Adopt fair-share requirements for affordable housing


States across the nation have difficulty supplying affordable housing in a range of types and locations. It is one thing for select communities to address the deficit, but a more viable option is for regions and states to adopt fair-share housing standards. This requires all new housing developments to incorporate a portion of affordable units. Proportional requirements typically are in the 10-to-15 percent range, but can vary depending on the needs of communities. This system works best when there is clear consensus and buy-in on the process from local, regional and state stakeholders.

Inclusionary zoning, or planning ordinances that require a specific share of new construction to be affordable to people of low or moderate income, is another successful technique used by some jurisdictions. Several states, including Texas and Oregon, however, have established laws that forbid jurisdictions from enacting inclusionary zoning laws.


One common way to ensure the provision of a fair share of affordable housing is a top-down approach, in which all counties and municipalities with insufficient affordable housing are required to adopt an affordable housing plan. Other options include tying the funding of community development projects, housing tax credits and infrastructure improvements to compliance with an affordable housing plan. Another strategy is to exempt communities from a fair housing requirement if they can demonstrate they already provide an overwhelming supply of housing to residents who make 80 percent or less of the area median income.


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