Opinion: “The Missing Middle” Workforce Housing

Housing in Irvine needs to be affordable for all people who wish to live in Irvine and for all members of Irvine’s workforce who wish to live and work in Irvine. Below is a chart of the income categories from 2013-2021 final draft of the Housing Element.

Irvine has put a lot of time, effort and money into building affordable housing and is planning for the construction of many more affordable housing units in multiple income categories. However, California state, county and city government leaders have recognized a serious shortage of housing for households with incomes between 80% and 120% of the average median income (AMI) ranging from approximately $77,000 to $105,000, and thus do not qualify for housing in the any of the categories below “moderate” affordability.

The Irvine City Council will be discussing the issue of creating and funding workforce housing during the August 10, 2021 City Council meeting (agenda item 6.3).

One such funding source is the California State Community Development Authority’s Workforce Housing Program whereby tax exempt governmental purpose bonds are issued to acquire new or existing market rate apartment buildings which are converted to income and rent-restricted units for these moderate/middle class households.

No matter the policies, procedures and funding programs used for creating affordable and workforce housing in all income categories, all rents and re-sale prices should be subject to restrictions to guarantee that the housing units remain affordable in perpetuity in their assigned income category.

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