Workforce housing, also known as middle-income housing, is comprised of apartments with average-income rents that hover modestly above the rents required to qualify for low-income subsidies. Some describe it as multi-family housing that’s affordable – compared to traditional “affordable housing” in which rents are kept low thanks to a significant level of public subsidy.
Individuals and families who need workforce housing generally earn between 60 and 120 percent of the Area Media Income (AMI) – they are well employed, usually in urban metropolitan areas but cannot afford the average rent in the cities where they work.
For example, the 2016 AMI for a single individual in Greater Boston is $68,700. For a family of four, it’s $98,100.
A family of four that earns 80% of AMI ($78,840) can technically afford a monthly rent of about $1,900, but they cannot afford the $2,800/month average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in and around Boston. Click here to see more studies that have been conducted around the country
With the gap between average rents and median incomes continuing to widen in every major metropolitan market in the United States, there is a serious shortage of apartments at rents within the financial grasp of the middle-income wage earners being squeezed out of the market.