To promote housing equity through the allocation of affordable housing units.
This WELL feature requires projects to designate affordable housing units and reduce housing costs for low-income tenants.
Families unable to find affordable housing end up spending a significant share of their income on housing costs, leaving them with insufficient resources to cover other basic needs such as food, clothing, utilities, transportation or medical care. Across the United States, European Union, Japan and Australia, more than 60 million households are financially stretched by housing costs.
Moreover, when affordable housing is unavailable, families often end up in substandard, poorly maintained or overcrowded housing, increasing exposure to mold, dust, water leaks, lead-based paint, poor air quality, temperature extremes and vermin. This in turn could lead to poor health outcomes such as asthma, infectious disease, cardiovascular events and damage to children’s brains and nervous systems. An estimated 235 million urban families around the world live in substandard housing.
In 2016, only 3.2 million affordable housing units were available for the 10.4 million extremely low-income households in the United States; similarly, in India there is a deficit of 11 million affordable housing units. This deficit expands beyond urban areas to suburban neighborhoods; for example, in rural England, housing costs are 25% higher than in urban areas, while average wages are lower, and only 8% of housing stock is affordable compared to 20% in urban areas. Affordable housing shortages can lead to homelessness and residential instability, which have been shown to increase stress, substance use and morbidity in adults and increase risk of mental health issues, delays in cognitive development, and depression in youth.
Studies demonstrate that increasing housing affordability and the quality and safety of affordable units improves overall resident health, and research indicates that children from low-income families with access to affordable housing have better overall health, higher levels of nutrition and an increased chance of meeting developmental milestones. Access to affordable housing can also help prevent communicable diseases, improve overall mental health and provide a stable and efficient platform for the ongoing delivery of healthcare and essential services, especially for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children, and individuals with chronic illnesses or disabilities.
Unit Allocation (2 points)
The following requirements are met:
A percentage of units is allocated for tenants whose incomes are at or below a specified ratio of local median household income [e.g., Area Median Income (AMI)], adjusted for family size, per the table below:
Units Allocated Income Limit (% of local median) Points 20% or more 0 - 50% 1 40% or more 51 - 80% 1 100% 0 - 80% 2
Total annual housing costs (defined as rent and utilities) paid by affordable unit tenants are less than 30% of the income limit selected in requirement (1).
Rent and housing costs are maintained for the duration of a project’s WELL Certified status.
All affordable housing units included in a project are tenure blind.
In projects with 10 or more dwelling units, at least 50% of all located units must have two or more bedrooms and at least 10% of allocated units must have three or more bedrooms.
Note: All projects are required to submit the WELL beta feature implementation feedback form for every WELL beta feature pursued during documentation review.
More information on WELL v2 beta features can be found at https://resources.wellcertified.com/articles/introducing-well-beta-features/.
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