HIP Tool: Nonprofit Partnerships

Jurisdictions can establish cooperative arrangements with public or non-profit housing developers to promote low-income or special needs housing in their communities. Jurisdictions can also encourage for-profit developers to partner with non-profits to provide affordable units within larger market-rate developments.


In the U.S., production of affordable housing and delivery of housing services is largely done by non-profit agencies and developers. These developers have an underlying mission to provide affordable housing, working in partnership with local jurisdictions and state and federal agencies that provide funding and other related subsidies or incentives.

Non-profit providers are tax-exempt national or community-based organizations that provide a range of services. They develop housing, manage properties, provide housing assistance services, function as community finance institutions, deliver social services, and advocate for affordable housing. Non-profits may also partner with local banks to provide low-income households with loans and assistance and to finance their own activities.

Partnering with non-profits provides local governments with the expertise of staff who are devoted to affordable housing provision and management, which can lead to informed policies and funding that support and enrich underserved communities. Non-profits gain funding and allies for their cause through partnerships with local government, plus assistance in navigating the development process.

Private sector developers rarely develop low-income housing without technical or financial assistance from non-profit and government sources. Private developers may lack knowledge and access to federal, state, and local subsidies and financing mechanisms to fund affordable housing and may also lack relationships with communities where affordable housing is most needed. Their technical building and development expertise and financial resources, however, makes them attractive partners. Non-profits and private-sector developers can collaborate on mixed-income projects to achieve objectives of both partners. 

Cooperative partnerships can be built with both non-profit and for-profit developers through a local housing fund by providing technical assistance or direct loans or grants to developers of affordable housing.

Tool Profile

Focus Areas

  • Urban Centers
  • Transit Oriented Development
  • Expensive Housing Markets
  • Innovative Single Family Techniques
  • Community Education & Outreach

Project Types

  • Single Family
  • Multifamily
  • Ownership
  • Rental
  • Market Rate
  • Subsidized

Affordability Level

  • Less than 80% AMI

Housing Goal

  • Affordability