Washington Legislature works to address housing crisis by … – NBC Right Now

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Updated: March 23, 2023 @ 7:54 am

House Bill 1337 is focused on making cheaper housing more accessible through accessory dwelling units. 
WASHINGTON STATE — Numerous bills are being considered in the Washington Legislature regarding the regional housing crisis, including House Bill 1337, focused on making cheaper housing more accessible through accessory dwelling units (ADUs). It was made with guidance from the AARP.
“ADUs are small houses or apartments that exist on the same property lots as a single-family residence but still provide separate living and independent quarters, and because they tend to be smaller and more affordable than single-family houses, they can be a good housing option for older adults who want to downsize but still live in a neighborhood setting,” said AARP.  
The U.S. Census Bureau and analysis from Statista predict that more than 13,000 adults are expected to be evicted in 2023. Nearly 7,000 adults 55 and older are expected to experience homelessness in Washington state. State Representative Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Wash.) says HB 337 aims to address these predictions. 
He says this bill, along with others being considered by the legislature right now, are trying to legalize more kinds of homes in order to address the housing crisis. HB 1337 would reduce some of the barriers in place against homeowners building affordable housing in their backyards. 
HB 1337 would require that ADUs are allowed in urban growth areas. The bill addresses current growth management standards in the state, updating legislation to make ADUs easier to build and use. 
“We know the housing shortage is impacting housing prices in every part of the state,” said Representative Mia Gregerson, HB 1337 sponsor. 
ADUs are a preferable option for numerous demographics outside of adults 55 and older, like recent college graduates, multi-generational families, professionals who work from home and more. Legislators are arguing that ADUs allow for cheaper, easier renting than a rental house for both parties, allowing homeowners a simple additional source of income and renters their own affordable space. By making the process easier for Washingtonians, some relief may be offered within the housing crisis. 
Walla Walla has already implemented some of the proposed changes, allowing for an easier transition if the legislation is passed, according to Senior Planning Manager Johnathan Maland. 
WASHINGTON STATE — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is funding Washington state with over $33 million in awards for …
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