing public, private and community interests and incentives.

“Last year, I launched the Next Generation Housing (NGH) pilot program with three developments with  a goal of providing 1000 new owner-occupied housing units countywide by 2032,” said County Executive Schoemann. “The NGH initiative first and foremost is about bringing the next generation back to Washington County. It achieves this goal by undercutting the government costs and regulations that    have made the starter homes that previous generations benefited from nearly extinct. When complete, NGH will help alleviate the most pressing workforce challenges: retaining and attracting a skilled workforce; while satisfying the basic need of obtaining quality owner occupied homes for Washington County’s workforce.”

County roles and responsibilities related to housing vary significantly across, and even within, different states. Depending on specific structures and authority, county governments can play a leading role in:

  • Tax policies
  • Financing and lending
  • Down payment and closing cost assistance
  • Building permits and code enforcement
  • Land use and zoning
  • Infrastructure development
  • Workforce housing
  • Public safety and emergency management, and
  • Community planning.

The Housing Task Force will host in-person and virtual meetings, as well as produce original research, to examine the role of county governments in providing residents with more housing, greater variety of housing, and better housing affordability and value.

Click here to see the task force members and more information. 

The National Association of Counties (NACo) strengthens America’s counties, including nearly 40,000 county elected officials and 3.6 million county employees. Founded in 1935, NACo unites county officials to advocate for county government priorities in federal policymaking; promote exemplary county policies and practices; nurture leadership skills and expand knowledge networks; optimize county and taxpayer resources and cost savings; and enrich the public’s understanding of county government.