U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development

Consolidated Plan Contact


This summary is written to meet a HUD requirement that summaries of all jurisdictions' Consolidated Community Development and Housing Plans be made available on-line. The City of Spokane welcomes your comments on this document, or any matter related to it.

Action Plan

The "Action Plan" component of this document is the budget for utilizing public resources available for community development and housing activities during a one year period beginning in July of 1995 and ending in June of 1996. The primary sources of funding are three federal programs: the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), and the Emergency Shelter Grant Program. A summary of primary uses of these funds appears at the end of this document. Detailed uses are explained in the full Consolidated Plan.

Citizen Participation

The City of Spokane has utilized an extensive citizen participation process ever since the Community Development Program was established in 1975. This was done as a practical measure, since the establishment of the program, and concurrent acceptance of federal funds, had been the subject of a hotly-contested City ballot measure. The program was established to operate in two Community Development Neighborhoods (now thirteen - see Map 4 at the end of this document), each with a Steering Committee comprised of neighborhood residents. Any resident could be a member. Overall policy for the program was originally handled by the City Plan Commission. Later, in 1986, a Community Development Board was established for that purpose. It's membership represents both neighborhood and city-wide interests.

Details regarding the citizen participation process are contained in a companion document, the 1995 Citizen Participation Plan. It's purpose is to create opportunities for citizens to be involved in the Consolidated Plan development and implementation and any amendment thereof. It identifies the role of various participants, sets a schedule for plan development and review, establishes procedures for special accommodations, outlines promotion, publicity, communication methods, describes staff support, provides for submission of comments and responses and for access to records, and discusses program implementation and citizen assessment of performance.


The City of Spokane is the central city of the Spokane Metropolitan Statistical Area, located in Eastern Washington next to the Idaho State Line. The population of the MSA recently exceeded 400,000, with the City's population now estimated at 188,800. Growth has been strong since 1989, but slowed in 1995. The local economy has been strong, though moderating this year. The unemployment rate has been relatively low, though wage rates have lagged behind many other areas. See Map 2 at the end of this document for a display of unemployment by 1990 Census block groups. Per capita income is roughly 90% of the national average, though the cost of living is moderate. The median family income for the MSA was estimated to be $36,500 in April, 1995.

Racial and ethnic minorities comprise a relatively small part of the City's population at 8% of the total, although growing at a much faster rate than the non-minority population. Asian and Hispanic residents showed the highest growth rates between the 1980 and 1990 Censuses. Native American households have by far the lowest income profile of any race/ethnic group. Minorities are well integrated into the community relative to their income level, with all census tracts (except three) having at least a 4% minority population. See Map 1 at the end of this document for minority residence patterns by 1990 Census block group.

The number of households grew faster than total population from 1980 to 1990 (6.0% versus 3.4%) due to a decreasing average household size. The elderly population (62 and over) increased from 18.3% of the total in 1980 to 18.7% in 1990.



The City of Spokane is not an old city by East Coast standards, having been settled in the 1870s. There was significant growth from 1890 to 1915. Hence, a significant portion of the housing stock and infrastructure is 80 years old, or older. Many older neighborhoods are generally intact, but showing increasing needs for housing repair, sidewalk improvement, street trees, etc. Many streets very never paved due to cost considerations. There has been significant in-fill of by-passed properties in the last few years, augmented by aggressive sewering and storm water programs.

Housing Needs

Housing needs are various types are discussed in the following sections. In general terms, the Consolidated Plan stresses the need to rehabilitate the existing housing stock and to facilitate the supply of additional housing stock, appropriate to the real needs of individuals and families, within the context of the marketplace.

Housing Market Conditions

The local housing market has been moving through a cycle of undersupply created by strong economic activity since 1989. It has moved to a point where oversupply may soon be evident, in terms of a balanced housing market. Home prices rose very fast for a few years, fueled by declining interest rates. Prices have recently moderated, though not yet declining, in most cases. Rents have stabilized, after a long period of substantial increase. Vacancy rates in apartment complexes are in the 6% percent range. Housing affordability is better than most other urban areas within the State of Washington.

The housing stock within the City is comprised of the following: single-family (68.0%), duplex (4.8%), tri- and four-plex (4.8%), multi-family 5 units and more (20.6%), and manufactured housing (1.8%). There is a clear shortage of manufactured housing placement options within the City.

The 1990 Census confirms an increase in the number of renter-occupied units within the City. It shows that 42.8% of all occupied housing units were renter-occupied and that 57.2% were owner-occupied. Comparative numbers from the 1980 Census were 38.5% renter-occupied and 61.5% owner-occupied.

Affordable Housing Needs

Data contained on page 41 of the full Consolidated Plan identifies the housing assistance needs of low and moderate income households in two primary ways. One of these is having a "cost burden" at two levels, 30% and 50%. This means those households paying more that a certain percentage of their income for housing (either mortgage payment or rent). The other way of assessing needs provides an estimate of households "with any housing problems," which adds overcrowding and substandard physical conditions (based on Census data) to the cost burden measure. The table is broken down by type of household (owner/renter, elderly/small related/large related/other) and also by four income levels related to median family income.

The table shows that 47% of all rental households (regardless of income) and 17% of all owner households (regardless of income) have some kind of a "housing problem." The comparable numbers for the very lowest income tier (0% to 30% of median family income) are 81% for renters and 67% for owners. The cost burden problem for elderly renters and owners is less than for non-elderly households at the lowest income level, but is equivalent at higher levels. Large families showed the greatest needs.

Homeless Needs

The raw number of homeless individuals in Spokane is very difficult to quantify, as it is in other cities. Estimates are questioned as to potential over count or potential under count. The Consolidated Plan refers to every primary study or count done in recent years. It also discusses the practical needs of various sub-components of the homeless population. The bottom line is that there are people in Spokane that do not have "regular housing." The numbers of people who experience temporary or long-term homelessness seems to have increased in recent years.

The document contains an extensive inventory of agencies, facilities, and services available to assist the homeless or persons threatened with homelessness. There has been a significant increase in community response in recent years.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

At the time of the writing of the Consolidated Plan, Spokane had 95 public housing units, 1602 households (some are in the unincorporated area) receiving "tenant-based"Section 8 rent assistance, and 1927 housing units receiving "project-based" Section 8 rent assistance. There were an undetermined number of units/households having some form of rent limitation or voluntary reduction under a variety of programs (federal, state and local). There were no public housing units in the City of Spokane until 1980.

The waiting list for Section 8 tenant-based assistance was 1,468. It was closed in 1987, and "purged" in 1994. Families with significant federal preferences were able to be added to the list. The public housing list has remained open, and stood at 629 at the time of writing.

The Consolidated Plan details housing needs for various "special needs" groups, such as those with mental health, developmental disabilities, frail elderly, disabled, etc.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

The Consolidated Plan recognizes the fact that certain public policies, such as those related to land use, zoning, and building codes can be a significant barrier to the production of affordable housing, both in the private and the public sectors. The strategy section of the plan details some specific potential remedies. This is seen as crucial to reducing the need for public subsidies.

Fair Housing

The Community Development Program has promoted fair housing in Spokane for many years, including the funding of various activities. It has looked for positive ways to do so, particularly in the area of public communication. The program sponsored an update of its existing Fair Housing Analysis in 1994. There are no current court orders, consent decrees, or HUD-imposed sanctions that affect the provision of fair-housing remedies by the City.

Lead-Based Paint

Based upon Census and local building permit information, an estimated 68,650 housing units in the City of Spokane were built before 1978 (85% of the total housing stock). An unknown percentage of these contain lead-based paint. The condition of that paint is also unknown. If well-sealed and adhered, there may be a greater health risk in disturbing it than in leaving it alone.

A letter dated January 18, 1995, was received from the Spokane county Health District in response to an inquiry regarding the number of diagnosed lead poisoning cases in Spokane County. It indicated that no cases of elevated blood lead levels (above 20 mcg/dl) were reported in Spokane County in 1994 for individuals that are County residents.

Community Development Needs

See the "priorities" sections following.


See the "Coordination of Strategic Plan" section following.


Guiding Principles

The City of Spokane has followed certain guiding principles in the conduct of its Community Development Program, begun in 1975, and its management of associated housing programs. They are as follows:

  1. Citizen involvement is critical in decision-making regarding community development and housing activities.
  2. The City of Spokane should take full advantage of available federal, state, and local resources to make community improvements.
  3. Community Development and housing activities should have a close relationship to "real" needs and current conditions.
  4. Publicly-funded activities should make efficient and effective usage of taxpayer dollars.
  5. Citizens should have equal access to funded programs and services, based upon consistent criteria.

Housing and Community Development Objectives and Priorities

The Community Development Board of the City of Spokane has adopted the following Community Development mission Statement and Priorities in the Context of the Mission Statement:


It is the goal of the Community Development Board to improve the quality of Life of Spokane's low and moderate income citizens through the promotion of decent, affordable housing, a clean environment and the encouragement of citizen participation within neighborhoods.


  1. All Spokane citizens will have decent housing.
  2. Use (CDBG) money to truly benefit low/moderate income persons.

Given the importance of the neighborhood steering committees to the Community Development process in Spokane, the Community Development Board gave each neighborhood the opportunity to respond to an adapted version of the "official HUD" needs and priority form. The Consolidated Plan contains a summary of the response from the neighborhoods. A scoring system was designed, in order to rank the need categories in a "rough priority" order, which is presented in the Consolidated Plan. It provided assistance to the Board in the establishment of "official City priorities" for the required form. The highest ranking of the 68 "needs" were as follows:

  1. Crime awareness/prevention
  2. Sidewalks (repair of existing)
  3. Rehabilitation of owner-occupied housing
  4. Traffic diversions/modifications
  5. Neighborhood clean-up
  6. Parks and/or recreation facilities
  7. Rehabilitation of renter-occupied housing
  8. Youth services
  9. Street paving

Housing Priorities

Priorities were established by the Board for each group identified on the "official HUD form." The priorities were listed as High, Medium, or Low. In the "housing" section each household type was further segregated by income level. High priority was assigned to various groups having "cost burdens" at both the 30% and 50% level (more at the 50% level). Physical defects and overcrowding did not generate any "high" priority ratings.

Various "homeless needs" categories received high priority. These included outreach assessment for families and individuals, emergency shelters for families and persons with special needs, transitional shelters for the same two groups, permanent supportive housing for persons with special needs, and permanent housing for homeless families.

Non-Housing Community Development Priorities

The same method of identifying priorities for non-housing needs was done utilizing the HUD form. Fifteen items received a "high" priority designation out of a list of forty-two. Listed by group, these were as follows:






Anti-Poverty Strategy

From 1980 to 1990, the number of persons living in Spokane with incomes below the poverty level increased from 23,198 to 29,863, a 28.7 % increase. The percentage of persons living in Spokane with incomes below the poverty level increased from 13.9% to 17.3% during the same time period.

The City of Spokane has little control or influence on the primary factors related to poverty, which include (but are not limited to) employment opportunities, wages, redistribution of income, divorce, health problems and mental illness, personal irresponsibility, etc. Outside of matters related to its own employees and the housing programs which are the subject of the Consolidated Plan, the City's primary tools to address poverty are limited to tax policies and to the social service programs that it provides funding for. However, it can be argued that the provision of police and fire protection, good streets and parks, and dependable utilities create an environment in which people and jobs can flourish.

In terms of strategy, the City of Spokane will continue to provide the basic services necessary to provide a good quality of life for its citizens. It will continue to do what it can to create an environment supportive of job retention and expansion. It will consider the impact of its tax policies on low-income residents. It will support social service programs to the extent that it is financially feasible.

Housing and Community Development Resources

The Consolidated Plan contains an extensive listing and description of various federal, state and local resources that are potentially available to carry out housing and community development activities.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

Community Development activities under the Consolidated Plan are managed by the City's Community Development Department, under the policy guidance of the Community Development Board and City Council. The Community Development Department, the Spokane Housing Authority, and Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs are the largest sponsors of housing programs in the City of Spokane. These three agencies have a long history of cooperative interaction in the provision of housing programs. Management of the City's single-family rehabilitation program is contracted out to a private real estate property management company. Coordination of non-profit organization housing activities occurs through the Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium.


Description of Key Projects

The one-year action plan component describes the usage of resources during the 1995 Community Development Program Year (July 1, 1995, to June 30, 1996) to make community development and housing improvements related to the needs and priorities of the Consolidated Plan. The three federal programs allocated in the action plan, and the anticipated amount of funding for each was as follows:

  1. Community Development Block Grant ($4,762,000)
  2. HOME Investment Partnerships Program ($1,397,000)
  3. Emergency Shelter Grant Program ($174,000)

A large array of programs and activities are funded with these resources. Among the most significant are:


Most of the programs and activities described above are carried out in the thirteen community development neighborhoods (see Map #4 at the end of this document). The housing programs are applied throughout these thirteen areas. The three major community centers supported by the program are identified on Map #3. Street and sidewalk projects are carried out based upon current need, neighborhood input, and (for streets) the successful formation of Local Improvement Districts.

Housing Goals

There are a variety of housing programs funded under the Consolidated Plan, offering assistance at various levels. Each program identified "proposed accomplishments" in general terms within the Plan. The housing programs did this in terms of either housing units or households. The following list identifies those proposed accomplishments:

Housing Rehabilitation Program (single-family-CDBG)65 housing units
Minor Home Repair (CDBG)100 households
SHOP home ownership (CDBG)10 households
Habitat for Humanity property acquisition (CDBG)3 housing units
SNAP Down Payment Assistance Program CDBG)10 households
Emergency Repair Program (CDBG)50 households
Housing Rehabilitation Program (single-family-HOME)6 housing units
Multi-family Housing Program (HOME)10 housing units
Tenant-based Rental Assistance (HOME)45 households


MAP 1 depicts minority residence patterns by 1990 Census block group.

MAP 2 depicts unemployment by 1990 Census block groups.

MAP 3 is a map, identifying Community Development Major projects.

MAP 4 is a map, identifying Spokane's Community Development neighborhoods.

To comment on Spokane's Consolidated Plan, please contact:

Dale L. Strom
Ph: (509) 625-6325

Return to Washington's Consolidated Plans.