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Strategies for helping more residents have affordable homes

The strategies that municipalities can use to improve housing affordability can be grouped by their impact on housing supply, stability and subsidy.

  • Supply: Every decision that impacts the supply of housing, such as zoning and land use restrictions, affects the cost of housing. Both rents and home prices rise if the demand to live in an area grows higher than the supply of housing there.  
  • Stability:  Having a stable home has become recognized more than ever before as a key to health and safety. Job stability helps residents continue to pay housing expenses.   
  • Subsidy: Working with government and non-profit partners can provide access to subsidies to increase the affordability of existing or new homes for many years to come. Local subsidies, such as Housing Trust Funds and land donation, also increase affordability for low income residents. 

Just as important as considering each of these 3 impacts is striking the balance that keeps the town stable.  Since some actions might improve one leg of the stool but harm another, being as informed as possible about the extent and nature of potential consequences is central to increasing the number of residents with affordable homes.