News & Updates

Second annual IDP Report details how the City is creating middle-income housing through Inclusionary Development

Oct 19, 2018

The second annual report on the Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) is now available. IDP is the City’s program to leverage private development to preserve access to affordable housing opportunities in all of Boston’s neighborhoods. IDP requires that developers of buildings with 10 or more units seeking zoning relief or building on City of Boston owned land set aside a percentage of their units as affordable to moderate- to middle-income households. Produced by the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA), the report is one of several new steps the BPDA is taking to track progress to guide inclusive growth in Boston.

As rents and sales prices have increased in Boston, it has become more and more challenging for individuals and families to find housing that is affordable. As a result, under Mayor Walsh’s leadership, the City of Boston has formulated a number of strategies to address affordability, which are outlined in the 2014 report Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030. Boston’s affordable housing needs are addressed through a number of agencies and programs, with each program targeting a range of Boston’s incomes, with the goal of meeting the needs of a diverse workforce. As a result, the City of Boston is committing considerable resources to housing for low-income households, while simultaneously addressing the fact that moderate- and middle-income households also find it difficult to locate housing they can afford.

To address these needs, the City is committed to innovative ways of increasing the overall supply of housing and finding a way to bridge the gap for households making too much for subsidized housing, but who still find it hard to find a place to live in Boston. Boston’s IDP bridges this affordability gap through private funds. Developers seeking zoning relief are required to make a commitment to support affordable housing, through the inclusion of income-restricted units within their buildings, the creation of units at another location, by contributing to a citywide affordable housing fund, known as the IDP Fund, or through a combination of these options.

When the policy was introduced in 2000, few cities had a similar policy. Today, Boston is often highlighted for the success of its program, and towns and cities across the country are using inclusionary development programs to meet affordable housing needs. Because of the IDP, developers have created 2,072 units of stable housing for moderate- and middle-income families, and contributed $123.5 million to the IDP Fund. This $123.5 million, when combined with other affordable housing resources, has supported the completion of 1,140 additional units of housing, affordable to very low-, low-, and moderate-income households. Before the 2000 creation of the IDP, there was no requirement that private housing developers address affordability in their developments. As a result of this program and other efforts, the City of Boston has been able to increase affordable/income restricted housing production from an average of 290 units per year before the introduction of IDP, to an average of 800 per year over the last four years.

The BPDA is committed to continuing to use IDP to leverage Boston’s strong private development market to benefit residents in all neighborhoods.

To view the full report, visit:

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