With the increasing mismatch between household income growth and housing affordability, the dream of homeownership has challenged many working families. While the overall homeownership rate recently reached a record high of 69%, the ownership rate among low-to-moderate income families equaled 56%. In fact, fewer working families own homes now than did 25 years ago, a situation that is likely to worsen as interest rates rise from historic lows.
The workforce housing shortage affects communities’ overall economic and social health:
- Local employers are unable to attract and retain talented candidates
- Shortage of teachers hurts area school systems
- Long work commutes lead to traffic congestion, lower worker productivity, and high turnover rates in essential jobs (police, emergency medical, teachers, firemen)
- Families are separated as children cannot afford to live near parents
Successful workforce housing programs are a result of public/private partnerships that provide innovative and situation-specific solutions. Vantage Point Economic and Transportation Development Strategies, LLC professionals have helped communities implement many of the best practices being used today, including:
- Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
- Expedited permit review and fee waivers
- Statute creation to include density bonus in exchange for workforce housing
- Community outreach to inform local residents on impact of workforce housing shortage
- Accessing federal, state, and private funding sources (e.g. HOPE VI grants, low income housing tax credits, CDBG grants)
- Manipulation of land cost through long-term leases or land donation
- Embedding workforce housing into market rate and/or mixed-use developments
The workforce housing shortage is a difficult problem that will continue to impact communities nationwide. While there are no simple or easy solutions, Vantage Point Economic and Transportation Development Strategies, LLC professionals have the expertise and demonstrated experience to advise policy makers on all of the proactive tools available to them.