What is Affordable and Attainable Housing?

Defining housing affordability 

Housing programs utilize housing affordability in terms of percentage of income. The federal government typically defines housing affordability as keeping housing costs (mortgage, rent, mortgage or rental insurance, utilities, etc.) at less than 30% of a household's gross monthly income. Housing affordability is something every individual or family needs regardless of income as 30% allows flexibility for households to manage other expenses (e.g. childcare, health care, transportation, food costs, etc.). A cost-burdened household is one whose housing costs is MORE than 30% of income. Households that spend more than 50% of their income in housing costs are considered to be extremely cost-burdened and puts households at high risk of houselessness - and restricts the extent to which households can contribute to the local economy.   

The term "Affordable Housing" is often used to specifically describe housing that has some type of income restriction or public support or subsidy, such as Low-Income Tax Credits (LIHTC) or Housing Choice Vouchers, and other funding sources utilizing public dollars. Many households who qualify for affordable housing programs are often employed in low-income jobs including food service, healthcare assistants, daycare providers, administrative staff, etc., or may disabled, elderly, or on fixed incomes.

 "Attainable" or "Workforce" Housing are also common terms for moderate-income households. Households who fall within the Attainable or Workforce category typically earn too much to qualify for subsidized housing but may be unable to afford most quality market-rate housing or the general housing costs that are generated by the real estate market. Many such households include those employed in essential sectors that have stagnant wages like teachers, police officers, hospital support staff, delivery workers, etc. Due to the increased housing costs, employees in these professions may have a difficult time finding adequate local housing. 

Area median Income (AMI) - often referred to as simply AMI - is a key metric in affordable housing. Area median income is defined as the midpoint of a specific area's income distribution and is calculated through the Department of Housing and Urban Development or through the State of Colorado and is based on household size and household income. AMI is used for assessing affordable housing eligibility. 

FINAL mesa county AMI chart 2023

What are the City of Grand Junction's Affordable and Attainable Housing Definitions?

On August 2, 2023, the City Council adopted Resolution 65-23 which amended the City of Grand Junctions Housing Goal and the definitions for Affordable and Attainable Housing. 

  • Affordable Housing is defined as units that have a contractual requirement for an income restriction for affordability (housing costs are less than 30%) for thirty or more years. 
    • Rental Units - units that are affordable to households at 60% AMI or below
    • For-Sale/Homeownership - units affordable to households at 100% AMI or below
  • Attainable/Workforce Housing 
    • Rental Units - units that are affordable to households at 80% AMI to 100% AMI
    • For-Sale/Homeownership - units affordable to households at 100% to 140% AMI