Some call it Attainable housing and others call it Workforce housing. What it is not is Affordable Housing. Each of these identities have their own definition. It is important for the community to understand the difference because if we are going to fix the "attainable housing" crisis in the area, we are going to need friendly neighbors.
Workforce Housing: Those who earn between 80-120% of the Area Median Income.
Affordable Housing: Those who earn less than 80% of the Area Median Income.
There is a dire need for both types of housing, but for today's article, we are addressing the workforce population. The largest groups in this category are teachers, cops, firefighters, emergency workers, county/city employees, etc. Our area's salaries for these people simply don't pay enough for them to independently afford a nice apartment in a Class-A complex or to buy a home within their means. That is unless they move way out to the boonies or areas known for high crime.
Allan Development Group has been recognized as the lead developer to come up with a solution, and has most recently been working with the Lee School District and other Public entities to draft a fiscally conservative, comprehensive plan to introduce as a way to mitigate workforce housing issues.
While a lot of this is confidential, we have a plan to make this work. The plan relies on public entities such as the school district, the city, the county, and Lee Memorial. The majority of the housing crisis affects their employees severely. Stay tuned for more on this subject as we are very passionate about it and feel we are starting to get somewhere with local government. Below are some facts so you can understand the crisis a bit better:
- Lee School District employs nearly 4,500 teachers. A 2016 School District Study concluded that they lose over 800 teachers per year directly due to inability to afford housing; the housing they can afford is too far from work, and; housing they can afford does not provide convenience for a good social environment.
- For every teacher lost, it costs taxpayers at least $32,000 to recruit, hire, and train their replacement. Total Taxpayer Cost Per Year largely due to unattainable housing is $25,600,000. It has cost taxpayers $128,000,000 over the last 5 years. Nobody is paying attention to this though.
- To a similar extreme, the other public entities are having the same problem the school district is experiencing.
- The workforce employees are currently paying an average of 40% of their income to housing costs. By HUD standards, these workers are considered "severely rent burdened".
- See News-Press article related to "Teacher Housing" proposal by Allan Development Group HERE.
- Will salaries for the workforce go up soon? No
- Will rents be coming down soon? No and part of the reason is that our area has an occupancy rate of over 96%, good for Top 3 in the country.