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Workforce Housing Initiative

For several decades, the central Puget Sound region’s increasing housing costs near urban centers has led to undesired consequences, forcing families to live farther and farther from their jobs. With increasing fuel costs and diminished home values, the need for diverse housing options near jobs has never been as critical. To spur regional dialogue and increase the availability of workforce housing near employment centers, ULI Northwest and Enterprise Community Partners launched a vigorous workforce housing initiative.

Workforce Housing Initiative

For several decades, the central Puget Sound region’s increasing housing costs near urban centers has led to undesired consequences, forcing families to live farther and farther from their jobs. With increasing fuel costs and diminished home values, the need for diverse housing options near jobs has never been as critical. To spur regional dialogue and increase the availability of workforce housing near employment centers, ULI Northwest and Enterprise Community Partners launched a vigorous workforce housing initiative.

Major accomplishments include:

  • Featured a popular speaker series with keynote speakers including Henry Cisneros, John McIlwain, Robin Snyderman, and Ron Terwilliger;
  • Drafted an employer-assisted housing whitepaper;
  • Convened a housing, transportation and climate forum educating key leaders about transit station opportunities;
  • Provided feasibility analyses for key land use policy decisions at the request of council members, including conducting the Bel-Red Corridor ULI Technical Assistance Panel for the proposed incentive zoning policy.

Total Affordability: Reframing the Housing Challenge

Total Affordability Program, August 20, 2009

For the third year of this effort, the Workforce Housing Task Force formed three committees to facilitate work on parallel initiatives: Policy, Communications, and Best Practices. The project information provided here are the products of the Best Practices Committee.

The workforce housing matrix of tools and development project profiles represent the initial effort of the Best Practices Committee to further the dialogue and illustrate the effective use of tools in the production of workforce housing. The Committee’s work builds directly on that of the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), which recently surveyed jurisdictions across the four-county area to identify tools for workforce housing production. The Best Practices committee categorized the mechanisms identified by PSRC into an interpreted list of tools. In parallel, the Committee surveyed colleagues in the development community to identify multi-family housing projects that incorporated units affordable to households with incomes between 60% and 120% AMI, and assembled these initial four case studies. Together, the matrix and profiles illustrate mechanisms available that can result in the creation of workforce housing units.

We thank the dedicated team of volunteers responsible for drafting the content, the developers for their review, and GGLO for designing the project profiles. These profiles help advance the vision of what workforce housing is, and, ultimately ULI Northwest Housing Task Force’s goal to set the stage for much-needed policy, leadership, and practices that support enduring housing affordability in the region.