Affordable Housing Overlay

UPDATE (September 14th, 2020): The Overlay has been passed to a second reading by the City Council 7-2. It will have its final ordination vote on October 5th. Mark your calendars; the finish line is in sight!


The 100% Affordable Housing Zoning Overlay is a proposed zoning change to make it easier and cheaper to build 100% affordable housing developments all across Cambridge. By giving a density bonus and a streamlined process to new housing construction if it is 100% affordable, it will make it financially feasible both to start building affordable housing in neighborhoods that currently have none, and to continue building affordable housing where rising land costs have made it increasingly difficult. This is a necessity if we want to combat segregation and unaffordability in Cambridge.

For more details on what the Overlay is, why it's needed, and busting common misconceptions, check out AHO Reality. For official information about the Overlay, such as the most recent draft or FAQs answered by the city's Community Development Department, click here.

A Better Cambridge has been fighting for the AHO for over two years, ever since it emerged from the city's Envision Cambridge planning process. On September 9th, 2019, the Overlay was withdrawn by the City Council, with the intent of taking it up again after the 2019 municipal elections. Now that the elections are over, and a pro-Overlay supermajority has been elected, the Council is ready to act on the AHO. We need your help to get it over the finish line. Make sure you are subscribed to our action alerts, and consider joining A Better Cambridge as a member!