July 10, 2019

Housing Forum brings together statewide leaders for housing solutions

By: Brian Mittge   Comments: 0
U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, D-WA, and state Rep. Andrew Barkis, R-Olympia, gave the opening remarks at the Housing Forum, a first-of-its-kind collaboration between 10 statewide associations held July 8, 2019 at the Hilton Bellevue. (Photos: Brian Mittge/AWB)
Lack of housing of all types is a nationwide crisis, U.S. Rep. Denny Heck said Monday as he opened a housing forum hosted by an unprecedented coalition composed of AWB and nine other groups from throughout the state. Solving the problem, Heck said, will take bipartisan cooperation and a willingness to forge non-traditional partnerships.

State Rep. Andrew Barkis, who has worked in the housing industry for decades, joined Heck in opening up the daylong discussion that drew more than 200 attendees. TVW has video of Heck and Barkis, as well as the keynote address by University of Washington professor James Young.

The Lens News covered Young's address and his warning that without concerted and effective effort, Washington faces the kind of housing crisis that has prompted many people to leave California. 

Homebuilders and lenders discussed the "Nuts and Bolts and Dollars and Cents of Building a Home" (TVW video) that discussed the reasons why homes have become so expensive, including Growth Management Act land restrictions as well as growing building code requirements (think electric car charging stations and in-home fire suppression sprinklers) that all add costs.

Joseph Tovar, a longtime land use planning expert, discussed the history of the Growth Management Act and what might be ahead in his keynote address (TVW has video).

Lawmakers from both parties and chambers of the Legislature then came together for a four-corners panel discussion of recent legislation and what might be ahead. AWB Government Affairs Director Mike Ennis moderated the panel, which featured Sens. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue and Hans Zeiger, R-Puyallup, and Reps. Andrew Barkis, R-Olympia, and June Robinson, D-Everett. TVW has video.

The afternoon included two tracks of discussions, one focused on infrastructure, the other on land use & supply. Speakers ranged from a tiny house advocate to a land use planner from Stevens County.

KING 5 News covered the opening of the event with live reports from the conference room, and lively social media posts throughout the day highlight the diverse content and discussions.

There is much more work ahead in the work to lower housing costs and increase supply. Contact AWB's Mike Ennis to learn more about how employers are working to solve this problem for all Washingtonians.

AWB News: 2019 Housing Forum from Association of WA Business on Vimeo.