Policy Settings, Resources and Delivery Systems to Support Inclusionary Housing Schemes

A number of studies have identified success factors supporting the longterm implementation of inclusionary housing programmes through the planning process (Calavita and Mallach 2010; Gurran et al. 2008; Mukhija 2010). An overarching policy framework setting out objectives or targets for affordable housing inclusion or retention is a critical starting point. This framework depends on a supportive legislative basis to enable planners and local authorities to address affordable housing as part of the land use allocation and development assessment process. Within the planning authority, dedicated and experienced staff are usually critical to successful design and implementation of inclusionary housing schemes. This might range from the development of inclusionary zoning requirements when land is being rezoned (or indicative targets for affordable housing when land is allocated for residential development), to the assessment of proposals affecting existing sources of low-cost housing. Under negotiated frameworks, the capacity to understand development feasibility and to accurately determine the value of planning ‘gain’ is critical, whilst under fixed schemes staff will still need to scrutinise proposed approaches for complying with the affordable housing component of a project.

Equally important is the existence of a ‘delivery infrastructure’ able to take up opportunities for affordable housing development or acquisition. This might include a strong non-profit or for-profit affordable housing sector, with access to its own funding reserves or government grants or guarantees. Funding for well-structured affordable products, particularly in the intermediate sector, has the character of a revolving fund, whereby initial subsidy (from grant or land value) is recycled through future resales and surpluses. The delivery infrastructure may also depend on schemes being able to ensure that target households are able to obtain finance for home purchase products, such as a government loan or shared equity scheme. Government guarantee or insurance arrangements may help to ensure that mortgage and down payment terms are not too onerous.

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