Nearly 400,000 Washington households pay over half their income on housing
New housing study from Affordable Housing Advisory Board is most comprehensive in a decade
Over 390,000 Washington households pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing expenses, Faith Li Pettis, chair of the Affordable Housing Advisory Board (AHAB), told the Legislature today.
“Since 2000, incomes in the state have declined by 2.4 percent but median rents have increased 7.8 percent in real dollars,” Pettis said. “Over the next five years, Washington’s population will grow, but most of that growth will be among low-income households.”
Pettis and Tedd Kelleher, a Department of Commerce managing director of housing programs, briefed the House Community Development and Tribal Affairs Committee on findings from the 2015 Washington State Housing Needs Assessment, the first comprehensive, statewide look at housing needs in more than a decade. The data will help the state, cities and counties, and private and nonprofit entities make the most effective policy and funding decisions to meet the state’s affordable housing needs.
Affordable housing covers a wide spectrum of housing needs, from emergency shelter and temporary housing for the lowest-income persons, to apartments and houses for individuals and families. Affordability varies by region, and the housing needs in large cities are far different from the needs in smaller, rural communities.
“We always knew that each community has a different set of housing challenges,” Pettis said. “Now we’ve quantified those housing needs county-by-county, region-by-region, so solutions can be more targeted and tailored to community needs.”