HSN's COVID-19 Response
Over the week we have had many conversations about how COVID-19 will impact our community: fears about income, rent, and mortgage payments, surprise at such rapid change, and appreciation for how people have been stepping up to support one another through rent forgiveness, donations, and gestures of solidarity.
Already, hundreds of workers across Jefferson County have been laid off or have no viable path to keep their businesses open. The impact this will have on our existing local housing emergency will be massive. Many people who were housing secure one week ago will face housing insecurity in the months ahead.
Housing Solutions Network is working hard to define how we can be of value to this community through these difficult times. We hope to mobilize this network as a platform to share information and calls to action related to housing. If you have ideas about how HSN can be part of the emergency response effort, please reach out. If you have stories to share related to housing – both of struggle and support – please let us know, so we can better respond to needs and highlight successes: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sustainable housing solutions will only be possible through a mix of individual, grassroots, organizational, and government-focused action. Here are some real examples of how Jefferson County residents are already making a difference.
Jefferson County is full of stories of struggle as well as stories of hope. Here, you’ll find personal stories of those who have been impacted by our housing crisis, as well as those who are making an impact.
Jefferson County Housing by the Numbers
- Jefferson County is the 3rd most unaffordable county in Washington State (University of Washington’s Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies)
- 47% of Jefferson County renters are cost-burdened, paying more than 30% of their income on rent (American Community Survey)
- 25% of units in the County sit vacant for a large portion of the year (likely for part-time residents or vacation rentals), lowering the supply of housing and increasing costs for permanent year-round residents (2018 Jefferson County Housing Element)
- Rental vacancy rates hover between 0-1% (the national average is around 7%), so that even those with stable incomes simply cannot find available housing (Washington Department of Commerce)
- Median home prices have increased from $241,700 to $361,900 between 2015-2018 – an unbelievable jump of 49% in just three years (University of Washington’s Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies)
- The lack of housing is a major barrier to economic development throughout the County – we know of at least nine small- to medium-sized businesses that decided not to relocate to Jefferson County due to the lack of available workforce housing
- Ensuring that a younger workforce can afford to live locally is critical to the future of community institutions. Jefferson Healthcare must maintain a minimum of 20% of patients who use private insurance in order to stay in the black. Once they go above 80% of patients using Medicare and Medicaid, they will experience serious financial challenges. They are currently at 78.5% Medicare and Medicaid patients and the workforce trends are moving them closer to that line, putting the future of our hospital at stake.