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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Washington House budget backs housing

It proposes $704M to boost affordable residential options

By Mia Ryder-Marks, Columbian staff reporter
Published: March 27, 2023, 6:21pm

The Washington House of Representatives unveiled its 2023-2025 operating budget on Monday, and tackling the ongoing housing crisis is at the forefront for the next biennium.

The over $8 billion budget proposes to allocate $704 million toward construction, affordable housing and home upgrades. Most notably, $400 million would go toward the Housing Trust Fund, and $175 million would be poured into the state’s emergency housing model.

The operating budget is said to not rely on any additional tax increases.

Other funding would go toward the following:

  • Installing whole-home energy retrofits, $83.2 million.
  • Utility and infrastructure costs related to affordable housing construction, $75 million.
  • Affordable development near major transit lines, $50 million.
  • Land acquisition for affordable housing, $40 million.
  • Low-income rural home rehabilitation, $6 million.

The budget also proposes spending $14.5 million toward youth shelter and transitional housing across the state and $150 million to create a covenant homeownership program, which would help first-time homebuyers and alleviate housing discrimination in the state.

“Families in every corner of the state are hurt by the housing crisis. That’s why we worked with lawmakers from both parties to craft this budget with a focus on housing, with $704 million invested in more affordable housing, emergency shelter funding, and home upgrades,” Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Port Townsend, chair of the House Capital Budget Committee, said in a press release.

Last week, the Senate proposed a $7 billion capital budget to allocate $625 million toward more affordable housing, developments near transit and landlord mitigation assistance. The budget passed on Friday.

The Senate and House will now need to agree on a final budget that is due on April 23.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.