The conversation surrounding Olympia’s proposed zoning code changes resonates with me as a former renter and current owner. In both positions, I have been the beneficiary of Missing Middle housing.
My husband and I moved to Olympia in 2012, hoping to buy a home and start a family. In the meantime, we were lucky to rent a unique duplex in an established west side neighborhood.
We were about to make an offer on a single-family home when we discovered I was pregnant. We couldn’t afford both the mortgage and child care. We let the house go, believing we had lost our last chance to own. The Olympia housing market was quickly growing out of reach.
This changed when our landlord offered to sell us the building in which we lived. The lender allowed us to factor income from the other unit as part of our financing. Without that, we would not be homeowners today.
Now our duplex is key to both our housing and retirement security. As time goes by, we look forward not just to increased equity, but also to growing rental income from our second unit. There are a lot of small owners like us in Olympia: people relying on extra income while offering affordable housing to others. For us and our tenants, Missing Middle housing is a win/win.
The proposed changes would allow more people this kind of opportunity with duplexes, triplexes, backyard apartments, and more. Let’s make housing in Olympia more attainable by approving the Missing Middle.