Kitsap County and the City of Bremerton selected EcoNorthwest as the consultant to perform a countywide affordable housing inventory and market analysis study.
The study will include information about the current state of the local affordable housing market, an analysis of the gap between available affordable housing and needed units, 10-20-year projections of future housing needs, and recommendations for policy tools that would impact development of additional units of affordable housing. The scope of the study will cover all of the Kitsap cities and county, with additional aspects focusing on Bremerton, and is due to be completed in January 2020.
Funding for the study comes from the City of Bremerton, the Kitsap County Block Grant Program, and the Kitsap County Housing and Homelessness Division.
The study is called out in the 2018 update to Kitsap County Comprehensive Plan as an implementation strategy in the Housing and Human Services Element. It will provide information for the upcoming Kitsap County and City of Bremerton HOME Consortium Consolidated Plan 2021-2025, and the priorities and goals to guide the allocation of Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnership Program funds over the five-year period.
"It makes sense to partner with Bremerton on a project that will benefit all Kitsap cities and unincorporated areas," noted Commissioner Ed Wolfe, chair of the Board of County Commissioners. "Affordable housing issues are a challenge across all of our jurisdictions and having the best possible information will help us make informed policy decisions about how to improve the affordable housing situation."
Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler commented, "Affordable Housing is a challenge for our community and I have chosen to focus on this issue as a high priority in my administration. Having the ability to access high-quality data will be immensely helpful in making future policy decisions to improve affordable housing in Bremerton."
EcoNorthwest is an experienced consultant in the areas of affordable housing, land use, transportation, and economic development. With offices in Seattle, Portland, Eugene, and Boise, the company has offered consulting services since 1974 and conducted similar studies in other states and Washington jurisdictions, including Skagit County, Island County, and Issaquah. Recently, EcoNorthwest assisted the City of Bainbridge Island with an affordable housing and inclusionary zoning project.
"EcoNorthwest's depth of experience and range of expertise in this type of work made them a stand-out candidate for doing this study. They have a long history of helping communities identify workable strategies that help them move forward," said Kirsten Jewell, manager of the Kitsap County Department of Human Services Housing and Homelessness Division.
Upon completion, the study will be available to the public and there will be several public presentations of the findings and recommendations.
For more information on affordable housing in Kitsap, please go to the the Kitsap County website https://www.kitsapgov.com/hs/Pages/HH-Reports-and-Data-Affordable-Housing.aspx .
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