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/ Address  Sponsor/Developer  Description/ Proposed # of Units

Sponsor Website

52 New Street Just A Start

 Rental/New  Construction

Units: TBD

Jefferson Park Federal – Jackson Place / Jackson Circle / Rindge Ave Cambridge Housing Authority

Preservation/Rental/New Construction

Units: ~295 

Walden Square II - Walden Square Road WinnCompanies

Rental/New Construction

Units: 103

49 6th Street Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH)


Units: ~46

116 Norfolk Street  Cambridge Housing Authority  Historic preservation/Rental/New Construction, units ~62  Website forthcoming

Upcoming AHO Public Meetings:

Project Sponsor  Date/Time  More Information

 Cambridge Housing Authority


Community Meeting on 116 Norfolk Street project

Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom

 View a meeting flyer.
Just A Start


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


Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) TBD

To view the dates of previously held public meetings for 49 6th Street, click here.


Cambridge Housing Authority


To view the dates of previously held public meetings for Jefferson Park - Federal, click here.




To view the dates of previously held public meetings for Walden Square II, click here.

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.