Strengthening Communities by Building Resilient Communities

I believe that Gov. Inslee’s declaration – just weeks into taking office – that the state budget would no longer be balanced on the back of social services, is the single the most important step in helping Washingtonians who are experiencing homelessness.

As homelessness and housing affordability overtook job creation as the most pressing needs facing our communities, Commerce worked hard to address these challenges.

We moved new and existing resources into homelessness interventions that are 40% more efficient than past practices.  Washington became a national leader in experimenting with and scaling new approaches like Rapid Rehousing, and we are on track to implement statewide a single portal for tracking and assisting people who are experiencing homelessness.

Commerce also launched and is expanding the Office of Youth Homelessness.

To help increase the stock of subsidized affordable housing, our state Housing Trust Fund and local partners have built 6,891 new units since 2013.

We identified early on that limited market-rate housing supply was the root cause of increased homelessness and housing unaffordability.  We proactively engaged stakeholders, legislators and communities on growth management approaches to help solve the affordable housing crisis. Milestones include the recent publication of the Buildable Lands Guidelines, and development a Joint Military Land Use and Affordable Housing Planners Guide currently underway.

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