Slowly and unevenly, the Obama Administration’s open government message is filtering down to the agency level.
We have entered “a new era of open government,” Army officials informed a government audience recently. There will be “increased emphasis on the Freedom of Information Act… Agency FOIA programs must be improved… Commanders need to direct all agency personnel to place a higher priority on timely assistance to FOIA personnel.”
The FOIA requester “is not an adversary,” the Army FOIA Management Conference was told, according to November 2009 briefing slides (pdf) that were released last month.
In reality, many FOIA proceedings are quite adversarial. But perhaps the Army meant that both FOIA requesters and FOIA responders are part of the same process, and therefore ought to cooperate as far as possible. It’s a wholesome message to send.
These policy proposals will simplify the affordable housing qualification process for all federal housing programs, primarily focusing on PBV and LIHTC, to move eligible households into vacant units more quickly.
A uniform software tool for inputting building permit data would make the U.S. Census Bureau’s Building Permit Survey (BPS) more reliable, and it would also facilitate more fine-grained geographical analysis of new housing development.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) should prioritize funding water projects for local governments that would expand the production of new housing in their service areas if given the water resources to do so.
Congress needs to amend the definition of a manufactured home to remove the phrase “on a permanent chassis.” By doing this, Congress can eliminate wasted construction materials, allow new multifamily design options under the HUD Code, and unleash competition from factory-built manufactured housing.