Jeff Humphrey

Creating New Housing Opportunities

Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308

Thursday, May 19, 2022 at 4:05 p.m.

The City of Spokane is creating a Housing Action Plan to increase housing options that are affordable and accessible to people and families of all income levels in our community.

“So, the Housing Action Plan was adopted last summer. That conversation continues now as we look at specific recommendations, to change our development code, to make things like this duplex development possible,” explained Spencer Gardner, City of Spokane Planning Director, as he toured an Augusta Avenue construction site.

City planners feel making changes in building codes can invite better use of real estate and lead to the creation of more housing.

“There are people who might be interested in building a backyard house, an accessory housing unit, we call it, to house a family member or maybe, to supplement their income and have an easier time paying their mortgage,” added Gardner.

The Spokane Housing Action Plan calls for higher density housing along arterials and transit routes.

“Well in Spokane we need housing, but we especially need workforce housing. And that project on Browne and Riverside will be providing 139 units of workforce housing for firefighters, teachers, nurses, and other people who need it. It fits in perfectly with our goal of getting more housing downtown, more infill housing, and providing more workforce housing,” said Steve MacDonald, Director of Spokane’s Economic Development Department.

The City of Spokane is also trying to preserve the rental housing market. During 2021, the City dispersed $9.3 million in rent assistance helping landlords and tenants with an average payment of $5,833.

“And now the City of Spokane has gotten involved with some federal money and in the last month, we’ve gotten a couple of tenants caught up and we’ve got four or five who have since applied and so, hopefully the money holds up and they can also get taken care of,” said landlord Bill Varner after receiving checks for his tenant’s overdue rent.

The Housing Action Plan is intended to streamline the permitting process. Despite COVID 19 restrictions, in 2021, the City of Spokane issued 695 multi-family unit building permits, more than double the number of permits from the previous year.

“Here at the Development Services Center, we really wanted to find a way to continue the progress of building while we were all stuck at home. We didn’t want to be the roadblock. And so, we moved to on-line permitting to streamline the process and really made it easier for people to get their permitting needs met, Nicole Riley of the Development Services Center.”

For more information about the Spokane Housing Action Plan, visit Shaping Spokane Housing.

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