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Workforce housing is designed for people who make up to 120% of area median income – $97,320 for a family of four*. Families who fall into this income category have found it difficult to purchase a home that is adequate for their needs.
* Published by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development for New Castle County, March 6, 2015.
When the workforce housing legislation was drafted, it was widely disseminated to housing providers, developers, the civic community and state agencies for input. Public meetings were also held to solicit feedback. As with any other amendment to the Unified Development Code, the legislation was on the agendas for the Planning Board public hearing and later for New Castle County Council.
The recent tightening of lending standards, foreclosures, and rising interest rates are having a significant impact on housing affordability. Also, rising construction costs are prohibitive and limit a developer’s ability to meet the need for affordable housing. As a result, fewer moderately priced homes are available to accommodate our county’s working class families. Housing plays an important role in economic advancement and growth of the middle class.
Working households represent a vital part of the economy, providing essential services that most of us depend on every day – in the classroom, ensuring public safety, in food service, medical offices, etc. The wages associated with these professions make it difficult to live in the communities which they serve. The Workforce Housing ordinance was designed to encourage developers to provide a range of housing opportunities rather than continuing to build housing beyond the means of most New Castle County families.