Inclusionary Housing

Richdale Ave

Through the City of Cambridge’s Inclusionary Housing Program, income eligible households can access affordable rental and homeownership units in privately owned residential buildings.

The program began in 1998 with the establishment of the Cambridge Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance. In April 2017, the City Council unanimously passed an amendment to the Inclusionary Housing Zoning Ordinance, requiring that market-rate developments reserve 20% of the floor area for affordable units.

Under the current inclusionary housing provisions, developments of ten or more units are required to allocate 20% of residential floor area for low- and moderate- income tenants or moderate- and middle- income homebuyers. To expand options for families, the ordinance encourages developers to provide three-bedroom units within the 20% of floor area. In developments of 30,000 square feet or larger, the ordinance requires the creation of three-bedroom units in the affordable component. Monthly costs for affordable units are set at 30% of household income.

Through the program, over 1,100 units of affordable rental and ownership housing have been completed or are under construction in new developments located throughout the city. With an emphasis on creating affordable units on-site as part of new residential developments, the Ordinance has become a model for other communities in high cost areas looking to create affordable housing for low and moderate-income residents and ensure the socioeconomic diversity of the community is reflected in new housing.  

Click here to read a 2018 report on the inclusionary housing production, the status of the inclusionary rental housing program, and information on the homeownership program.

For More Information:

Developers of rental and homeownership projects can find information on providing inclusionary housing in new developments, here

Property Managers of rental developments can find the information on the inclusionary program’s operations, here.

Interested Inclusionary Renters of affordable rental units can learn about eligibility and the application process here. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.

Interested Inclusionary Homebuyers may apply for either new inclusionary units or for resale units. For new units available for the first time, applicants must submit a new application for the specific development. These units are marketed individually and a lottery is held for the initial purchase.  When new homeownership units are available, they will be posted on the Community Development Department's homepage

When current owners of affordable inclusionary homeownership units sell their unit, they are sold through the Homeownership Resale Pool. Applications are taken on an ongoing basis. Click here for more information.