OLYMPIA, WA – Decades of underbuilding homes at all income levels has created a supply and demand imbalance playing out today in the affordable housing and homelessness crisis in communities across Washington state. One study suggests the shortage is more than 225,000 units.
To help communities address this growing challenge, the Washington State Department of Commerce recently announced a second round of grants totaling $1.7 million to develop housing action plans (HAPs) or implement adopted HAP strategies to meet their housing needs.
According to officials, the funding will support housing strategies to increase urban residential building capacity and streamline development regulation in 28 communities across Washington state – which includes a $100,000 Housing Action Plan Implementation (HAPI) grant for Tacoma.
“This funding puts tools in the hands of community leaders to take steps to address housing capacity at the local level,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “Planning for adequate affordable housing at all income levels strengthens communities and supports vibrant, equitable economies that allow more people to live and work where they want.”
In 2019, the Washington State Legislature created this grant program to help address the statewide housing affordability crisis and encourage local communities to prioritize creation of affordable, inclusive neighborhoods. Amendments to the Growth Management Act (GMA) housing goal in 2021 now require communities to plan for and accommodate housing affordable to all economic segments, promote a variety of residential densities and housing types, and encourage preservation of existing housing stock. HAPI grants can help communities update their housing plans and take action to build more housing that meets the needs of all residents, including those who work in communities but can’t afford to live there.