Inclusionary housing. It’s a buzz concept floating around the housing space these days. States and municipalities seem to be adopting and eschewing it left and right, but how prevalent is the practice actually, and what does inclusionary housing really mean?
The basic definition for inclusionary housing is linking the creation of affordable homes for low- and moderate-income households to the construction of market-rate housing or commercial development.
That's pretty broad, and as it turns out, so are the policies that fall under the umbrellas of inclusionary housing. There are many different forms of inclusionary housing, and they vary greatly from municipality to municipality. This can be confusing to be sure, but each community has its own needs, and the variance is certainly merited since density is not a shared problem across the U.S.
Stephanie Reyes, state and local policy manager of Grounded Solutions Network, an affordable housing advocacy group supported by Fannie Mae and the parent site of inclusionaryhousing.com, has some insight on the issue.
“When policymakers or community members want to improve housing affordability in their communities through an inclusionary housing policy, they often ask a set of questions,” Reyes said in a statement.
“These questions can include: What other cities in my state have an inclusionary housing policy in place? How are those policies structured? What does state law say about local jurisdictions’ ability to adopt inclusionary housing policies?” she continued.
To aid in answering these questions, Grounded Solutions Network created an interactive map detailing the spread and scope of inclusionary housing policies.
It lays out county by county what kind of regulations are in place, and at the state level, color codes states by inclusionary housing permitted, no barriers to inclusionary housing, barriers may exist to inclusionary housing and inclusionary housing prohibited.
According to the map, most of the nation falls in the barriers may exist category. Large swaths of the Midwest and Southeast U.S. have some kind of barriers in place to inclusionary zoning.
Most of the states that explicitly endorse and enact inclusionary housing policies are on the coasts, not surprising due to the population density and general support of government funded programs in places like New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
As the nation decides how to handle the affordable housing crisis, refer to this handy map to find out what kind of policies are in effect in your area.