Committee sets goals for housing plan

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2/14/18

An ad hoc committee came up with a list of goals Monday night to help guide them as they develop a spending plan for a new sales tax to build affordable housing.

The most desired outcomes of the committee’s plan would:

— Get the best value for the money

— Instill a sense of pride in the residents/homeowners

— Sustain the housing project’s status as affordable

— Build true public/private partnerships

The committee also discussed the populations who are to benefit from the housing: veterans, senior citizens, persons with mental illness, homeless families with children, homeless youth, disabled persons, and domestic violence survivors.

Some committee members favored giving priority to senior citizens, 10 percent of Ellensburg’s population today but expected to grow to 20 percent by 2030.

More information is needed about what strategies are being used for building successful affordable housing in other communities, some said, as well as accurate estimates on the costs for variously sized projects.

At the next meeting, city staff will bring maps showing buildable land in Ellensburg and a list of housing projects currently being planned in the city.

Chairman Bruce Tabb said the group needs to sharpen its focus on which populations to serve and what percentage of the funds to devote to affordable housing.

The committee still must decide on eligibility requirements, come up with spending guidelines, and outline responsibilities for an Affordable Housing Commission, which will carry out the plan and oversee the funds.

The next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, February 26, at Ellensburg City Hall.

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