Community Need for Housing

/Community Need for Housing
Community Need for Housing2018-01-23T22:11:27-08:00

The Community Need

The south Puget Sound region, like much of our country, is experiencing an affordable housing crisis

The most frequently cited definition of “affordable” is from HUD.  It states that affordable is when 30% or less of a household’s gross pay is spent toward housing costs (rent and utilities)

Our Local Problem

  • For households earning 30% or less of Area Median Income (AMI), only 14 out of every 100 can find affordable housing
  • For households earning 31%-50% AMI, only 33 out of every 100 can find affordable housing
  • Between 2001 and 2015, the average apartment rent went from $787 to $910
  • Between 2002 and 2014, average wages have increased about $6,600 annually, adjusted for inflation
  • The housing affordability index in 1995 was 124.3; in 2015 it was 183.4

Vacancy Rates

Vacancy Rates are at near historic lows, translating into extreme difficulty finding housing that is affordable. Individuals at all income strata struggle to find housing that is affordable, but it is particularly difficult for very and extremely-low income households:

  • Vacancy rates in Thurston County in 2010 were 6.5%; in 2015 they were 3.3%
  • Vacancy rates at Homes First! for the last two years have been less than 2%
  • Every year, Homes First! turns away over 800 contacts for housing due to lack of available units

The population in Thurston County is expected to grow substantially over the next 10 years:

In 2010, TC population was 252,300; in 2025 it is expected to be 322,000, a 28% increase

Our local support service providers:  Family Support Center, Sidewalk, Community Youth Services, Interfaith Works, YWCA, etc. have developed an excellent coordinated entry and support system for our community.

They tell us regularly that the key missing component for their clients’ ability to be successful is….HOUSING!

Data on Homeless and Low Income Kids in Local School Districts


Olympia School District Enrollment 9814
Enrolled as Homeless per McKinney Vento criteria 444
Receiving Free and Reduced Lunch 2945 30%


Lacey School District Enrollment 14,662
Enrolled as Homeless per McKinney Vento criteria 772
Receiving Free and Reduced Lunch 6314 43%


Tumwater School District Enrollment 6273
Enrolled as Homeless per McKinney Vento criteria 191
Receiving Free and Reduced Lunch 1910 30%


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