City of Ellensburg hoping to combat rising rent prices and housing shortage


Omar Benitez, Staff Reporter

The City of Ellensburg is currently facing an ongoing housing crisis according toCommunity Development Director Jamey Ayling. The city has enacted a housing action plan aimed to combat the shortage. This includes plans to increase production of housing.

The housing action plan currently underway in the city was put together by the Ellensburg Affordable Housing Commission.

According to Ayling, the City of Ellensburg needs to produce about 281 housing units annually until 2037 to properly deal with the growth the city has experienced and the shortage, representing a 162% production increase over current annual net product of 107 units per year.

Ayling said this means that Ellensburg needs to increase its production of housing units by 162 percent from the 107 housing units they are currently producing.

With the current undersupply of housing units, that means that rent has increased throughout the city, further reducing the number of affordable housing units available. 

According to the City of Ellensburg, about a third of the households in Ellensburg are cost burdened, meaning that the amount of rent paid exceeds over 30 percent of the household’s income.

The housing action plan hopes to address the situation by building more affordable units, with about 57 units planned. 

According to Ayling, they still need more if they really want to make a difference. 

“It’s not enough,” Alying said.  “We’re probably only hitting 5% maybe right now, and I think that needs to increase.”

Ayling said he is hopeful the housing plan will be able to address these issues, but he said he knows right now there are certain obstacles getting in the way of the plan getting done. 

“Time is the biggest obstacle, there’s just a lot of pressure for development” Ayling said.

Ayling said that even if Ellensburg can manage to increase its production of housing, things are going to take time until the city fully completes the housing plan. 

“There’s probably a five year minimum to look at catching up, and that’s just catching up,” Ayling said.

Housing action plans have become much more common now since the Biden administration has aided with helping small growing cities across the country, according to