Lack of affordable housing in Chelan County is one of our biggest concerns. Not so many years ago it may have been possible to find affordable housing down valley, up a canyon, or somewhere else, but this is no longer true. People from across our area are testifying to this growing problem. Think of it like health care and education expenses, two other categories essential to quality of life that have been getting more expensive much faster than everything else. If you already own a home, you might be shocked to know how different the situation is today, compared to a decade ago, let alone a generation ago. Link to OVOF pdf.

This is an issue that impacts everyone. It used to be about entry level jobs. It now also impacts local schools, hospitals, and many high-wage employers. If you run a business, this negatively affects your ability to find and retain workers, opportunities for expansion, and your reputation for customer service. If you are a customer, this negatively affects your experience, and encourages you to spend less money locally. If you are community member living in what used to be a residential neighborhood, it means you are less likely to know your neighbors, because the place next door isn’t occupied by the owner. Instead, it’s increasingly likely to be a business, with overnight guests passing through, or a second home owned by someone not fully involved your community. If you are a family, it means your school is likely to lose staff, enrollment, and budget support. These conditions harm our local economy and weaken our communities. Link to EcoNW doc pdf.

People need opportunities to live near where they work. Traffic congestion, air pollution, global warming, wildfire danger, and public safety are related to the lack of affordable housing, and they negatively affect everyone else in the community no matter where they live. In our communities we need to encourage more construction of smaller homes on smaller lots, duplexes, and other forms of less expensive housing, as well as moderately larger homes for families and others looking to upsize, which will encourage turnover of existing entry-level housing.

To look at the City of Leavenworth’s Housing Action Plan, click here: https://cityofleavenworth.com/your-city-hall/departments/development-services/planning/housing/housing-action-plan/

Here is a link to download a copy of the 2021 report put out by the Chelan Valley Housing Trust:

2021 Annual Report – Chelan Valley Housing Trust

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