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News / Business / Clark County Business

Vancouver, Washougal, Camas, Battle Ground get money for middle housing

By Mia Ryder-Marks, Columbian staff reporter
Published: November 18, 2023, 6:09am

Clark County is the recipient of $250,000 in funding to build more middle housing options.

The funding streams from Washington’s Department of Commerce, which granted nearly $3 million to 54 cities across Washington. The funding is meant to support the local adoption of plan policies and zoning codes to allow more middle housing in residential neighborhoods.

Vancouver and Camas received $75,000 each; Battle Ground and Washougal each received $50,000.

“Middle housing and accessory dwelling units can increase homeownership opportunities, add to the diversity of rental housing, and allow families at every stage of life to stay in the communities they call home,” said Washington Commerce Director Mike Fong. “Data show we need a million more homes in our state over the next 20 years to address the growing challenge of housing affordability, and middle housing is a critical piece to reach that goal.”

Middle housing refers to units like duplexes, cottage clusters, and townhomes and is intended to fill the gap between low- and high-income housing options.

During the 2023 legislative session, House Bill 1110 was passed, which lifts zoning laws that prohibit multidwelling houses and provides more middle housing options for residents. The bill creates more duplexes and triplexes with construction on residential lots in cities with populations over 6,000.

According to a recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there are 22 affordable homes per 100 low-income households in Clark County. And with more than 9,000 people experiencing homelessness last year in Clark County — housing costs and rental prices a main contributor — an influx of affordable units is a need.

“We are in a significant time of action to meet our state’s housing needs,” said Dave Andersen, managing director of Growth Management Services at Commerce. “These grants will help local governments to change local land zoning to allow appropriately scaled infill development in residential neighborhoods.”

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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.