By Mike Benbow
Business, governmental and community leaders gathered in Everett on Tuesday in an attempt to bring new energy to solving an old problem — affordable housing is getting increasingly hard to find.
In what was billed as a Snohomish County housing summit, they gathered at the Northwest headquarters of Verizon Communications to look at the extent of the problem and identify the obstacles to fixing it.
While the diverse group wasn’t always in agreement, one thing is clear — it has its work cut out for it.
Consider this from Snohomish County government’s Steve Toy and Lauren Giboney:
Snohomish County Executive Bob Drewel added another fact: the county’s population is expected to grow by an estimated 120,000 people during the next six to seven years.
"When you’re talking about our economy and our infrastructure and how we can react, one of the responses is to provide a diverse economy and affordable housing," Drewel said.
The attendees broke up into five groups and identified issues that were both important and something a coalition of community leaders could do something about.
The group plans to go over Tuesday’s work and develop an action plan for addressing the issues and problems.
A big one, Drewel said, was infrastructure, which he said has been neglected for the past 20 years.
"The idea that we can save our way to prosperity and pay less and less for infrastructure….," he said. "Unless we can figure out a way to make these infrastructure improvements that is clearly understood, we’ll be back here next year and five years from now and 10 years from now."
He said Tuesday’s discussions were good and he hoped they’d continue until solutions are found and implemented.
"What we need to do is take what we know are the facts and engage in this public education process," he said.
You can call Herald Writer Mike Benbow at 425-339-3459
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