Building a Housing Strategy

While the comprehensive plan sets a vision and goals for housing in a community, it can be difficult to translate this vision into code. Further, housing affordability is a complex challenge requiring a broad focus. To this end, jurisdictions should consider developing dedicated housing strategies. Not only can these strategies be used to identify specific code changes to explore, they can define practical measures for evaluating their performance against housing goals.

In general, a comprehensive housing strategy has cohesive goals and objectives aimed toward developing a housing stock that is affordable to and appropriate for all economic segments of the population. As a result, the strategy will address housing quantity, quality, type, and affordability. Cities may have additional specific concerns, such as addressing the needs of specific populations. HousingPolicy.org has a thorough guide to developing a comprehensive housing strategy, from goal setting and planning to evaluation. (Also linked below)

A local example of a comprehensive effort to approach housing affordability can be found in Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) effort. Under this effort, the City brought together a group of 28 stakeholders, from renters to developers, to forge a bargain to propose a comprehensive suite of strategies to tackle Seattle’s affordability crisis. That suite of strategies can be read in their report, here.

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