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Sunday, March 24, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Survey finds support for affordable housing

More than two-thirds of Spokane County voters think it would be a good policy to require 10 percent of new housing built in their community be in the low-to-moderate price range.

More than half know someone who has struggled to make rent or mortgage payments. And about three of every five believe that affordable housing benefits the community overall, not just the households using it.

These are some of the findings of a survey released Friday by the Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium and completed by Robinson Research with funding from AmericanWest Bank, Sterling Savings Bank and Avista Utilities.

Telephone interviews with 400 voters were conducted March 30 to May 19. Some 42 percent of respondents live in Spokane; 32 percent live in the unincorporated county; 19 percent live in Spokane Valley; and 7 percent live in other incorporated cities.

The consortium’s executive director, Cindy Algeo, said the survey’s completion was meant to be a precursor to bringing a funding proposal regarding affordable housing before voters. However, fewer than 50 percent of respondents said they’d support new fees or taxes, so a ballot measure seems unlikely, she said.

“Every big concern out there, the public wants services” and believes local jurisdictions should provide them, Algeo said. “However, they want no increased taxes or fees to support those services.”

Some 67 percent of respondents said they think local jurisdictions should provide for affordable housing within existing budgets. More than 70 percent said Spokane County should explore options for securing additional funding for affordable housing.

Algeo said the survey results will be presented to elected officials with the idea of creating incentives for developers to build more affordable housing. But incentives will not be an “end-all” solution for a city that recently has seen more than 250 low-income people displaced due to redevelopment or foreclosure of affordable housing, Algeo said.

“That kind of incentive is going to help moderate income and families close to the median income, but it’s not going to help the households that have extremely low income,” she said. “But it certainly is a piece of the puzzle that needs to be put in place.”

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