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Homelessness & Housing Toolkit Provides Best Practices, Real-World Examples for Washington Cities


February 21, 2017 by Lynn Nordby
Category: Tools for Planners , Homelessness

Homelessness & Housing Toolkit Provides Best Practices, Real-World Examples for Washington Cities

MRSC and the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) have recently partnered to produce the Homelessness & Housing Toolkit for Cities in order to document methods being employed by cities and counties to address the concurrent issues of homelessness and housing affordability.

Despite a 10-year pledge to end homelessness in Washington by 2015, that deadline has come and gone.  Instead, Washington is 1 of only 13 states that saw an increase in its homeless population in 2016, up by 7.3% from 2015, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. Coupled with a crisis in housing affordability for low-wage workers and working families in many parts of the state, cities are seeking and—in many instances—finding solutions.

This joint MRSC/AWC publication, the Homelessness & Housing Toolkit for Cities, provides Washington local government officials with 18 real-world examples of strategies that have worked to address both issues by providing housing where it is most needed.

This publication can help local governments learn more about

  • the Housing First philosophy and how it’s being applied to cover the full-spectrum of physical and mental health needs of the homeless population at Compass Crossing;
  • innovative housing approaches featuring tiny homes and accessory dwelling units (ADU) and the regulatory focus that can help or hinder these approaches;
  • the use of zoning or tax policy to encourage the development of affordable housing; and
  • model programs tackling homelessness in Seattle, Everett, Wenatchee, King County, and Lakewood.

Also included in the toolkit are articles on housing levies, tenant protections, tax exemptions, regional coalitions, emergency rental assistance, and more. And, as with many resources from MRSC, the toolkit is free and available for download online in the Publications section of our website.  


MRSC is a private nonprofit organization serving local governments in Washington State. Eligible government agencies in Washington State may use our free, one-on-one Ask MRSC service to get answers to legal, policy, or financial questions.

About Lynn Nordby

Lynn’s public sector career includes 30 years in local government management and experience in virtually all municipal services including the operations of a wide variety of municipal utilities. He is a Credentialed Manager through the ICMA Voluntary Credentialing program.

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