Affordable and attainable housing for people with a variety of income levels and needs is key to a vibrant, healthy, and resilient region. Cape Cod is facing a significant challenge in providing affordable and attainable housing for current and future Cape Cod residents. This impacts not only those seeking housing, but also the region’s economy as employers struggle to find employees living locally. The region’s draw as a seasonal and retirement destination and the affluence of many off-Cape residents who can afford higher home prices, combined with regulatory and physical limitations, have resulted in a highly constrained housing market that is unaffordable to many Cape Cod residents; a problem which has only become more acute during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regional Housing Strategy
The Cape Cod Commission has developed a Regional Housing Strategy for Barnstable County. A recommendation of the 2018 Regional Policy Plan, the regional housing strategy addresses the housing supply, affordability, and availability issues facing the region by identifying appropriate areas for housing development and crafting policies and strategies to further its goals. Successful implementation of the Regional Housing Strategy will provide residents with safe and attainable housing and will provide a more reliable workforce and customer base for our local businesses.
Other Housing Work
The Cape Cod Commission also supports the 15 towns of Barnstable County, regional and sub-regional housing agencies, and other partners seeking to improve the availability and diversity of housing affordable to our community. This role includes the development of information to support local decision making, including presentations; coordination with state and other regional agencies; meeting facilitation; zoning analysis and support; and specific project development upon request of the community.
The Commission also supports the advancement of regional efforts to create affordable housing and support housing where appropriate by drafting model zoning such as the model bylaw for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), the facilitation of the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, and a framework for Form-Based Code.
Previously, Commission staff maintained the HOME Consortium, a block grant program designed to create affordable housing for low-income households. This program is now managed by Barnstable County.