Workforce housing has become a scarce commodity. It serves teachers, firefighters, and bus drivers, among others who earn wages that make it challenging to secure quality shelter in urban areas at reasonable prices. Even if they could, workforce housing is not eligible for subsidized programs. If a person or family would qualify for subsidized properties, these would almost certainly be substandard in some regards. The property itself will likely need remediation – the locations are usually in less desirable areas, the standard of upkeep is probably poor, and often there are neighborhood crime issues.
The concept of affordable housing varies from country to country, but the most commonly applied definition is from the U.S.’s Housing and Urban Development Department. In the U.S., affordable housing stands for accommodation for which a household spends no more than 30 percent of their yearly earnings. But the middle-income work class is struggling and feels compelled to pay higher prices to secure a safe roof over their heads. Maxwell Drever says these people are the backbone of any societies or communities they serve. Working on plausible affordable workforce housing models is crucial to fulfilling their basic housing needs. Specific steps can help address this crisis.
Hotel and motel repurposing
Rundown or closed properties like these are nothing but a burden on the municipalities. They waste a critical asset like space, but they also affect the neighborhood’s economic vitality by creating a dull impression. Since these structures share a close affinity with residential housing units, it becomes easy to repurpose them into something entirely different. Hence, encouraging hotel owners and investors toward this aspect can be fruitful. These people with resources can help shorten the growing demand and supply gap in this area, redeeming families of the woes of not having a proper place to shelter due to the skyrocketing housing prices.
Creating housing for people can be a good thing to do. It provides people with homes in which they can live and can also generate tax revenues and jobs for the local economy, adds Maxwell Drever. Local governments and other grassroots level institutions need not come out of pocket to pay for these projects; they should instead support them by giving them adequate funds. Introducing subsidies or tax credit programs can be some of the concrete steps. Some states have proposed the idea of offering tax benefits for medium-income housing development projects. Then, governments are also thinking about subsidies for the middle-income workforce population. But developers also need to update their knowledge about funding and investment benefits to make the most of this situation.
It is necessary to do that because they have to keep their development costs low to keep rental prices affordable for the seekers.
The road to recovery can be long, but this change has already taken over many cities. The industry heavyweights have created enough buzz in the affordable workforce housing market because of their innovative and path-breaking solutions. In the coming years, the situation can only improve with proper focus and execution of the concepts.