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Wire Insider: Nathan Gorton

Nathan Gorton is the Government Relations Director for Washington State Realtors. He joins us as a “Wire Insider” to discuss policy frameworks for combating the housing affordability crisis in communities across Washington State.

So as the Government Affairs Director for Washington Realtors, we are really engaged on housing issues and especially the affordability crisis we’re seeing in communities all across the state.

There was a bill that was passed last session, HB 1923 — Rep. Fitzgibbon worked on it very hard along with Rep. Barkis and others — that really encouraged local communities to look at ways to provide missing middle-housing, so it incentivized them, gave them some grant funding to pass local ordinances and exempted them from some legal requirements and really encouraged local communities to take a look at ways that can bring density into their cities in a responsible way. Over 30 cities have applied and received grants all across our state, so we’re seeing that work. It was hopefully just the start of a string of these sorts of bills and I know that in the state legislature, Rep. Fitzgibbon is going to have sort of a son of 1923 that will take that to the next level.

And I think more generally, the Legislature last year really started looking at housing affordability and the housing issue in a more cohesive way. I think in the past when they looked at housing issues they just focused on homelessness, and while homelessness is certainly an important issue, it’s a symptom of the broken housing market. Looking at it in a more global way and looking at how we can supply first time home ownership housing, affordable rentals for people 80-100% of the AGI as well as subsidize people who are on the lower end, and having that as one cohesive policy; i’m excited to continue talking about that.”

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