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As homes become more unaffordable, state and local governments are creating programs to increase the amount of middle-income housing.
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With the growing need for housing to support middle-income earners, state and local governments are implementing policies and programs to address these needs. Recently published research from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University explores the impacts of these programs. Michigan's Missing Middle Housing Program, for instance, provides grants to developers for affordable housing, and Philadelphia's Workforce Housing Credit Enhancement offers partial loan guarantees for middle-income housing construction. While the study examines the benefits and drawbacks of just 11 programs, middle-income housing is growing in popularity across the U.S. due to ongoing affordability challenges.

Several broad commonalities unite these programs. Nearly all use a percent of AMI threshold to determine eligibility, rather than employment status, occupation, or some other criteria, even when they are specifically billed as “workforce housing” programs. While some programs fund rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, or acquisition and conversion, they largely emphasize new construction. For example, the Massachusetts Workforce Housing Initiative funds the construction or adaptive reuse of rental housing affordable to those earning 60-120 percent of AMI, with a preference for new construction projects; the Colorado Middle-Income Housing Authority aims to subsidize the creation of 3,500 units affordable to middle-income renter households, including at least 2,800 units that must be newly built.

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