What Is Workforce Housing?

According to some research, 40 million Americans say that they live in a house that they can’t afford.

That’s where workforce housing comes in. This is a great way to make housing affordable, but it’s different than affordable housing.

Are you interested in learning more factors about workforce housing? Keep reading to discover more!


What Is Workforce Housing?

Workforce housing is housing that’s made affordable to a household that earns between 60 to 120% of the median income for the area. That’s how the Urban Land Institute defines workforce housing.

This type of housing is designed for middle-income workers who have professions like health care workers, retail clerks, police officers, firefighters, teachers, and more. However, you will still have to qualify for this type of housing program. You’ll need to qualify through Low-Income Housing Tax Credit or the Housing Choice Vouchers.

If you want to learn more about housing based on your job, you should check out teamhousing.com.


One of the interesting workforce housing facts is that the program started in early Colorado in 1974. It started in response to people not being able to buy homes. That was due to the cost of homes rising but not wages rising.

Many people from Hollywood and New York were purchasing these homes, and the locals couldn’t afford their housing anymore. Because of this, they created a union for a local worker to be able to purchase in the housing market while also keeping a local wage and affordability.

One way they created affordable homes was through deed restrictions. That meant in order to buy a home, you had to prove that you were part of the community so that homes could be priced for local workers who could afford it.

There was a trial and error period where people had to change the rules in certain ways, but overall, the project was a success. From there, governments have tried to focus on different ways to offer housing that is affordable to many different families.

How Is This Different From Affordable Housing?

This is different from affordable housing because it is a program that is targeted at people who earn too much to qualify for affordable housing. But they earn too little to afford normal housing.

This is one of the largest affordable rental programs, and it targets families who make 50% of the average income in a certain area. However, with workforce housing, you can make between 80 to 120% of the average monthly income to qualify.

Some workforce housing programs are different because they are also aimed at certain professions and tied to the average income percentage. To apply for this type of housing, they’ll need to prove that they have a work history in one of those approved professions.

How to Implement It

Many governments are trying to find ways to build new houses to drive the cost down. Some strategies to do this are to create a trust fund that is dedicated just towards housing.

They could also look at vacant land or retail space that has been abandoned. That might be prime real estate for building some affordable housing.

You could also try creating a community land trust or adopt an inclusionary zoning practice. This way you’ll have space that is always dedicated to creating workforce housing.

You may want to check the land development codes as well. They might need to be updated. Once updated, it could help to encourage some development in areas that are already pretty urbanized.

In some places, single-family homeowners might not be able to rent out accessory units. You might want to consider changing those laws to let people offer more housing for other people, which could help to drive the cost down.

Educate People

The most important step to take might be starting a conversation about it n the first place. Raise awareness for the issue and start to gather support. If you have enough support, it might be possible to actually make a change.

Make sure that people know the difference between affordable housing and workforce housing. This way, people are more educated and can actually ask for what they want and need.

As more people move cities and discover how expensive homes are becoming, workforce housing has become more popular. However, it’s starting to dwindle as well.

Local governments need to understand just how important it is and how it fits into the puzzle of affordable housing. They also need to learn about strategies to help serve the middle-income families of their community.


When you have workforce housing in the community, you’ll allow people who are police, first responders, medical personnel, and teachers to actually be able to afford to live in the community.

Having these people in the community helps to strengthen it, and then you won’t have shortages trying to fill those positions. It’s also a great way to retain people without having to dramatically increase wages to meet the cost of homes in the area.

It will also help to decrease traffic and make a shorter commute time for other workers if police and first responders are readily there and able to help. It can also help to increase community involvement as well.

Discover More About Workforce Housing

These are only a few different facts about workforce housing, but there are many more factors to consider.

We know that string to make housing affordable or trying to afford housing can be stressful, but we’re here to help you out.

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