IDP report shows increase in affordable housing over 17 years

The City has released its first report on the Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP), the program that requires private developers to include affordable housing as part of their proposals, according to a press release.

The report describes the additional affordable housing units that have been created, specifically in the peak year 2016.

The IDP applies to developers of buildings with ten or more units seeking zoning relief or building on City of Boston-owned land. It requires that these developers set aside a percentage of their units as affordable to moderate- to middle-income households. The policy affects rentals and sales of units. The report on the policy was prepared by the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) as a way to track progress of inclusive growth in the city.

The IDP was first established in 2000 by then-Mayor Tom Menino. There have been several updates to the policy, the most recent of which was issued by Mayor Walsh in 2015 by means of an executive order.

“One of my top priorities continues to be working to make Boston affordable for all those that want to live here,” said Mayor Martin Walsh, according to the press release. “We’ve committed a significant amount of resources across agencies to maintain and expand our city’s affordable housing stock, and IDP is one of the most impactful tools the City has to leverage the strong private development market to increase affordable and low-income housing.”

Affordable/income-restricted housing production has increased from an average of 290 units per year before the introduction of IDP, 1999, to an average of 605 per year over the last three years. The report also finds that 2016 was a record year, with $23.7 million paid to the IDP Fund, representing 24 percent of all payments made since the inception of the program. $42.8 million in new funds were also committed to the fund in connection with the 2016 BPDA Board approved projects.

“This report is a result of the Boston Planning & Development Agency’s mission to track the progress we are making to guide inclusive growth,” said Brian Golden, director of the BPDA, according to the press release. “Today, we are in the midst of the biggest building boom in Boston’s history and it is critical that this building boom reaches every one of our residents. We will continue to build upon the work laid out in this report to strengthen the IDP as well as all of our other tools to leverage private development and create and maintain our affordable housing.”

Since the inception of the IDP, 1,737 on-site and off-site units have been created, 229 of which were completed in 2016.

“IDP has become a fantastic source of affordable housing in South Boston. Without it, we would have very few new affordable housing units created in this neighborhood because of the limited land available for development,” said Donna Brown, executive director of the South Boston Neighborhood Development Corporation, according to the press release. “IDP units provide a great opportunity for moderate income families and individuals to live in the new buildings developed near Broadway Station, the South Boston Waterfront and Fort Point areas. IDP funds have also provided an important source of financing for new developments like Patriot Homes for Veterans, serving low-income and homeless Veterans in South Boston.”

The IDP report was presented to, and approved by, the BPDA board of Directors on Aug. 10.

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