Affordable Housing

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Housing affordability is a statewide problem and a strategic priority of the Ellensburg City Council. Ellensburg has taken several actions in recent years to improve housing options. In 2017, voters passed a 0.1% (one-tenth of one percent) sales and use tax for affordable housing (RCW 82.14.530). These funds, along with surplus City property are used to develop long-term affordable housing for members of our community. In 2021 the City adopted a Housing Action Plan with strategies to create more housing, different types of housing, and more affordable housing stock. The City was awarded an additional $75,000 Department of Commerce grant to implement the priority strategies in 2022/2023.

Affordable housing projects in the community have been possible because of partnerships between government agencies, nonprofits, and developers. Leveraging those partnerships with surplus property and sales and use tax funds has led to the following affordable housing projects in Ellensburg.

Ellensburg Affordable Housing Projects

Spurling Court - Complete

For the HopeSource Spurling Court project, the City waived impact fees to help reduce overall costs. The County also supported the project with a $500,000 award.

The Spurling Court project has 49 units of 1- and 2-bedroom flats and townhomes. Twenty-four units were designated to assist the homeless population. The complex is also tapped with a 101-kilowatt solar array, and the panels will offset the energy costs of the Spurling Court community center. The complex opened in May 2021.


Stuart Meadows - In Progress

In December 2021 the City Council approved Habitat’s acquisition of the 3-acre property for 18 units of affordable housing, built out in three phases. The City also approved contribution of $765,000 in affordable housing sales tax funds to the project. The combination of the surplus property and the sales tax funds allowed Habitat to leverage their existing funds to make the project possible.

The project's groundbreaking for Phase 1, which will be for the first six units, is set for 10 a.m. September 15, 2022.


First & Pine - 57 Units Planned

In October 2021 the City Council declared the 2-parcel property at First Avenue and Pine Street as surplus to be used for affordable housing. A private developer, Stalder Interests, wants to acquire the land to build 57 units in three buildings for affordable housing. The City purchased the property in 2003 for $532,000 with bond proceeds, along with another parcel on the southeast corner of Second Avenue and Pine Street.


1200 South Ruby Street - 16 Units Planned

HopeSource will be converting the former Nites Inn motel into 16 one-bedroom apartments. The 4.8-acre property at 1200 South Ruby Street, will be dedicated to low-income housing, while five of those will also be dedicated to transition housing for homeless individuals in the county. Funding for the project is a combination of City, County and State funding. The City and County both contributed $750,000, and the State will match that amount. Over the next two years, the building will be converted into 16 units of affordable housing and the site has additional buildable acreage for approximately 40 additional units. The project will serve people who face the highest barrier to stable housing, who are earning at or below 60% of area median income.


Opportunity For New Project

The City recently (August 15, 2022) took action to surplus Catherine Park—an undeveloped former park parcel on University Avenue. The Affordable Housing Commission will soon issue a notice for a demonstration of cottage-style affordable housing at that site.


Additional Information

  • Ellensburg is one of the most cost burdened communities in the State.
    • 45% of households are cost-burdened (30% or more of income goes toward housing and utility costs) or severely cost-burdened (50% or more of income goes toward housing and utility costs).
  • Ellensburg is growing and housing production is not keeping up. An additional 4,772 housing units are needed by 2037 to align with population needs.
  • Ellensburg’s housing stock lacks midsized options for smaller households. From 2016-2020, only 71 units of missing middle housing types were produced in Ellensburg.
  • Cost-burdened renters are unlikely to accumulate enough savings to start meaningful down payment funds for future homeownership. Affordable housing can be a path to home ownership. This project will give 18 families the start they need. This is a good use of a City property that wouldn’t be used otherwise.
  • Over half (57%) of current income-restricted units have affordability covenants that will expire by 2030.
  • Housing affordability is a major concern across family types, particularly for moderate- and low-income households.
  • Currently, the City has an “open” process for applicants to request surplus property or affordable housing sales tax funds at any time. The Affordable Housing Commission reviews applications submitted to the City and makes a recommendation to the City Council for funding or use of surplus property for affordable housing.

Housing affordability is a statewide problem and a strategic priority of the Ellensburg City Council. Ellensburg has taken several actions in recent years to improve housing options. In 2017, voters passed a 0.1% (one-tenth of one percent) sales and use tax for affordable housing (RCW 82.14.530). These funds, along with surplus City property are used to develop long-term affordable housing for members of our community. In 2021 the City adopted a Housing Action Plan with strategies to create more housing, different types of housing, and more affordable housing stock. The City was awarded an additional $75,000 Department of Commerce grant to implement the priority strategies in 2022/2023.

Affordable housing projects in the community have been possible because of partnerships between government agencies, nonprofits, and developers. Leveraging those partnerships with surplus property and sales and use tax funds has led to the following affordable housing projects in Ellensburg.

Ellensburg Affordable Housing Projects

Spurling Court - Complete

For the HopeSource Spurling Court project, the City waived impact fees to help reduce overall costs. The County also supported the project with a $500,000 award.

The Spurling Court project has 49 units of 1- and 2-bedroom flats and townhomes. Twenty-four units were designated to assist the homeless population. The complex is also tapped with a 101-kilowatt solar array, and the panels will offset the energy costs of the Spurling Court community center. The complex opened in May 2021.


Stuart Meadows - In Progress

In December 2021 the City Council approved Habitat’s acquisition of the 3-acre property for 18 units of affordable housing, built out in three phases. The City also approved contribution of $765,000 in affordable housing sales tax funds to the project. The combination of the surplus property and the sales tax funds allowed Habitat to leverage their existing funds to make the project possible.

The project's groundbreaking for Phase 1, which will be for the first six units, is set for 10 a.m. September 15, 2022.


First & Pine - 57 Units Planned

In October 2021 the City Council declared the 2-parcel property at First Avenue and Pine Street as surplus to be used for affordable housing. A private developer, Stalder Interests, wants to acquire the land to build 57 units in three buildings for affordable housing. The City purchased the property in 2003 for $532,000 with bond proceeds, along with another parcel on the southeast corner of Second Avenue and Pine Street.


1200 South Ruby Street - 16 Units Planned

HopeSource will be converting the former Nites Inn motel into 16 one-bedroom apartments. The 4.8-acre property at 1200 South Ruby Street, will be dedicated to low-income housing, while five of those will also be dedicated to transition housing for homeless individuals in the county. Funding for the project is a combination of City, County and State funding. The City and County both contributed $750,000, and the State will match that amount. Over the next two years, the building will be converted into 16 units of affordable housing and the site has additional buildable acreage for approximately 40 additional units. The project will serve people who face the highest barrier to stable housing, who are earning at or below 60% of area median income.


Opportunity For New Project

The City recently (August 15, 2022) took action to surplus Catherine Park—an undeveloped former park parcel on University Avenue. The Affordable Housing Commission will soon issue a notice for a demonstration of cottage-style affordable housing at that site.


Additional Information

  • Ellensburg is one of the most cost burdened communities in the State.
    • 45% of households are cost-burdened (30% or more of income goes toward housing and utility costs) or severely cost-burdened (50% or more of income goes toward housing and utility costs).
  • Ellensburg is growing and housing production is not keeping up. An additional 4,772 housing units are needed by 2037 to align with population needs.
  • Ellensburg’s housing stock lacks midsized options for smaller households. From 2016-2020, only 71 units of missing middle housing types were produced in Ellensburg.
  • Cost-burdened renters are unlikely to accumulate enough savings to start meaningful down payment funds for future homeownership. Affordable housing can be a path to home ownership. This project will give 18 families the start they need. This is a good use of a City property that wouldn’t be used otherwise.
  • Over half (57%) of current income-restricted units have affordability covenants that will expire by 2030.
  • Housing affordability is a major concern across family types, particularly for moderate- and low-income households.
  • Currently, the City has an “open” process for applicants to request surplus property or affordable housing sales tax funds at any time. The Affordable Housing Commission reviews applications submitted to the City and makes a recommendation to the City Council for funding or use of surplus property for affordable housing.
  • Affordable Housing Commission Vacancy

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    The City's Affordable Housing Commission currently has one vacancy. Interested applicants should apply by September 21, 2022. Applicants will be introduced to the City Council at the October 3 meeting.

    The Affordable Housing Commission operates under the authority of Chapter 1.86 of the Ellensburg City Code. The purpose of the Affordable Housing Commission is to support the development of safe and affordable housing and related services in the City, by assisting the City in determining gaps in affordable housing, and by making recommendations to the City Council for addressing the identified affordable housing needs of city residents.

    Learn more about the commission and apply.