What is a Housing Production Plan?

What is a Housing Production Plan?

What is a Housing Production Plan?

In Massachusetts, Housing Production Plans (HPPs) are plans that help municipalities better understand local housing need and demand, development constraints and opportunities, and their vision for future Affordable Housing and sometimes market-rate housing.

There are several reasons for communities to create and adopt an HPP:

    • Address unmet housing needs of low- and moderate-income residents in the community
    • Influence the type, amount, and location of mixed-income and Affordable Housing
    • Help communities meet the State mandate requiring that 10% of total year-round housing units be Affordable by setting a numeric goal for annual housing production (see the Chapter 40B section below)
    • Possibly prevent unwanted 40B development through a certified HPP (see below for more details) in favor of residential development that complies with local zoning

An HPP is approved by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for a five-year period, and consists of:

    • Data: an assessment of housing need and demand based on current data, population and development trends, and regional growth factors
    • Limitations: an analysis of physical and regulatory development constraints
    • Locations: identification of specific sites for housing production
    • Goals: housing goals, including an annual numeric housing production target
    • Strategies: implementation strategies to works towards goals

How does it work?

MAPC begins a HPP by analyzing local demographic and housing data and projections, and creating a comprehensive need and demand assessment, with an analysis of development constraints.

Our staff assists with community outreach throughout the planning process. Outreach often includes a community survey and small group discussions. A public forum is often held to share the findings of the need and demand assessment, identify housing opportunities and sites, and develop preliminary housing goals. Another forum may be scheduled to finalize the goals and present possible implementation strategies. Our trained community engagement team, working with our housing staff, can help plan exercises that elicit a variety of housing stories and convey information about housing need and context-sensitive development, amongst other things.

Using data and community feedback, MAPC assists cities and towns with a visioning process to determine housing goals, implementation strategies, and identify specific sites that are suitable for housing development.

MAPC presents the final HPP to the Planning Board and Board of Selectmen or City Council for local adoption, then submits it to DHCD for approval. DHCD conducts a 30-day completeness review and offers the municipality the opportunity to respond with additional information, if necessary. DHCD has 90 days to approve the HPP after determining it is complete. If the plan is not approved, DHCD will provide specific feedback and a revised HPP can be submitted at any time.

Affordable Housing

A home is considered affordable when it costs 30% or less of a household’s income and is deed-restricted to income-eligible low- or moderate-income residents. Affordable Housing has restrictions to preserve affordability for decades or in perpetuity, ensuring that income-eligible households can stay in their communities without having to make difficult financial decisions, such as skipping meals or doctor’s appointments to have enough money to pay for their homes. Without deed restrictions, housing costs can go up as markets rise, making homes that were once inexpensive now costly. Deed-restricted Affordable Housing protects communities from skyrocketing costs and related displacement.

Eligibility to live in deed-restricted Affordable Housing is based on household income and the number of people in the household, which is usually compared to the Metropolitan Area Median Income (AMI) calculated by the (HUD). The 2019 AMI for the Greater Boston region is $113,300. Under many Affordable Housing programs, households eligible for deed-restricted Affordable Housing must be at or below 80% of AMI. For a household of one, 80% AMI is $63,500; for a household of four, it is $89,200. Some Affordable Housing programs serve households with lower incomes.

Affordable Housing can take many forms, including public housing and private Affordable Housing, which is typically built by nonprofit developers or for-profit developers through mixed-income projects. All Affordable Housing requires subsidy, and usually this subsidy comes from the government. Today’s Affordable Housing developments usually require multiple subsidies from all levels of government, as well as private debt and foundation funding, in order to be built. In addition to government-subsidized Affordable Housing, some cities require market-rate developments to include Affordable Housing under laws often called “inclusionary zoning.”

Learn about affordable housing:

Chapter 40B
Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI)
Safe Harbor