The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development considers families who are paying more than 30 percent of their household incomes as "cost-burdened." 
Localities often choose a percentage of AMI for which housing costs must be affordable in order for dwellings to qualify as "affordable housing." To encourage more housing which is affordable to those making less than the AMI (such as 60% or 80%) localities may require a certain percentage of dwellings in new developments to be affordable or offer incentives for developers to include more affordable units. Additionally, localities may invest in rehabilitation or construction of affordable housing in order to maintain affordable housing stock.
Efforts to increase affordable housing in Charlottesville
The city adopted a housing strategy in 1999 that had several goals including balancing housing types, encouraging home-ownership, encouraging a regional approach to low-income housing, preserving neighborhoods and expanding housing opportunities for middle-class housing. A Housing Policy Task Force was created and appointed in March 2003. City Council was given a briefing on affordable housing strategy on April 21, 2003. 
In November of 2008, the City of Charlottesville defined its affordable housing threshold as any unit where the occupant is below 80% of the AMI and spends no more than 30% of their income on housing costs.
The City has a Housing Advisory Committee that advises City Council on affordable housing policy.
In 2016, the real estate consultant RCLCO was paid $62,000 from the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund (CAHF) to conduct a housing study for Charlottesville and Albemarle County.  City Council was briefed on the study on February 1, 2016.  The Housing Advisory Committee went through the RCLCO report and made several recommendations, some of which have been implemented.
In the spring of 2017, Council doubled the amount that would go into the CAHF. The Planning Commission discussed the HAC's recommendations in late March. 
Agencies, entities and groups that deal with affordable housing
- Joint Task Force on Affordable Housing - convened by UVA, Charlottesville and Albemarle County; reported its results in January 2009
- Piedmont Housing Alliance
- Thomas Jefferson Community Land Trust 
- RCLCO - Comprehensive Housing Analysis and Policy Recommendations: Affordable and Workforce Housing
- January 8, 2018 letter from Charlottesville Area Developers Round Table on affordable housing
- Web. Affordable Housing, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C., retrieved December 27, 2016.
- Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, April 21, 2003.
- Web. Affordable housing; permitting certain densities in plan in City of Charlottesville. (HB883), Delegate David Toscano, General Assembly Legislation, Richmond Sunlight, retrieved February 20, 2018.
- Web. The City of Charlottesville 2025 Goals for Affordable Housing Report, Melissa Celii, Grants Coordinator, Neighborhood Development Services, Staff Report, City of Charlottesville, February 1, 2010, retrieved December 27, 2016.
- Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, March 5, 2012.
- Web. City, county planning commissions focus on affordable housing, Josh Mandell, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 25, 2017, retrieved December 26, 2017.
- Web. City Council briefed on housing options report, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, February 3, 2016, retrieved December 29, 2016.
- Web. City Planning Commission weighs in on affordable housing recommendations, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, March 28, 2017, retrieved December 28, 2017.
- Web. Albemarle officials briefed on affordable housing issues, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, September 20, 2016, retrieved January 11, 2017.
- Web. Single parent now homeowner thanks to land trust, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, February 6, 2017, retrieved December 26, 2017.