Affordable Housing & Homelessness

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What is affordable housing? What does homeless look like in our community?

Tumwater is a great place to live, work, and play. As community leaders, we want Tumwater to be a city for all people. 

The Mayor and City Council are exploring how to best address the needs of homeless youth, adults, and families, and those at risk of homelessness, as well as the prevention of homelessness. Equally important is expanding the availability of affordable housing in Tumwater.

Building on its work in the first half of 2018, the City Council agreed to undertake the following actions now to address homelessness and the lack of affordable housing outlined in the Tumwater Homelessness and Affordable Housing Action Plan.

GOAL:  Reduce Homelessness

Increase resources, actions to combat, decrease regional homelessness

  1. Review, and clarify as necessary, policies related to homelessness for first responders
  2. Develop strategies with the Tumwater School District and nonprofit partners to house homeless students / families
  3. Better understand and describe the extent and general location of Tumwater poverty and low-income areas
  4. Commit more current City resources to targeted regional homelessness actions
  5. Act to better connect people to services
  6. Continue to participate in homeless count each year
  7. Meet with Tumwater faith leaders to explore faith community’s potential role addressing homelessness
  8. Assess and track homeless / low-income services in Tumwater

GOAL:      Boost Housing Affordability – Actions to increase affordable housing

  1. Pursue grants for affordable housing
  2. Strengthen incentives for affordable housing within the Capitol Corridor and Brewery District and explore extending these incentives to the entire InterCity Transit #13 bus corridor
  3. Evaluate and, if necessary, propose amendments to City code and zoning to support smaller scale affordable housing in neighborhoods to offer a greater variety of housing options
  4. Promote actions property owners can take to increase affordable housing such as accessory dwelling units
  5. Participate in regional discussions to understand factors affecting housing affordability and what steps can be taken to mitigate new housing costs
  6. Assess actions for assuring mobile home parks continue to provide affordable housing toward a goal of property ownership by residents
  7. Encourage more housing development overall
  8. Encourage abandoned houses moving back into the active housing inventory
  9. Enact policies to protect tenants experiencing housing instability, which may include:
    1. Review current eviction/renter protection policies, laws, and legal services and assess possible actions
    2. Assess need for/knowledge of landlord-tenant conflict resolution services
    3. Support renter resources (mediation, etc.)
  10. Inventory and track affordable housing units in Tumwater

GOAL:      Ongoing Regional Actions – Continue work with other jurisdictions and agencies to explore regional solutions to homelessness and affordable housing.


City Council 2018 Worksessions on Homelessness & Affordable Housing

At the second worksession of each month from January to April 2018, the Council held presentations and discussions related to housing and homelessness issues. Council worksession agendas and minutes are available online.

Community Survey: Homelessness & Housing

The City recently conducted a community survey to measure community awareness of homelessness in Tumwater. Survey results indicated that most residents see homelessness as a problem. Many survey participants said that helping people in need was a civic duty that benefits the community, and something should be done to help children and families.

Collaborative Approach

Consultant Paul Knox, Planning Manager Brad Medrud, and City staff are working with community partners, local agencies and interfaith organizations to provide the Council with information, resources, and activities to improve and expand housing solutions for low income and homeless residents in Tumwater. 

Studies, Plans and Municipal Code