Our Valley Housing Solutions Group is narrowing its focus
It was encouraging to learn this week that the Our Valley, Our Future Housing Solutions Group has decided to focus on ways to increase housing for middle-income households as a way to begin addressing the housing crisis in the greater Wenatchee Valley.
At the same time, the crisis is impacting employers like Confluence Health, Pacific Aerospace and others who are having a heck of a time recruiting people to fill good-paying jobs because those folks can’t find housing.
What an Our Valley survey found was that because of a lack of housing, many people who could afford market-rate rents are “down-renting” — living in less expensive housing because they can’t find other options.
More than 30 people representing diverse interests including social service agencies, builders, realtors and community leaders have been working to come up with recommendations to help address the housing issue.
Maher said the group has decided that focusing on improving the supply of housing would likely help ease the crunch for low-income families. Middle-income folks, it is believed, will opt for higher value housing and free up space for those at lower incomes.
I think this approach makes intuitive sense.
Maher has been inspired by the level of commitment and engagement by the group.
“To watch this Housing Solutions Group and the subcommittees in action is pretty amazing,” Maher told me. Talk about collaboration! We have everyone involved — realtors, developers, builders, citizens-at-large, low-income housing experts, lenders, architects, title company people, etc. And people who live in Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, Chelan, Rock Island, Entiat, Malaga, Cashmere and Leavenworth.”
What I appreciate about the Our Valley, Our Future effort is that it is a true grass-roots effort that encourages people to step up and do what they can to address community needs or enhance community opportunities. It is far healthier to encourage people to help step up and work on issues rather than waiting for government entities to solve challenges in relative isolation.
Healthy communities find creative ways to tap into the strength of as many people as possible. It’s this dynamic that makes efforts like Make a Difference Day and so many other civic efforts successful.
I look forward to seeing the recommendations of the Housing Solutions Group, which are expected later this spring.