AARP Eye Center
House Bill 1337, sponsored by Rep. Mia Gregerson (D-SeaTac) and Rep. Andrew Barkis (R-Chehalis), eases the construction and use of accessory dwelling units. The bill passed off the House floor with a vote of 81-15.
Last month, AARP and housing advocates set up a model ADU on the State Capitol lawn to help bring attention to the legislative effort to support flexible housing options for people of all ages. AARP surveys show that 75% of adults aged 50 and older want to stay in their own homes and communities as they age. Accessory dwelling units allow homeowners to choose where they age while providing a path to easing Washington's severe housing shortage.
“ADUs can fill several roles, like providing a place for an aging parent to live instead of a nursing home,” said Cathy MacCaul, AARP Washington Advocacy Director. “ADUs can be used as living quarters for a caregiver or a relative who requires care, or for an adult child who may need to return home after college, has lost a job, or for one of many life-changing moments. ADUs can also be used for additional finances for someone on a fixed income.”
HB 1337 approaches the housing crisis by reducing regulatory barriers for homeowners who want to build affordable housing in their backyards. It is a common-sense, cost-effective approach that will make good use of existing property throughout the state while easing the housing crisis.
"We've got to reduce the cost to do that, and then of course have streamlined permitting processes so that once a family or a person wants to permit and build one, they're not having to push through a ton of red tape, and they can actually get the job done,” said Representative Gregerson.
With the number of Americans over the age of 65 expected to more than double from 40 million to 81 million by 2040, it is paramount that policymakers work to maintain and create housing options and communities that meet the needs of older adults and facilitate aging in place.
According to AARP’s 2021 Home and Community Preference Survey:
- 70% percent of adults 65+ would consider living in an ADU if they needed help with everyday activities
- 62% of older adults would consider building an ADU for their loved ones, relatives, and friends.
- 25% of those polled said they would create an ADU for a place for a caregiver to stay.
According to a Statista/AARP analysis of data available by the United States Census Bureau (USCB), in 2023, more than 6,000 older adults (aged 55+) are expected to be evicted, and close to 7,000 older adults (aged 55+) are expected to experience homelessness in 2023 in the state of Washington. HB 1337 would help ease the housing supply and lower the eviction and homelessness rate by providing affordable housing to the residents of Washington.
“ADUs are a way to develop affordable housing, but many towns and cities still don’t have policies that make it easy to get planning approval,” said MacCaul. “To create more housing that is affordable and slow sprawl, we need to pass laws, like HB 1337, to remove restrictions that hinder such development.”
More information about ADUs and House Bill 1337 can be found at www.aarp.org/makeroomforfamilywa