Creating an Inclusionary Housing Policy for Your Community

Inclusionary housing policies are not one-size-fits-all. They are adaptable, flexible tools that cities and towns can use to meet the unique needs of their communities. This means that communities working to implement an inclusionary housing policy must select from a large number of design features and choices, including:

  • Inclusionary percentage requirements
  • Area Median Income (AMI) targeting
  • Term of affordability
  • Alternatives to construction
  • Cost offsets for developers
  • Geographic tiering or targeting

Designing the Right Policy

Cities must make the right choices to ensure their policies are effective. Poor policy designs create problems down the road. For example, some cities fail to set unit design requirements and poorly constructed affordable housing units result. Others set terms of affordability that are too short and, after a few short years, lose the homes that are priced within reach for working families.

Municipalities pursuing a housing development impact fee or an in-lieu fee also face additional choices. For example, these jurisdictions must decide how to set their fee level and how they will use the proceeds of those fees. Again, these choices are critical to success. Fees that are too low, for example, can compromise the overall ability of the policy to produce any affordable housing.


These resources aim to help policymakers, advocates, and other stakeholders in cities that are pursuing an inclusionary housing policy, but need more information about how best to design the policy to meet the specific needs of their residents. Specifically, these resources explore:

  • Best practices in policy design choices
  • Model ordinances from other cities
  • Best practices for setting housing development impact fees and in-lieu fees
  • Best practices for using housing development impact fees and in-lieu fees
Browse Policy Design Resources
Policy Briefs Tools

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