Chapter 5The Housing Indicator Tool Framework
The framework for tracking our region's collective housing targets is tied to two foundational elements:
- Inputs: What are in the inputs that lead to production and facilitation of affordable rental housing?
- Outcomes: How much affordable rental housing is being produced in each community, and how does it measure up to the targets?
Inputs: Production of affordable rental housing in any market can be a complex endeavor. In most cases it is facilitated by a wide range of policies, tools, funding sources and strategies working in concert to get projects in motion. The key to moving the needle on this issue is having both priorities and goals set and supported by the community, while also having the tools and policies in place and ready to be used and leveraged. Communities that have a robust set of plans and priorities without the proper tools in place will likely struggle meeting their housing objectives. On the other hand, localities with funds and tools for affordable housing, will often face an uphill road if the broader community is not on board or does not support or understand the need for affordable housing as a priority. The following five inputs have been identified as the key factors for a successful local affordable housing strategy.
- Housing Priority: Does the jurisdiction identify affordable housing as a priority in its Comprehensive Plan, Housing Master Plan, etc.
- Inclusionary Housing: Does the jurisdiction have a mandatory or voluntary inclusionary housing program whereby the jurisdiction requires or incentivizes the production of below-market rate housing units as part of market-rate developments, either on-site, off-site, or in the form of a fee in lieu?
- Housing Trust Fund: Does the local jurisdiction have a local housing trust fund that is currently funded?
- Property tax, Impact fee, Tax or Fee abatements or Exemptions: Does the jurisdiction offer property tax, impact fee or other abatements or exemptions to rental housing projects that include committed affordable housing units?
- Public Land: Does the jurisdiction make publicly-owned land available for affordable housing?
Outcomes: As the key inputs are evaluated, designed, and implemented by each jurisdiction over time, measuring the outcomes from those inputs is a critical step in gauging whether a) the approach is working and b) if it is working, is it working well enough to meet the annual housing targets that have been identified for our Region. The key outcomes that are measured by the HIT include the following:
- Total number of housing units built in the jurisdiction during the most recent calendar year: This information gives an overall picture of the new housing activity in each community. It includes housing of all types (multifamily, townhomes, single-family detached, etc.), sizes, and price points. It includes both for-sale homes and rental homes. The homes must have received a certificate of occupancy to be included in this outcome measure.
- Total number of multifamily housing units built in the jurisdiction during the most recent calendar year: Tracking multifamily housing development separately is important because in the context of our region, most affordable rental homes are in multifamily buildings. Understanding the overall picture for completed multifamily housing provides a useful gauge on demand in the market and how that could impact affordable housing supply. Both apartments and condos are included in this total, and buildings must have received certificates of occupancy to be included in this outcome measure.
- Number of committed affordable rental housing units built in the jurisdiction during the most recent calendar year: This outcome measurement is the heart of the HIT. Understanding the pace at which committed affordable rental housing is coming online in our region provides all of us an important view into our collective efforts around affordable housing. This outcome measurement includes all committed affordable rental housing units built specifically for individuals and families with income levels at or below 65% AMI. The information is also tabulated by affordability level and compared to the production targets that have been set by MWCOG and the Urban Institute. All committed affordable rental housing is included in this outcome measure regardless of property type (multifamily, townhome, single-family detached, etc.). The homes must have received a certificate of occupancy to be included in this outcome measure.