Lacey City Council and the Lacey Planning Commission held a joint session on Thu., Jan. 27, to discuss the city's 2022 plans to make housing affordable in the city.
Mayor Andy Ryder stressed that affordable housing programs should remain their top priority. He said if it comes to a point where the community can't afford to live in the city, everything else will suffer.
"We need more affordable housing in our city. It has to be a priority," Ryder said. "We're still in a huge housing crisis, and we're not close to getting out of it."
Ryder said although it is good that there are moves to provide permits for supportive housing (for homeless people), the city’s strategies should also focus on enabling the creation of affordable housing in the city.
Community and Economic Development Director Rick Walk said the Planning Commission is in constant coordination with other cities in the region to explore plans on homeless response and housing developments.
"We're also trying to develop a regional plan to help develop infrastructures," Walk said. "So as we deal with the homeless on the streets–giving them services–there's ultimately a place for them to go."
Walk also reported that they are in the process of crafting the Homeless Response Plan for this year, and they will be ready to present it to the council in February.
The commission also plans to relaunch the Accessory Dwelling Unit program, which allows homeowners to build another unit inside their property.
"It's really important that we do continue to explore economic opportunities to make housing affordable in the city," Kyrian MacMichael, a member of the Planning Commission, said.
According to the Washington State Department of Commerce, as stated in Lacey's website, nearly 1 in 3 Thurston County households spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.
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