Inclusionary housing has become increasingly common in cities and towns across the United States. Its growing popularity has been fueled by the intersection of several distinct motivations.

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Sharing the Benefits of Growth

We all contribute to making our communities better places, but growing cities tend to experience increasing land and housing prices. This is good news for property owners, but it can be bad news for people who rent or are hoping to buy homes. Inclusionary housing provides a means for more fairly sharing the benefits of growth. Continue reading

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Economic Integration

Inclusionary housing policies were first developed to specifically counteract a history of ‘exclusionary zoning’ policies that reinforced economic and racial segregation. A wealth of recent research has convincingly demonstrated that concentrated poverty is a cause of many of our worst social problems and is especially damaging to children. Inclusionary housing is one of the only affordable housing strategies that has been successful in creating sustainable mixed-income communities. Continue reading

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Shortage of Moderately Priced Housing

In recent decades, most new housing has been luxury housing. * We are under-building housing for lower-and middle-income households. Inclusionary housing helps in two distinct ways. First it creates a new source of financing for affordable housing, and second, it offers capacity to get homes built. Where other affordable housing strategies generally rely on government or nonprofit agencies to build new homes, inclusionary programs typically rely on private developers to build affordable homes. In many communities, this can mean affordable homes are built more quickly. Continue reading

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Declining Federal Funding

Since the 1940s, the federal government has been the primary source of support for new affordable housing. Over the past 20 years, however, federal investment in housing has been steadily declining, even as the need for housing assistance has been growing rapidly. This has left local and state governments looking for new strategies to meet local housing needs. Inclusionary housing does not provide a substitute for continued federal investment but it can provide a locally controlled means to significantly supplement state and federal funding. Continue reading