Lacey is in the midst of an affordable-housing crisis, and we are not alone.
According to the Washington State Department of Commerce, nearly 1 in 3 Thurston County households spend more than 30 percent of its income on housing. Many factors influence “housing affordability” but, what does “affordable housing” mean? The simple answer: housing (rented or owned) that costs no more than 30 percent of your household income, leaving the other 70 percent for food, clothing, transportation, and other necessities. So, what is “affordable” to a household earning $100,000/year is different than a household earning $50,000/year. It is relative to YOUR household income and YOUR housing costs. If you spend more than 30 percent of your household income on housing, you are considered “cost burdened.”
What Contributes to the Affordable-Housing Crisis?
Although many factors influence housing affordability such as employment, wages, building costs, internal/external market factors, etc. – the short answer: the need for housing is greater than the amount available. The high-demand/low-supply issue has caused many costburdened residents to move to outlying areas in order to afford housing. In addition, people are moving to our area from higher priced markets for the same reasons. Affordable Housing Strategy
Although the City does not actually build housing, housing affordability is a high priority for Lacey and the region. We strive to create and support programs that help our residents find and maintain an affordable place to live. The City is working with our public and privatedevelopment partners to provide a variety of housing options for all income levels.
The Lacey City Council recently adopted an Affordable Housing Strategy. The strategy was created with input from City Council, the Planning Commission, residents, and community stakeholders and partners. It outlines the housing-affordability issue and lists programs and services the City currently supports to help ease the crisis. In addition, it identifies potential policies and actions the City can take to reduce the effects of the housing-affordability issue.
Affordable housing is a complex issue. The City will continue to focus on improving our residents’ ability to have an affordable place to live.