Thinking creatively about workforce housing, attainable housing, and transitional housing in communities can satisfy more than commercial goals.

It’s important for real estate professionals to stay on top of the latest trends in the industry. But discerning what has staying power from a flash-in-the-pan fad can be a tough task. Too often the trends that meet the structural and economic needs of a developer may not satisfy the human element a customer desires. With creativity, we can meet both commercial and social needs.

At a recent national conference of high-yield investors, more than half the sessions were focused on housing and real estate. The major themes discussed were supply of workforce housing, attainable housing, and transitional housing in communities with desperate need. These are not localized situations; they are global.

A recent study from Fortune magazine showed the average annual commute cost workers $2,000 more in 2023 than it did in 2019. In fact, a new National Low Income Housing Coalition study found “the shortage of affordable housing costs the American economy about $2 trillion a year in lower wages and productivity. Without affordable housing, families have constrained opportunities to increase earnings, causing slower GDP growth.”

Housing costs and policies can also shape where people choose to live, work, and study as well as their ability to move or change jobs. The increased cost affects families of lower income at a much higher proportional rate.

How do we solve this?

Dedicated Workforce Housing

One solution could be an expansion of dedicated workforce housing, which is a proven community builder. Dedicated villages for teachers, emergency responders, and medical personnel, for example, allows vital community members a chance to live in the same community they serve.

The Indianapolis-based nonprofit Near East Area Renewal recently created Educators’ Village, which includes 22 new and restored historic homes in conjunction with the city’s school system. Having this extremely necessary population of workers living right in the community in which they work is instrumental to building a community. Building communities from within and finding attainable solutions for this workforce housing dilemma is a theme worth continued attention.

Community Members in Transition

Two additional segments to consider when it comes to meeting human needs: communities and individuals in transition. Transition can be counted in days, weeks, months, and years.

What the community member is transitioning from or to varies greatly. Life changes due to military service, natural disaster, incarceration, addiction, foster care, family abuse, and separation all create the need for solutions that fit several basic human needs. All of these situations create unique housing challenges. The way these situations are met can be the springboard for future success—or the final straw in someone’s life.

The Kentucky-based nonprofit Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. is focused on this precise issue. By bringing together short-term safe housing, educational opportunities, employment options, and community resources, the nonprofit hopes to break the poverty cycle that often occurs during these periods of transition.


Through a partnership with Camp G.R.A.V.E.S, ekō solutions LLC provided upcycled shipping container-based homes to support their mission. Through this partnership, a variety of individuals and families, ranging from those in need of temporary bridge housing due to natural disaster to children aging out of the foster care system now have a place to call home. The need for rapidly deployed and pre-built homes is constant. Giving their residents a new home is priceless.

Although simultaneously solving the commercial and social aspects of housing may seem challenging it can be accomplished. Real estate professionals would do well to think creatively about how we can better solve housing needs as well as minimize the hurdles of completing new homes.

  • Kirk Taylor

    Kirk P. Taylor, CPA, is an experienced financial leader in cofounding business, establishing controls and procedures and bringing companies public. He is the Cofounder and President of Land Betterment Corp, an Indiana Benefit Corporation, focused on environmental solutions fostering a positive impact through upcycling former coal mining sites to create sustainable community development and job creation. Additionally, Mr. Taylor has been the Chief Financial Officer of American Resources Corp. (Nasdaq: AREC) a next generation, socially responsible, supplier of raw materials to the new infrastructure and electrification market. As CFO since 2015, Kirk has led the public process and the integrations of 8 different acquisitions. He is also the President and CFO for American Acquisition Opportunity, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAO), a blank check company focused on sustainable resources. Kirk earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Finance and Accounting from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Bloomington and Master of Business Administrative from the University of Saint Francis.

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