Dear Mayor Muldoon and Councilors,
ShelterJH urges the Town Council to vote to approve the Housing Supply Plan 2017-2021 and support its implementation. Shelter JH thanks the Housing Department and the Housing Supply Board for compiling a plan that contains relevant data, thoughtful ways to address the challenge, and a realistic path forward.
In particular, the Housing Supply Plan does a great job of showing the annual workforce housing need compared to the number of workforce housing units in the pipeline. What stands out is that there are few units proposed that serve households earning less than 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI).
For this reason, we encourage the Council to prioritize Capital Projects that serve households earning less than 80% of the AMI when developing workforce housing on publicly owned land or utilizing public funds to provide workforce housing options. These families more commonly face severe housing costs, overcrowding, homes with physical deficiencies, and housing instability. This directly translates to higher social service costs, decreased health outcomes and lower educational achievement for a large segment of our fellow workers.
According to your 2014 Housing Needs Assessment, Households earning less than 50% AMI are particularly hard hit by the housing crisis in our valley – 77% are cost burdened, or paying more than 30% of their gross income toward housing. When housing payments exceed 30%, households have insufficient residual income to afford other necessities like food, transportation and health care.
The Housing Supply Plan also demonstrates the great work that has been done to get workforce housing units in the pipeline and the amount of work still needed to meet our housing goals. We encourage the Council to consider additional capacity within the Housing Department to effectively manage all the new units that are coming on line and to implement the proposed Capital Projects, Capital Programs, Housing LDR updates, and the Education & Outreach ongoing and proposed efforts.
Thank you for your continued efforts to provide safe, decent and affordable housing for your hard-working constituents and for considering ShelterJH’s request to approve the Housing Supply Plan 2017-2021 and support its implementation.