Wellesley strives to promote and maintain affordable housing opportunities in our community, working in partnership with the Wellesley Housing Authority, the Wellesley Housing Development Corporation, nonprofit and for-profit developers, other Town departments and other public entities.
The Select Board Office provides information to individuals about potential affordable housing initiatives and developments, and addresses inquiries related to housing services and issues. Questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
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What is affordable housing?
Affordable housing is generally defined by the income of the household in relation to housing costs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) identifies units as affordable if gross rent (including costs of utilities borne by the tenant) is no more than 30% of a household’s net adjusted income (with a small deduction for each dependent, for child care, for extraordinary medical expenses, etc.) or if the carrying costs of purchasing a home (mortgage, homeowners association fees, property taxes and insurance) is not more than typically 30% of income.
If households are paying more than these amounts, they are described as experiencing housing affordability problems or cost burdens; and if they are paying more than half of their income for housing, they have severe housing affordability problems and cost burdens.
Affordable housing can also be defined according to percentages of median income for the area as summarized in the following table:
HUD Area Income Limits for the Boston Area, 2022
|Number of Persons in Household||30% of Area: Median Income||50% of Area: Median Income||80% of Area: Median Income|
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
The most commonly used definition of affordable housing applies to the Chapter 40B comprehensive permit law. For a unit to be affordable under Chapter 40B and counted toward a community’s progress in reaching the 10% affordability threshold and included as part of its Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI), it must meet specific State requirements including the following:
- Units must be subsidized or approved by a subsidizing agency.
- Occupants must have income at or below 80% of area median income, adjusted by household size and presented in the above table.
- The unit must be deed restricted for specified periods of time including in perpetuity for newly constructed affordable homeownership units. These deed restrictions are monitored and enforced.
Wellesley Affordable Housing Opportunities
Of the 9,090 year-round housing units in Wellesley, the State has determined that 1,044 or 11.49% are eligible for inclusion in the Town Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI). The table below summarizes the units that are in the SHI and meet the State requirements of affordability. These units also meet the criteria established in the Town of Wellesley affordable housing policy .
Wellesley Subsidized Housing Inventory
|Project Name||SHI Units||Type/Subsidizing Agency||40B Comp Permit||Expires|
|Barton Road Development||90||Rental/DHCD||No||Perpetuity|
|Dean House/List House||57||Rental/DHCD||No||Perpetuity|
|Morton Circle Development||36||Rental/DHCD||No||Perpetuity|
|Linden Street Development||12||Rental/DHCD||No||Perpetuity|
|Ardemore at Wellesley||36||Rental/DHCD||Yes||Perpetuity|
|Edgemoor Circle Townhouses||3||Owner/DHCD||Yes||Perpetuity|
|DDS Group Homes||12||Rental/DDS||No||N/A|
|Walnut Street Fire Station||1||Owner/DHCD||Yes||Perpetuity|
|Peck Ave & Mellon Rd||3||Owner/DHCD||No||Perpetuity|
|Waterstone at Wellesley||82||Rental/DHCD||No||Perpetuity|
|16 Stearns Road||6||Owner/MassHousing||Yes||Perpetuity|
|The Nines at Wellesley Park||350||Rental/DHCD||No||2050*|
Under the Massachusetts Chapter 40B law, if a municipality has less than 10% of its year-round housing stock set-aside for low- and moderate-income residents, it does not meet the local and regional need for affordable housing. This makes the town vulnerable to an override of local zoning if a developer wants to build affordable housing through the comprehensive permit process. By surpassing the 10% affordable housing threshold, Wellesley will no longer be required to process Chapter 40B comprehensive permit applications that it determines are inappropriate and do not address local housing needs.