Packed In: Department of Commerce invests over $130 million in affordable housing projects across Washington

SPOKANE, Wash. — As people pack in to the Inland Northwest, historic housing investments are on the horizon in 2022.

The Commerce Department is spearheading projects it hopes will help people find stable housing. It is investing more than $130 million in affordable housing projects across the state. That’s a record amount of loans and grants from federal and state budgets.

One rapid-housing idea with these funds aims to turn old and unused hotels into shelters and transitional housing to help people find more stable and secure housing.

John Durham knows what housing insecurity feels like. He was living out of his car for months, unable to find something else he could afford.

“I was paying $800 a month for an RV site that they would allow us to camp,” the single father said.

Other families in Washington are also feeling that stress which is why the investment couldn’t come at a better time.

“If we work to expand housing supply at all levels, that will address the homelessness crisis that we’re experiencing,” Washington State Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown said.

Through grants and loans, affordable housing projects are in the works to help people experiencing homelessness, low income families and rural housing development. Brown is working with city and county elected officials, nonprofits and developers to launch these projects.

“Ultimately, the goal is to get people into permanent housing,” Brown said.

Durham lives in transitional housing now thanks to the Salvation Army and could not be more grateful.

“When I felt this here, this little bit of help, it was like a breath of fresh air.”

He’s hopeful more people can experience this help in 2o22.

In addition to this investment, the Commerce Department also has a goal to help people transition out of renting and into home ownership.

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