Revised Inclusionary Development Policy Creates More Affordable Housing Units, Report Finds

The planning and development agency in Boston released its first report on the creation of affordable housing by private real estate developers and found that the number of units created more than doubled over the last three years.

The report, entitled “Bridging the Gap: Creating Middle Income Housing through Inclusionary Development,” states that an average of 605 affordable units per year were created over the last three years compared to an average of 290 units per year before that.

Inclusionary development is a policy that requires private housing developers to set aside affordable units in their projects, create them offsite or pay into an affordable-housing fund in-lieu of units since 2000.

New inclusionary development zones were created by the mayor in 2015 through executive order that increased the affordable unit requirement from 15 percent to 18 percent for housing projects in most downtown neighborhoods.

Contributions to the affordable-housing fund in-lieu of affordable on-site units also increased from $200,000 per unit to $300,000 or more, depending on where the project is located.

The Inclusionary Development Policy, or IDP, applies to developers that seek certain zoning variances for their projects.

The comprehensive report states that more than 1,700 units have been created for moderate- and middle-income families through IDP since 2000, with 89 percent of those units built on site. The city’s affordable housing fund has also collected $96.8 million dollars from developers in-lieu of on-site units thus far.

Development in South Boston and the Seaport District brought in the most on-site and off-site affordable-housing units through IDP, the report said, with 23 percent or 403 units designated for moderate- and middle-income families.

Several downtown neighborhoods and the South End had more than 200 units created through IDP, amounting to 12 to 13 percent of on-site and off-site affordable housing for moderate- and middle-income families.

IDP rental units are mostly set at 70 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), which the report states is up to $57,950 for a two-person household.

IDP units for ownership are mostly set at 80 percent of AMI, or up to $66,200 for a two-person household, the report said.

The report said 746 affordable units are under construction or have been permitted through IDP with 656 units planned to be built through IDP in the near future.

Jordan Frias

Jordan Frias is an editorial assistant at Boston Herald and a contributor of Spare Change News. He is vice president of the New England Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and a graduate of Northeastern University's School of Journalism.

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