Washingtonians of all stripes feel the crunch of our housing shortage. Paychecks and fixed incomes aren’t keeping pace with rent. Many sleep in cars or on the street.
Olympia is considering common-sense reforms that will help local governments address our affordability crisis. For example, House Bill 1797 and Senate Bill 5812 would loosen regulations around the construction of accessory dwelling units. When Bellingham cut red tape around ADU construction, it saw more than three times as many ADU permit applications as in previous years, enabling the construction of desperately-needed housing without having to demolish a single existing home or spend a dime of taxpayer money.
State legislators are also considering a wide array of other improvements: incrementally increasing housing around existing frequent transit, legalizing a wider range of housing options in job centers, increasing sources of revenue for affordable housing and increasing eviction protections for renters. Taken together, this is a holistic approach to a multifaceted problem.
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Statewide problems demand statewide action. Olympia is right to help in every way it can.
Calvin Jones, Seattle