100 Percent Affordable Housing Overlay

100% Affordable Housing Overlay Infographic

Adopted by the City Council in October 2020, the 100%-Affordable Housing Overlay (AHO) is designed to help affordable housing developers create new, permanently affordable homes more quickly, more cost effectively, and in areas of the city where there are currently fewer affordable housing opportunities.  The AHO allows the creation of new, permanently affordable housing that is denser than what might be allowed under base zoning, and creates a new review process through which new affordable housing can be approved more efficiently.

Affordable housing developers often cannot compete with market-rate developers who can afford to pay more for land and buildings. There are also areas of the city where current zoning makes the creation of new affordable housing infeasible. Allowing affordable housing providers to build more densely than market-rate developers through the AHO will create new opportunities to create new, permanently affordable housing. Streamlining the approval process for new 100%-affordable housing will help reduce development costs and allow affordable housing providers to create new affordable units more quickly while using public funding more effectively.

Affordable Housing Overlay Ordinance:

Click here to read the adopted ordinance.

Design Guidelines for Affordable Housing Overlay Developments:

Click here to read the applicable AHO design guidelines.

Proposed Affordable Housing Overlay Projects in the Pipeline:

 Address  Sponsor/Developer  Description

Proposed # of Units 

52 New Street Just A Start  Rental/New  Construction TBD
Jefferson Park – Jackson Place / Jackson Circle / Rindge Ave Cambridge Housing Authority Preservation/Rental/New Construction ~295 
Walden Square II - Walden Square Road WinnDevelopment Rental/New Construction 103


AHO Public Meetings:

 Project Sponsor  Date/Time  More Information
52 New Street Just A Start February 25, 2021 at 6:00 pm via Zoom.

To register, click here.

View a meeting flyer. 

Jefferson Park Federal Cambridge Housing Authority Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 6:00 pm via Zoom.  Meeting passcode: 790750 To join the meeting, click herePasscode: 790750

View a meeting flyer.

Walden Square II WinnDevelopment Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 6:00 pm via Zoom.

To join the meeting, click here.

View a meeting flyer.

52 New Street Just A Start Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 6:00 pm via Zoom

To RSVP and receive a meeting email reminder, click here. (RSVP not required to attend)

View a meeting flyer. 

More Information:

For updates and information, subscribe to the 100%-Affordable Housing Overlay Mailing list

To learn more about how the idea for the 100%-Affordable Housing Overlay was generated, including materials related to the adoptions of the ordinance, click here.

For general questions about the AHO or to discuss potential AHO projects, please contact Cassie Arnaud, Housing Planner at carnaud@cambridgema.gov or 617/349-4617.