Just so it doesn’t get buried and I have multiple posts to reference when opponents to any given project — including some City Council members — talk about workforce housing in lieu of whatever housing is under consideration, let’s talk about what this workforce housing definition means in a practical sense.
After all, as a commenter noted, we are living in an alternative fact based reality so…
Just to recap, presently Alameda has inclusionary housing requirements of all new development over a certain number. That means that the developer has to provide a certain number of units to be deed restricted affordable housing. Including for very low (50% of AMI), low (80% of AMI), and moderate (120% of AMI) income folks.
Area Median Income for folks that may not know is:
The area median income (AMI) is the household income for the median — or middle — household in a region.
As a quick refresher, if you were to line up each household in the area from the poorest to the wealthiest, the household in the middle would be the median household.
Here are the numbers:
Because of how bad the housing market is, even folks that are considered “moderate” income, that is 120% of AMI, are eligible for deed restricted housing if it is available. According to staff’s consultants because of how terrible the housing market is even families bringing in more than six figures (120% – 180% of AMI) are a specialized category in need of distinction beyond just being market rate housing.
Essentially what people are arguing for, when they say we need workforce housing over deed restricted or market rate housing, is that we need to build housing for families that make nearly two times AMI. We definitely need to build housing for families at all income levels, but in any other reality housing for folks making 120% – 180% of AMI which is six figures for a family of four (as well as a family of three) should be market rate housing. It is interesting to hear people who talk about the need for workforce housing say that we don’t need “luxury housing” as though 120-180% of AMI is poverty levels of income.
We’ll never solve the affordability problem if we concentrate on one housing type over the other, we just need to build more housing.