Equitable Opportunities for Home Ownership
Background: Racially exclusionary zoning practices, such as redlining, which barred people of color from buying homes in many neighborhoods, and discriminatory loan practices that limited home financing opportunities for people of color, made it difficult for people of color to buy and own homes in places across the country, including Edmonds.
Home ownership is one of the main way families are able to build inter-generational wealth, and centuries of these racially discriminatory practices have contributed to a wealth and home ownership gap between white people and people of color. One tool for addressing these past inequities is providing equitable pathways to home ownership through expanding attainable smaller housing options. Tools that correct inequities also provide opportunity for all people.
A way to increase the supply of smaller housing options is through allowing ‘missing middle’ housing types. Missing middle is a term that includes house-scale buildings with multiple units in walkable neighborhoods. These units, such as duplexes, would have scale and character similar to single-family homes. Through the adoption of a form-based code (which requires design standards and regulates the maximum building size and ratio of building to lot size without specifying the number of units), a well-designed building that’s the size of a large home could provide more than one home without changing the single-family scale, look, and feel of a home.
Encourage equitable housing options citywide by developing clear parameters and incentives for development to achieve home-ownership housing types such as duplexes that are aesthetically compatible with single family neighborhoods and more affordable to households earning 60-100% of the area median income. Parameters may include design guidelines and zoning changes that regulate maximum building size and/or ratio of building size to size of lot.