In several cities across the United States, it has become highly challenging for middle and low-income families. To rent or buy a housing unit in their workplace. One of the main reasons for this is that the wages of these families are not enough to cover the house rent or cost says Maxwell Drever. Additionally, today there is less supply of affordable workforce housing.
As a response to the less choices in affordable workforce housing where the workforce works. Several of the workers with less income have shifted to remote areas. And this has caused several issues as well. For instance, these workers have to experience increased commute times to their workplace. Which can also add to their cost of living. There can be other negative external conditions in the encompassing area where they live. Hence, Maxwell Drever identified that the supply of more affordable workforce housing is the need of the hour.
Understanding the concept of workforce housing
Today, the term “workforce housing” has gained prominence in the affordable housing community. But it is essential to know its exact meaning. Simply put, workforce housing indicates affordable housing for families. Who earn between 60% to 120% of the AMI (Area median income). Mostly, the workforce housing aims at the middle-income workforce. That comprises of people like retail clerks, police officers, health care workers, teachers, firefighters and the like.
Also, the families who always require workforce housing might not always qualify for the housing subsidies provided by the LIHTC (Low Income Housing Tax Credit) program or even the Housing Choice Vouchers program. These are the two prominent programs that help address the affordable housing category requirements.
The strategies to implement affordable workforce housing
The housing market and the world economy have recovered greatly since the Great Recession took place. Even though the recent pandemic hit the economy hard, there is still hope for people to access affordable housing units.
The recent increased demand for housing and the reduced supply of low-cost accommodation have increased the house cost. And it has gone out of reach for the low and middle-income households. Hence, several local governments are searching for ways and are looking at executing certain strategies to initiate workforce housing creation. Some of the strategies that can help in the implementation process include the following:
- Develop a dedicated trust fund for affordable housing
- Repurpose an underutilized retail space or vacant land
- Opt-in for inclusionary zoning
- Generate a community land trust
- Upgrade the codes for land development for encouraging the developments taking place in urbanized areas
- Enable the single-family homeowners to develop and rent the accessory dwelling units
Maxwell Drever has recognized that it is essential to urge the Workforce Housing development. To create a dialogue within their communities and raise awareness for the need of low-cost housing. At times, there are a few misconceptions concerning the affordable workforce housing. That needs to be eradicated so that the concerned group supports the initiative. Hence, it’s necessary to hold a discussion and update the concerned individuals. About what the affordable housing units can do for them, so that there is no confusion.