The state of New Jersey publishes a very comprehensive manual to guide the development and administration of local inclusionary housing programs. While some of the procedures are specific to New Jersey’s Fair Housing Act, most of the manual describes best practices that would be applicable to inclusionary programs in other states. View Manual
While larger programs will inevitably involve more than one staff position, each program should identify a single person to serve as the primary administrator with ultimate responsibility for the program’s performance including:
- Reviewing and analyzing affordable housing agreements
- Overseeing or coordinating marketing efforts
- Determining homebuyer/tenant eligibility
- Working with attorneys to ensure that regulatory documents are executed and recorded properly
- Maintaining communication with property owners/homeowners
- Monitoring affordable units
- Managing resales of affordable ownership units
- Coordinating enforcement
Most inclusionary housing programs are administered by staff in a city or county housing department, but a growing number of programs are outsourcing some of the ongoing administrative functions.
In 2007, NeighborWorks America and NCB Capital Impact surveyed a small number of inclusionary housing programs and found great variation in the staffing levels among otherwise similar programs.*
They found clear evidence of significant economies of scale. Smaller programs generally employed far more staff per unit monitored. Palo Alto. California monitored 269 units with a staff of only 1.25 (215 units per FTE), while Montgomery County, Maryland monitored 2,799 units with 6.5 FTE (430 units per FTE).
Their survey found that rental monitoring required far less staff time than oversight of homeownership units. In Fairfax County, Virginia a single half-time employee was responsible for oversight of 900 rental units, while the county employed three full time staff for their portfolio of 1,400 ownership units. Similarly in New Jersey, the state housing and mortgage finance agency was managing 1,000 inclusionary rental units with a single staff person while a team of 10 was required for 5,000 inclusionary ownership units.
The state of New Jersey has developed a standard ordinance through which local jurisdictions can designate a program administrator and outline that person or organization’s roles and responsibilities in detail. The administrator may be city staff or an outside contractor but the required roles are the same.
In order to make outsourcing easier and more successful, the state provides jurisdictions with a sample contract and sample resolution for appointing an outside contractor to administer inclusionary housing programs. They also require these jurisdictions to appoint an internal municipal housing liaison to oversee the outside administrator. More information and sample documents are available on the state’s website.
1. Program of Local Government
The local housing, planning or redevelopment department has ongoing responsibility for oversight and administration. Continue reading
2. Multi-jurisdiction Collaboration
Several local jurisdictions work together to form a joint powers authority, nonprofit or similar structure with which they each contract for ongoing stewardship of shared-equity ownership units. Continue reading
3. Private Company
Some local governments contract with realtors or other local companies to perform key ongoing oversight functions on a fee-for-service basis. Continue reading
4. Nonprofit Housing Agency
A local nonprofit housing organization plays an ongoing stewardship role either through a fee for service contract with local government or as a requirement for receiving project subsidy. Continue reading
Adequate staffing is essential to an inclusionary housing program’s ability to maintain long-term affordability of inclusionary units. PolicyLink described one extreme case where inadequate staffing led to a permanent loss of affordable units:*
“There have been a small number of well-publicized cases where understaffed local governments have literally lost track of affordable units after requiring developers to produce them.
Beginning in the late 1970s, the California Coastal Commission began requiring developers in coastal Orange County to make 25 to 35 percent of any new housing affordable to low- or moderate-income buyers. These state-mandated units were entrusted to the Orange County Housing Authority for administrative oversight. However, the program provided no funding for monitoring and oversight, and by the early 1980s, the housing authority was responsible for over 800 such units.
The workload became so burdensome that housing authority staff were unable to dedicate the time necessary to identify new buyers and began regularly releasing units from restrictions rather than exercise its option to purchase the units at an affordable price. By 1983, the housing authority had released 132 units from restrictions and only purchased 22 units.
The authority board voted to terminate the program and release the remaining units. The state intervened and assigned responsibility to another agency, which experienced similar problems and released an additional 25 units. It was only when the state provided grant funding to a third administrative entity (nearly 20 years after the first units were sold) that monitoring and enforcement received real attention. By then, however, the damage was done and a judge ruled that many of the remaining deed restrictions were unenforceable because enforcement had been so mismanaged.”