A new agreement seeks to make it easier for local communities in the Las Vegas region to obtain federal land for affordable housing.

The federal departments of Housing and Urban Development and the Interior announced they are establishing a process to make eligible public lands available for $100 an acre, far below the fair market value, for the construction of affordable housing developments in Southern Nevada.A new memorandum of understanding formalizes an updated sales process. Comparable land sales at one point reached a high of more than $2 million per acre, according to officials.

The collaboration between the departments occurs under the authority of the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA) of 1998, which allows the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to sell public lands within a specific boundary around Las Vegas for development. Although SNPLMA requires parcels to be sold for fair market value to fund education, water, and public lands projects in Nevada, Section 7(b) of the Act allows state and local governments to purchase land for a nominal cost to support affordable housing.

As a demonstration of this improved process, federal leaders were in Las Vegas in April to celebrate the BLM’s conveyance of a 5-acre parcel to Clark County for the development of affordable housing for seniors in the Las Vegas metro area. Clark County provided $11.8 million in funding for the project, which represents one of the first efforts in its “Welcome Home” initiative, aimed at creating more affordable housing options for Las Vegas Valley residents most in need. The facility will consist of 195 one- and two-bedroom apartments that will be rented at below-market rates to low-income seniors.