Seeking organizational and individual support for Inclusionary Zoning
Dear community organization or member:

The Worcester Together Affordable Housing Coalition is asking for public support of the City Manager’s proposal to pass Inclusionary Zoning, a policy that is crucial to increasing the number of housing units that are affordable to Worcester families. Inclusionary Zoning is a policy that will require real estate developers to set aside a certain percentage of their residential units at rents that are affordable for low- income families and individuals. In the last few months, the Worcester Together Affordable Housing Coalition has advocated for Worcester to pass an inclusionary zoning policy and we are pleased that former City Manager Ed Augustus worked with our coalition to move this policy forward.

WHAT ARE WE ASKING OF YOU:  
Sign-on as an individual or organization to the letter attached (copy of the letter pasted below)to show your support of Inclusionary Zoning with our recommended asks:

1) Design the policy such that family-size and individual units are set aside for those below 60% of the Area Median Income, including accessible units for folks with disabilities.

2) Recommend swift approval and implementation of the Inclusionary Zoning policy, before any big developments are permitted.

We will circulate the letter below to all members of the Worcester City Council and  the Economic Development Standing Committee to show that this policy has broad community support from all corners of our city: workers, organizations, anchor institutions, the business community, residents, and community development corporations. We will let you know when other opportunities to testify arise in the next coming weeks. If you have any questions, contact Gina Plata-Nino at gplata-nino@mlri.org.

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Dear Worcester City Council and the Economic Development Standing Committee members:

The Worcester Together Affordable Housing Coalition and its signatories are asking for an expedited inclusionary zoning policy that benefits households making below 60% of Area Median Income. The coalition is composed of local housing advocates, affordable housing developers, community members, and healthcare representatives.  
 
Inclusionary Zoning is a policy that is crucial to increasing the number of housing units that are affordable to Worcester families. This policy will require real estate developers to set aside a certain percentage of their residential units at rents that are affordable for low-income families. In the last few months, the Worcester Together Affordable Housing Coalition has advocated for Worcester to pass an inclusionary zoning policy. We are very pleased that former City Manager Ed Augustus worked with our coalition to move this policy forward.  

The recent City’s ARPA listening sessions clearly demonstrated that residents are deeply concerned about the increased cost of housing in Worcester. Worcester residents keep raising frustrations that finding housing that is affordable and not substandard has become one of the biggest challenges of living in Worcester.
 
According to the 2021 National Low Income Housing Coalition Out of Reach Report, the Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Worcester and surrounding areas is $1450. In order to afford this rent and utilities without paying more than 30% of their income, a household needs to earn $27.88 per hour. The average wage of renters in Worcester and surrounding areas is only $14.49 per hour.
75% of renters are severely cost-burdened. This means that 75% of Worcester’s renters spend more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities.,

With market-price units in Worcester  being developed at an unprecedented rate, there is an immediate need to expedite this policy.  The current development is leaving the majority of our residents struggling to find safe and stable places to live.  Inclusionary Zoning gives us more affordable apartments in new developments at no material cost to the municipality and it increases social and economic mobility.
 
We are therefore asking the following:
 
-Design the policy such that family-size and individual units, including accessible units for those with disabilities, are set aside for households making below 60% of the Area Median Income. We believe setting aside units at 80% of Area Median Income does not support those most needing truly affordable housing.
-Recommend swift approval and implementation of the Inclusionary Zoning policy, before any big developments are permitted to go forward.

Our coalition has the necessary expertise to assist in the drafting and implementation of this policy.  Please let us know if you have any questions.  You can email our co-chair Gina Plata-Nino at gplata-nino@mlri.org if you have any questions.
 
Sincerely,
 
Worcester Together Affordable Housing Coalition


Sincerely,
The Worcester Together Affordable Housing Coalition
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