What’s Affordable “Workforce Housing” for the District of Columbia?

One of Mayor Vincent Gray’s stated priorities is to increase the supply of workforce housing, a component along the continuum of affordable housing needs. This is a laudable goal — seeking to make Washington, D.C. a place where residents can afford to live close to where they work. However, if D.C. officials use regional incomes to define “workforce housing,” it could result in policies that would fail to reach most of D.C.’s low- and moderate-income working households who have a difficult time finding an affordable place to live in D.C.’s expensive housing market. Given the wide gap between regional and D.C. incomes, targeting assistance to the D.C. workforce earning below 80 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), or $84, 900 for a family of four, makes sense because it better matches the typical D.C. family’s income and reflects the limited availability of housing for households at this income level.


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