How does the law define affordable housing? What’s the difference between low and moderate income housing?

Very often, affordable housing can be described as “workforce housing,” meaning housing for individuals with earned income that is insufficient to secure quality housing in reasonable proximity to his/her workplace. The law requires that half of all affordable housing units constructed be for moderate income households, or households earning between 50-80% of median household income in the region. The other half of affordable units constructed are split between low income households (defined as those which earn 50% or less of median household income in the region), and very low income households (defined as those which earn 30% or less of median household income in the region).

The table below provides an example of those income thresholds in Westfield. Earned Income limits for Affordable Housing:

# of members
in the Household
Very LowLowModerate
1$19,029$31,715$50,744
2$21,748$36,246$57,994
3$24,466$40,777$65,243
4$27,18$45,308$72,492


Even in luxury rental buildings like 333 Central Avenue, Westfield is meeting portions of its affordable housing obligations. In 333 Central, there are 9 units designated as low and moderate income housing, meaning that 9 units in that building are available at lower rental rates for individuals and families who meet the income requirements set out above. In fact, all affordable housing constructed in Westfield over the past 20 years has been in buildings that are a mixture of market rate and low and moderate income units.

Show All Answers

1. Why does Westfield need to provide an opportunity for low and moderate income housing?
2. What if Westfield decided not to provide an opportunity for low and moderate income housing?
3. How does the law define affordable housing? What’s the difference between low and moderate income housing?
4. What is the Fair Share Housing Center and why is there a settlement agreement with it?
5. Why even settle? Why not litigate?
6. What does the Settlement Agreement call for?
7. What is an overlay zone?
8. Where are the “overlay zones?”
9. The Settlement Agreement says that the Town has a rehabilitation share of 9 units, a prior round obligation of 139 units, and a prospective need obligation of 1090 units. That seems like a lot! What d
10. Are there plans already in place to develop these areas in the overlay zones?
11. What are these developments going to look like, and will Westfield become urbanized?
12. What impact will these new residential developments have on traffic and schools?
13. What are the next steps?