This article is designed to educate planners, real estate professionals, developers, and lenders, as well as organizations engaged in the housing industry. Workforce housing provides housing options for the essential workforce such as teachers, nurses, police officers, and service industry workers.
- Location Proximity and Accessibility
One of the most critical aspects of workforce housing is its proximity to job centers and essential amenities. By strategically locating workforce housing developments close to employment hubs and public transportation, workers can reduce commuting time and expenses.
- Income-Targeted Housing Programs
Implementing income-targeted housing programs is crucial to the success of our local economy. These programs aim to ensure that housing options are affordable for individuals and families who earn 80-120% of the Area’s Medium Income (AMI). The AMI is defined as the midpoint of a specific area’s income distribution and is calculated on an annual basis by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- Public Private Partnerships
The success of workforce housing projects often anticipates strong collaborations between the public and private sectors. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) share their expertise, resources, and funding compulsory to create sustainable workforce housing developments. The state government provides incentives, tax breaks, or land grants to private developers to include workforce housing units in their projects.
- Long-Term Affordability and Sustainability
Implementing mechanisms such as inclusionary zoning, community land trusts, or deed restrictions helps maintain housing affordability and prevents displacement even as property values continue to increase. Additionally, incorporating green building practices and energy-efficient designs reduces utility costs; benefitting both the residents and the environment.
- Supportive Services and Community Engagement
Housing should not be limited to providing a roof over residents’ heads. It should be offered in concert with educational programs, affordable child care, healthcare services, financial services, and rec/community centers. Involving the community in the planning and decision-making processes ensures that workforce housing programs best align with the specific needs and values of the local population.
By adopting these best practices, organizations focused on addressing homelessness, displacement, and the lack of affordable housing can ensure that our communities’ housing needs are met in a meaningful and significant way.