Renters, Test Your Knowledge

from Connections, Summer 2023 newsletter

In the Berkshires, nearly 1 out of 2 renters and 1 out of 3 homeowners cannot afford their current housing costs leaving them at risk of eviction or foreclosure. Many households forego other basic needs to stay housed.

What is Affordable Housing?
Housing is considered “affordable” when associated costs are 30% or less of a household’s income. “Affordable Housing” is usually deed-restricted and reserved for income-eligible households. It is regulated and monitored to ensure compliance.

How is Eligibility Determined?
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) determines the area median income (AMI). This data is used to assess who is eligible for deed-restricted housing. Typically, households must earn 80% AMI or less. In most towns in the southern Berkshires, the 80% AMI for one person is $55,800; a 4-person household is $79,700.

What is Workforce Housing?
Workforce Housing is defined as housing affordable to households earning between 80% and 120% of AMI. It targets middle-income workers, including police officers, firefighters, teachers, and healthcare workers.

What is Section 8?
Section 8 is a federally-funded program that awards housing vouchers to very low-income families, the elderly, and people with disabilities to subsidize monthly housing costs. Tenants receiving a voucher generally pay 30-40% of their income towards housing, and a housing authority or other subsidizing agency covers the balance.

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