Across Washington, there is a new way to help people locate affordable rental housing. HousingSearchNW.org, an online, no cost, service for renters and landlords, is expanding service statewide.
A group of King County organizations (Rental Housing Association of Washington, Tenants Union, United Way of King County, City of Seattle, King County, Seattle Housing Authority, and King County Housing Authority) partnered to improve access for affordable rental housing. Their work created the free, online, housing locater services.
HousingSearchNW allows landlords to post and renters to find available and affordable rental housing. The website provides helpful tools, such as a renter’s checklist and an affordability calculator. Listings can include pictures, maps and information about community amenities such as parks, schools, and hospitals. The service also has a call center available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., offering assistance in English and Spanish (877-428-8844).
“HousingSearchNW was such a success in King County that we wanted to expand it statewide,” Commerce Deputy Director Dan McConnon said. “I’m pleased that we could help make a local tool available for everyone in our state to find and offer affordable housing in Washington.”
“I love this tool because it will help mom-and-pop apartment owners connect with people who are looking for a place to live” said Bill Hinkle, the executive director of the Rental Housing Association of Washington.
Beginning in early 2012, The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and Department of Commerce were both researching housing locator services. DSHS was interested in expanding statewide options for available and affordable housing. The housing locator will be used by DSHS to track real-time availability of rental options for clients. For the Department of Commerce, the locator service fulfills the requirements set by House Bill 2048
, which directs local governments to maintain and update a list of interested landlords. This system will provide that service, and helps connect landlords with tenants.
Both agencies agree HousingSearchNW will meet the state’s need for an affordable housing listing service providing data on affordability and location. As a statewide resource, the online locator, still in its early stages, is already helping connect renters with apartments in most counties of the state. DSHS and Commerce anticipate as awareness of the service is raised with landlords and tenants there will be an increase in successful statewide housing matches.
“It’s clear that this is a win-win for everyone. The state made a local success available for everyone, and taxpayers avoided the cost of new data systems.” said Hinkle.