Redefining “Workforce Housing”

How do we work toward providing dignified housing to everyone, regardless of their income? A conversation with Shelterforce's Miriam Axel-Lute and the Housing Innovation Collaborative.

According to Urban Land Institute, “workforce housing” is defined as housing for people making 60 to 120 percent of area median income—meant to be for teachers, first responders, nurses. It is being specifically contrasted to “standard” affordable housing. However, the connotation of “workforce housing” can be considered insulting, as the low-wage workforce (earning less than 60 percent of the area’s median incomes) does not qualify for workforce housing but is still a critical part the workforce making valuable contributions to society.

How do we define these various classes of housing? How do we work toward providing dignified housing to everyone, regardless of their income? The Housing Innovation Collaborative hosts a conversation with Shelterforce’s Miriam Axel-Lute on her perspectives.

Shelterforce is the only independent, non-academic publication covering the worlds of community development, affordable housing, and neighborhood stabilization.


  1. Of course “workforce” implies this housing is not for impoverished retirees, including those who used to be part of the low-wage workforce or gig “employees”, contractors and the like.
    More slice-and-dice.
    What people need is housing affordable to them no matter what their income is nor where it comes from; full stop.
    Thanks for continuing to advocate and for all the great universe of housing information available on Shelterforce!

  2. Worthwhile observations. I’ve been appealing to St. Petersburg officials of the City to allow me to give a presentation on how we can SOLVE [yes solve] the affordable workforce housing crisis [needs of 1,000 added affordable houses for the next 10 years] of the City. But no response after 3 tries. Very interesting. Could it be FEAR of the unknown? If you’re interested I can send you my proposal. It can be applicable anywhere. Carl Hebinck


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.