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:

Development Name/ Sponsor  Description/ # of Units

Sponsor Website

52 New Street

Just A Start Corp.

New  Construction

107 Rental Units


Jefferson Park Federal  (Jackson Place / Jackson Circle / Rindge Ave)

Cambridge Housing Authority

Preservation/New Construction

278 Rental Units 


Walden Square II

(Walden Square Road)


New Construction

~ 103 Rental Units


49 6th Street

Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH)

New Construction

~ 46 Rental Units


116 Norfolk Street

Cambridge Housing Authority

 Historic preservation/New Construction

~62 Rental Units

 Website forthcoming

Upcoming AHO Public Meetings:

Development Name/Sponsor  Date/Time  More Information
116 Norfolk/ Cambridge Housing Authority

Next Meeting TBD


To view the dates of previously held public meetings for 116 Norfolk Street, click here.


 49 Sixth Street/  Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) Next Meeting TBD To view the dates of previously held public meetings for 49 6th Street, click here.
Walden Square II/ WinnCompanies Next Meeting TBD  To view the dates of previously held public meetings for Walden Square II, click here.


52 New Street/ Just A Start

AHO Process is Complete

To view the dates of previously held public meetings for 52 New Street, click here.


Jefferson Park Federal/ Cambridge Housing Authority AHO Process is Complete To view the dates of previously held public meetings for Jefferson Park - Federal, click here.

More Information:

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

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

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