Social and Economic Vitalitiy
Issaquah is well-known as a great place to live and a growing center for businesses. Residential growth has outpaced job creation, and rising costs make it hard for the people who work in Issaquah to afford housing in the community. Issaquah wants a diverse mix of businesses to provide a range of services that meet the needs of the community. Also important is increasing the availability of jobs that provide the ability to live here. We will strive to improve housing affordability and expand access to the services residents need, so that more people are able to live, work and thrive in the community.
Issaquah is a desirable city, with proximity to both urban and rural areas featuring many amenities. However, many who live in Issaquah do not work here and those who work here often cannot afford to live here. According to the US Census (2015),only about 1,600 residents both live and are employed in Issaquah. Issaquah has a few large employers and many service jobs throughout the City. To allow people to both live and work in Issaquah, the City needs more employers who pay wages that are sufficient to afford local housing, as well as a broader range of housing options across the income spectrum. Solid job growth means retaining and attracting businesses to Issaquah. Growth in a diverse mix of businesses will improve the range of services available in the community.
In 2017, the City produced a Community Needs Assessment to help identify priority health and human services disparities within Issaquah. The Assessment identified several themes including disparities by ethnicity, sex and income, housing in stability, behavioral health needs and barriers to accessing services and resources. During the strategic planning process, community members identified housing affordability as a major issue, as well as a desire for more social services. With greater opportunities to live, work, and find every-day needs in the community, jobs and housing are more balanced and the City becomes more complete- contributing toward a more livable, sustainable community.
There is an increase in new and existing businesses that choose to locate and expand in Issaquah, especially those with wage levels that enable workers to also live in the community - (SE1)
- Conduct a study and propose tools that would give Issaquah a competitive advantage to recruit employers that fit the City vision.
- Develop an employer recruitment plan (e.g. major employers, marketing, and commercial space availability).
- Expand support for small business and start-up training and development.
- Conduct a review of City permitting to provide consistency and predictability for businesses.
Housing affordability better meets the needs of individuals and families across the income spectrum to live and work in the community - (SE2)
- Implement and enhance the Housing Strategy Work Plan.
- Work with faith-based and other organizations to evaluate partnerships for affordable housing development.
- Determine if City property assets should be used for affordable housing needs.
Services and resources reduce inequities in health and wellbeing in the community - (SE3) Potential actions
- Implement campaigns to increase awareness, reduce language and cultural barriers, and expand transportation options to improve access to services available in Issaquah and the Eastside.
- Adopt and implement the Healthy Community Strategy.
- Facilitate non-profit organizations to locate or expand to provide needed services locally.