The Washington State Self Sufficiency Report has been released by the University of Washington. The report details how much families must make to meet essential family needs on a county-by-county basis. Additionally, it tracks how the cost of providing for these basic needs on a year over year basis. It will come as no surprise to those in Snohomish County that we have seen the second largest increase in the cost of living expenses in Washington State, second only to King County. At the same time the cost of living has increased dramatically, incomes have lagged, creating a growing challenge to Snohomish County and Washington State residents.
Read the full report here.
A recent study by Zillow estimated that if rent in Seattle were to rise by 5%, 258 people would be made homeless due to shrinking housing affordability. The full report can be found here.
While the report and its findings are only applicable to Seattle and other cities in the study, it is nevertheless illustrative of how the cost of housing and homelessness are closely associated issues.
At the behest of the Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, the Department of Commerce assembled the Housing Affordability Response Team (HART), with the of examining the housing supply, and ways to alleviate the difficulties encountered by Washingtonians trying to live affordably. The entire report can be found here.
The report’s executive summary gives the following 7 suggestions, expanded on in the body of the report:
1. Provide funding and support to local governments to plan for housing at every income
level, especially for lower-income levels.
2. Provide funding to local governments to assess land capacity through “buildable
3. Provide broad-based education to encourage communities to facilitate the
development of more affordable housing.
4. Seek responsible changes to development-related statutes and regulations to
facilitate housing development. Small changes to statutes such as the Project Review
Act, Subdivision Act, the State Building Code, impact fees, multifamily tax exemptions,
community revitalization financing, and prevailing wage determinations could add up
to make a difference.
5. Provide stable and dependable state funding for housing by providing predictable
funding to the Housing Trust Fund, making document-recording fees permanent, and
encouraging local adoption of local housing levies.
6. Encourage public agencies to consider underutilized publicly owned property as an
opportunity for affordable housing.
7. Continue this work into the future by finding opportunities to collaborate with
existing work groups and projects to carry these ideas forward.