More than 800 local inclusionary housing programs nationwide are identified in a new Inclusionary Housing Database Map.
The online tool also includes data on state-level legislation and judicial decisions that are related to the adoption of local inclusionary housing policies and programs.
“Inclusionary housing is becoming an increasingly popular topic and policy tool across the country as communities are seeing rising housing prices and looking for action to take,” says Stephanie Reyes, state and local policy manager for Grounded Solutions Network, which launched the database in partnership with Fannie Mae. “This seems like a great way to ensure that as new development gets built a portion of that new development is set aside for low-income families, and I think it’s also particularly appealing to jurisdictions in this era of decreasing funding resources often from the federal and state levels.”
Inclusionary housing programs allow local jurisdictions to contribute to the affordable housing stock by requiring or incentivizing the creation of affordable housing and capturing some of the value of private investment, Reyes says.
For example, developers building a market-rate housing project may be required to include affordable housing units as part of their development or pay a fee into an affordable housing fund.
“Inclusionary housing is a proven solution to help the affordable housing needs faced by many communities throughout the country,” said Bob Simpson, vice president of affordable and green financing at Fannie Mae, in a statement. This database map will provide valuable information to our affordable and workforce housing partners across the country who are interested in the opportunities that inclusionary housing can provide to low- and moderate-income renter households.”
Grounded Solutions Network is an organization that “cultivates communities that are equitable and inclusive through innovative affordable housing solutions.” Its work has included providing technical assistance to local jurisdictions looking to put in place an inclusionary housing policy.
To help community members and local officials who are considering implementing program, the organization created the database to show what other jurisdictions are doing and what is allowed in their states. In gathering the information, Reyes and her team found out just how prevalent the policies have become. “We mapped over 800 jurisdictions that have policies in place of some kind,” she says.
The majority of programs require compliance from developers, with roughly two-thirds of the programs being mandatory.
For many mandatory programs and most voluntary programs, offering some sort of incentive to developers helps offset the cost of providing the affordable housing units. A survey by Grounded Solutions Network found inclusionary housing programs offer a variety of incentives, with density bonuses being most common. One-third of programs offer other zoning variances, such as a reduction in site development standards, a modification of architectural design requirements, and a reduction in parking requirements.
Twenty-eight percent of programs provide a waiver, reduction, or deferral of development, administrative fees, and/or financing fees. One-fifth of programs offer expedited processing. Less commonly used incentives include direct public subsidy and tax relief abatement, according to the group.
Of the inclusionary housing programs for which Grounded Solutions Network was able to get detailed information, over 70% were developed after 2000, so there’s been an uptick in recent years, according to Reyes.
The organization’s survey is the most comprehensive examination of inclusionary housing in the United States to date. The database will continue to be updated. Users can update or add information about a local program on the map.