Report: Lack of affordable housing options reaches critical levels in communities throughout Washington state

Affordable Housing Advisory Board releases 2023-2028 Housing Advisory Plan: Affordable Housing Needs in Washington 

Olympia, Washington – The lack of affordable housing options has reached critical levels in communities throughout Washington, according to the recently released Affordable Housing Advisory Board (AHAB) Five-Year Housing Advisory Plan. The AHAB report highlights the need for action, detailing that the state must add over a million new homes within the next 20 years to meet current need and accommodate population growth. This widely quoted estimate of housing needs was reported last year.

The Housing Advisory Plan emphasizes that nearly half of the new homes required in the coming decades must be affordable to households earning less than 50% of area median family income. This shortage of affordable housing contributes to homelessness, housing instability, and increasing costs for low- and moderate-income families. The Housing Advisory Plan provides a path for understanding the affordable housing crisis and details recommendations for removing barriers to building more affordable homes.

“Washington is among many states that are not producing an adequate and affordable supply of housing for our growing population,” said Paul Trautman, Affordable Housing Advisory Board Chair. “The housing challenges highlighted in this report will take local, state, and federal action to build the more than one million housing units needed across Washington.”

“This report describes the housing challenges resulting from investments in affordable housing not keeping pace with Washington’s dynamic growth,” said Tedd Kelleher, Washington State Department of Commerce Housing Policy Director. “Implementing the recommendations in this report at the necessary scale is critical to meeting the housing needs of our state.”

County profiles provide local insights

Included in AHAB’s report are housing profiles for each of Washington’s counties. These profiles are designed to support local planning and provide an understanding of housing conditions, trends, and projected needs. By examining a county’s specific challenges and resources, policymakers and local officials can better address unique needs of their communities.

Key report recommendations

The plan outlines over 50 recommendations to help address barriers to affordable housing production, including:

  • increasing funding support,
  • streamlining administrative and regulatory processes,
  • supporting construction job training,
  • promoting new types of housing, and
  • supporting homeownership for low- and moderate-income families.

Additionally, it suggests steps to prevent the loss of affordable housing and protect people living in manufactured home communities. The recommendations focus on actions that the Washington State Legislature and the Department of Commerce can take to address the affordable housing shortage.

Personal Stories Highlight the Impact

The report includes personal stories from residents who face housing insecurity. These stories were collected through surveys and listening sessions conducted by the Washington Low-Income Housing Alliance. These stories bring a human perspective to the data, illustrating the real-life challenges and struggles of those impacted by the affordable housing crisis.

Get the full report (PDF)


About AHAB

The Affordable Housing Advisory Board is appointed to advise the Department of Commerce and the Legislature on actions to address the housing needs of all Washington residents. Board members represent a diverse range of housing professionals and advocates with expertise across various aspects of the housing system. For more information on and to sign up for updates on board activities visit the AHAB webpage on the Commerce website.

Share this Post