Our role at Commerce is to strengthen communities – helping Washington become an even better place to live, work and play.
As the budgets roll out, Commerce is actively working with legislators to ensure they leave this session having invested in the necessary resources to address our affordable housing and homelessness crisis across the state.
In the summer of 2014, the largest wildfire in our state’s history devastated communities in Okanogan County. The city of Pateros was hit hard. Not only were hundreds of homes lost, but fire engulfed and severely damaged the city’s water tanks. Commerce has partnered with Pateros to address its severe water system needs and improve this rural city’s capacity to recover. Funding from Commerce includes a $2.7 million Community Development…
Ensuring that every person has a career path forward is a critical step toward building more resilient communities.
We enter 2017 with a good deal of uncertainty about our nation and the world, but Washington’s economy is strong. Our GDP in the first quarter of 2016 grew three times faster than the national rate, and we’ve outpaced the nation as a whole for four years running, growing 8.1% compared to 6.5% from 2012-15.
While the outlook for 2017 is promising on many fronts, housing affordability threatens our continued success. Ironically, the state’s economic strengths pose perhaps our toughest challenges: addressing the crisis in affordable housing.
Strengthening communities is our call of duty at the Department of Commerce. We are the only agency in state government that touches every aspect of community and economic development. Here are the highlights of the Governor’s proposed 2017-19 biennial budget that support our top priorities of affordable housing and homelessness, resilient communities and underserved communities:
Strong communities are those with modern water, sewer and communications infrastructure; reliable, renewable energy systems; and other facilities capable of serving not only the needs but the aspirations of future generations. Commerce works to expand opportunities in rural and underserved communities.
Resilience is also about helping communities plan and adapt for the growing impacts of climate change, both economic and environmental, such as increased wildfires and floods, air and water quality damage and public health challenges from carbon pollution.