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Creating Affordable Housing in Your Community


affordable housing

On July 21st, 2015 Local Progress teamed up with Cornerstone Partnership’s Senior Program Officer for Inclusionary Housing Policy Sasha Hauswald, Participatory Democracy Project Executive Director and former Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin, and Denver, CO Councilwoman-at-large Robin Kniech to  explore the technical aspects of how inclusionary housing works, as well as share highlights from successful city programs across the country. Inclusionary housing is defined as “local policies that require or encourage lower priced income targeted homes and apartments in new market rate developments” to create affordable housing without public subsidy. These programs are particularly important tools as the housing price increases have outpaced growth in average family wages and municipal governments often lack the resources to invest in the development of affordable housing. Cornerstone Partnership is a national program helping to build nonprofits’ capacity to provide decent places to live and thrive; they suggested to structure inclusionary zoning policies through geographic targeting with in-lieu fees (more information on slides 23-25: Creating Affordable Housing in Your Community).

Senior Program Officer for Inclusionary Housing Policy Sasha Hauswald explained that inclusionary housing results in economic integration, increasing accessibility to good neighborhoods, an outcome that attracts more support for the policies. Valerie Ervin highlighted that working in conjunction with the Housing Opportunity Commission in Montgomery County helped their affordable housing policy because it allowed them to legally and more feasibly purchase land do develop housing for low-income households. In addressing how to overcome challenges in implementing inclusionary housing, Councilwoman-at-large Robin Kniech explained that Denver structured their affordable housing program ordinance to include varied economic incentives through cash-in-lieu policies and an economic feasibility analysis and economic rationality study to determine the rate of return needed for owners. In order to make affordable housing policies nationwide work effectively, it is important to recognize that local elected officials must take advantage of when development is happening in their areas to highlight the significance of inclusionary housing.

The best inclusionary housing programs (additional information in Local Progress Inclusionary Zoning Brief) include:

  • Apply where new development is occurring or will occur
  • Are mandatory
  • Have long terms of affordability for inclusionary units
  • Plan for monitoring and stewardship
  • Are simple and predictable
  • Objectively assess financial feasibility

Inclusionary Housing Policy Decision Guide – outlines key considerations for the policy and regulations for inclusionary housing.
Inclusionary Policy Design Map – this one page policy design map covers key components of inclusionary policies: incentives, program structure, requirements, applicability and alternatives.
Policy Design FAQ – key questions and answers that may come up in the process of designing a policy for inclusionary zoning.
Inclusionary Housing Policies and the Market – Prices – addresses the question, if cities implement an inclusionary housing policy, will the price of market rate housing increase significantly?
Inclusionary Housing Policies – Production – addresses the question, do inclusionary housing policies slow or stop the production of new market rate homes.

Creating Affordable Housing in Your Community PowerPoint

Local Progress Inclusionary Housing Brief

A significant portion of the webinar recording is below.


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