Yakima County has a poverty level more than twice that of the state. In downtown Yakima, the poverty level raises to over 90% in some neighborhoods. Many minority families have larger than average family sizes and need larger homes or apartments to prevent overcrowding. There is simply not enough affordable housing in this bracket or any other to satisfy the need. Half of the housing inventory in Yakima is older than 1970 and another 21% between 1970 and 1979. Many of our landlords live entirely out of the area so upkeep and maintenance are often a serious issue. In Yakima County, a little over half of all renters are already spending more than 30% of their household income on housing; some nearly all.
Interim budget cuts prior to the approved biennium resolution have drastically hit some of the hardest pressed households in our community. There have been sweeping cuts in TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), formerly Welfare. There have been large cuts in health care, including Medicare Part D and the School Based Medical Medicaid. Food Assistance was also cut hard.