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PAC steps up for local housing solutions

by By KIKI MILLER/Guest Contributor
| May 12, 2024 1:00 AM

In case you missed last Wednesday’s paper, the front page carried a story about city of Coeur d’Alene funds being transferred to Panhandle Area Council for the restricted purpose of supporting the Housing Solutions Partnership. The significance of this move is in response to the request for support from regional businesses, citizens and organizations to address the housing crisis in Kootenai County. Letters of support included the following comments: 

• On behalf of the board of directors, I am writing in support of continued efforts through the Housing Solutions Partnership to advance multiple solutions to begin resolving, on a substantive level, Kootenai County’s desperate need for housing (that) local workers can afford, including rentals and homeownership opportunities. — Maggie Lyons, Panhandle Affordable Housing Alliance

• CdAEDC/Jobs Plus, Inc. is in full support of the work of the Housing Solutions Partnership and have full confidence in Panhandle Area Council’s ability to manage the remaining funds, as well as additional future funds, for the partnership. — Gynii Gilliam, Director

• ... as we speak to other cities/counties in Idaho we mention that Kootenai County is doing a great job [in the attainable housing arena] and we refer them to your group. You have set the standard and are working to make Kootenai County the Gold Standard for the state of Idaho. — Jack Hawkins, IHFA

• The approach you have outlined makes complete sense to me; it is both important and necessary. You have my full support. With kind regards, David Callahan, AICP Director, Kootenai County

Every city and county is reviewing the data supplied by the partnership and is making changes. The studies linked to the partnership website illustrate the local housing situation versus national trends that may be years old. 

Post Falls recently announced it is commissioning a housing needs assessment that will be completed within the year. This will add to the real-time data our leaders need when considering ordinance changes, comprehensive plan updates that guide how cities grow, and budgeting priorities based on growth impacts and needs. 

The Housing Solutions Partnership is led by volunteers, city planners, elected official participants and housing industry organization directors. More funding will be needed in order to supply the region with vetted solutions to achieving attainable housing for local workers and to continue to provide facts and data that guide decision-makers. 

The fund managed by PAC will be used for contracted website updates, expenses for planning and zoning workshops, promotion of ToolKit Solutions, ongoing work in data gathering, ordinance and comprehensive plan reviews, and executing ToolKit Solutions within its work group subcommittees. We encourage you to stay informed with weekly updates being posted on the home page at housingni.org.

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Kiki Miller is a Coeur d'Alene City Councilor and founding member of the Housing Solutions Partnership.