Is Workforce Housing Viable? David Engel


HUD Research Expert

Ep. 76 - David Engel shares his successes and challenges working in affordable housing for decades and the concern he still expresses for the industry. He has a unique perspective since he worked in research at HUD, not production. His thoughts on the impediments to affordable housing and what is needed for the future are important take-aways! Listen in to learn the importance of making workforce housing affordable to cater to workers who otherwise can't afford homes. You will also learn how zoning has over the years constricted housing supply leading to unaffordable houses in many areas.

Key Takeaways:

    • How shared housing can reduce housing cost for the low-income population
    • Why housing affordability should be prioritized in growth economies
    • How to innovate the housing sector and make housing sustainable and affordable

"Solving zoning issues, will not address all the issues of housing affordability, but it's an essential prerequisite." -David Engel

In this episode you'll discover:

David describes his contribution as having spent his career in the actual construction of houses [1:10]
How HUD has for years neglected the production of affordable housing leading to shortage [2:38]
How zoning constricts the supply of affordable housing in America [4:18]
The meaning of workforce housing and what can be done to give workers affordable housing [7:07]
The many regulatory impediments to affordable housing in many areas [8:44]
The lack of innovation in the housing sector focusing on sustainable and affordable housing [10:53]
Income issues and housing production issues in housing affordability [15:08]
How the private-public partnerships work in affordable housing [19:25]
The two projects that David considers his success stories [20:50]
How the neglect of zoning issues became David's biggest challenge in affordable housing [23:25]


David Engel has logged over 30 years of national leadership managing research, marketing and policy development on all aspects of affordable housing development, housing construction, disaster technologies, housing regulation, building codes, environmental research, land use, resource management and infrastructure development.

In 2008, he retired from HUD and is now an independent consultant and owner of Engel & Asoc providing private and nonprofit clients with policy and analytical support on issues of workforce housing, building regulation and energy conservation.  Past and present clients include the Urban Land Institute's Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing and the Owens Corning Corporation.


LLB - Rutgers University School of Law (1967)
B.A.  - Hunter College (1964)


Inducted into the Remodelers Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement in advancing the housing rehabilitation and remodeling industry.

Authored articles in numerous publications including Citiscape Journal, Land Development magazine, an Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation's Quarterly, Bright Ideas.

Staff and contributing author to the National Commission on Urban Problems, 1968; Housing in the 70's Policy Review, 1973; White House Domestic Policy Review on Solar Energy, 1976; and The National Commission on Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing, 1990.



HUD's First PATH Concept Home
HUD's Affordable Housing Roundtable
Latest Import Housing Components
Housing Barriers Remain Big Problem


Bob Moss
Jack Sullivan
Bruno Fulda
John McIlwain

YouTube Video

Leave a Comment to Join the Discussion!

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top