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Washington state will need 1 million more homes in the next 20 years, according to Dept. of Commerce

In addition to these homes, the Department of Commerce says 91,357 emergency housing beds are also needed.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — In its final housing needs projections, the Washington State Department of Commerce announced that the state will need to add 1.1 million homes over the next 20 years, with more than half of them being affordable for residents at the lowest income levels.

According to the Office of Financial Management, the state needs more than 50,000 units annually to keep pace with upcoming population growth.

“Based on the large number of housing needs at the lower income bands, many communities will need to change the way they plan for housing and plan for more apartments, condominiums, moderate density housing such as middle housing, and accessory dwelling units,” said Dave Andersen, managing director of the Growth Management Services unit. “Planning for housing in the next 20 years will require an inclusive and equity-driven approach if we are to meet the housing needs for all the residents at all income levels.” 

The Department of Commerce said communities within the state will have to plan for housing needs at all incomes, including emergency housing and permanent supportive housing. Final housing numbers estimate the state will need around 91,360 units of emergency housing by 2044 to ensure that those with unstable housing have a sustainable safety net.

“We used census and other best available data sources to identify existing housing, household incomes and household sizes, as well as best available homeless data and information about housing risk factors to develop a model to identify the housing that will be needed over the 20-year planning period.” said Tedd Kelleher, housing policy director. “Every community in the state is experiencing housing pressures and needs to plan for enough housing so that everyone can live inside. This housing will require significant local, state and federal investments to meet our state’s future housing needs, because it is difficult for the private market to produce housing for the lowest income brackets.” 

As of now, in terms of next steps, most communities in Washington state will be updating their comprehensive plans and regulations over the course of the next few years.

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