Communities across the United States are in short supply of affordable housing as home prices are rising faster than wages. In Washington State 1 in 7 families are paying more than half their income for housing, leaving them struggling for their basic needs. No one should have to choose between housing and their basic needs. When the cost of home is any family’s future, that is something none of us can afford.
We have joined Habitat for Humanity International and hundreds of other Habitat’s around the country in the “Cost of Home” campaign. Launched in June 2019, and over the next five years will find solutions and help create policies in four key areas: supply and preservation of affordable homes; access to credit; access to land; communities of opportunity.
Closer to Home
In Kittitas County, the fastest growing county in the state, the need for affordable housing has become critical. The last year and a half has left our community strained as families are working harder than ever before. Families are working longer hours to make ends meet and living with the day-to-day challenges of an extended global pandemic. Uncertainty has become the norm, and that is a difficult place to raise a family from or plan for the future. Families need our help.
The average annual wage in Kittitas County decreased to $46,406 (60.4 percent of the state average and below the 2019 Kittitas County average wage of $56,004)*
Yet, in the same time frame in Kittitas County, the average sale price of a home has increased from $365,000 to $454,000.
The dream of homeownership; the economic stability of owning a home and building generational wealth, is still very real, it is just not currently affordable for most of the families living and raising their children in Kittitas County.
There are people working hard to help change this. Currently, both The City of Ellensburg and Kittitas County Commissioners are working to develop new strategies and policies that support the development of housing for everyone. Additionally, they are evaluating current housing needs throughout the county with the goal of ensuring a variety of housing is available and affordable to people of all incomes.*
To learn more and join the conversation in your county, feel free to utilize the links below.
*.Kittitas County Economic Update, Employment Security Department, by Donald W. Meseck, Regional Labor Economist, LMEA, Washington State ESD, August 27,2021
*Zillow, data based on the average home sale price for Kittitas County, Sept. 2021