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The long-term effort to improve and expand the affordable housing stock in Ellensburg is paying dividends.

While each unit is welcomed, the most positive development may be the variety of approaches being pursued.

HopeSource is nearing completion of its Spurling Court project on Rainier Street. Spurling Court will have 49 units for residents who meet income qualifications. The complex will be topped with a 101-kilowatt solar array, which will help lower residents’ utility bills.

HopeSource has a long history participating in affordable housing projects in this community.

Another familiar organization, Habitat for Humanity, is pursuing an 18 home project on West Bender Road.

The city also has received an application from a private builder, Stadler Interests, to build a 57-unit apartment complex on the city-owned community garden property on First Avenue and Pine Street.

That’s three project from three different types of groups/organizations all attempting to achieve the same goal — expanding the affordable housing stock in Ellensburg.

Affordable housing means different things. Affordable housing could be a home for someone who is living on the streets. It could mean an apparent a single-parent household can afford. It could mean a house at a price point a young family can afford.

Housing/shelter, itself, is a basic human need but how it is defined can differ.

That’s why creating affordable housing is a challenging problem — there is no single, silver-bullet solution. It is a lot of people/groups doing a lot of different things on projects that fit a variety of neighborhoods.

Ellensburg residents understood this when they approved a 1/10th of 1% sales tax increase for affordable housing.

That tax is not designed to raise enough money to build all the affordable housing needed in the community. But it allows the city to put some cash in the game when it is needed to move a proposal forward, and to be a partner with all the other public, nonprofit and private companies also with an interest in affordable housing.

Not every proposal is going to make it from idea to construction, but it is undeniably positive to see any progress being made while the nation is still coming out of the COVID pandemic.

What these three projects — in their various stages — reflect is a broad desire to address affordable housing in the community.

Kudos to voters who supported the tax proposal and to all those who tackle these projects in all their complexity. The community will benefit from your work.

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