Glossary

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) A secondary living unit that is located on the same property lot as a primary living unit. Usually, the secondary unit is smaller than the primary structure. An ADU may be detached (a "DADU") or attached or integrated into the primary living unit.
Affordable Housing This is a somewhat amorphous term, so we try to avoid using it in a regulatory context. But the US Department of Housing and Urban Development says that housing is "affordable" to a given household when the total cost of that housing (rent or mortgage, insurance, tax, and utilities) does NOT exceed 30% of the household's total income. See Housing Cost-Burdened.
Area Median Income (AMI) AMI is the midpoint of an area's income distribution, where 50 percent of households earn above the median figure while 50 percent earn less than the median. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) calculates that in 2022 the Area Median Income in the Mt. Vernon-Anacortes area is $86,100 for a family of four.
Chronic Homelessness People in this group have disabilities and have also: (1) been continuously homeless for at least a year; or (2) experienced homelessness at least four times in the last three years for a combined length of time of at least a year. According to NAEH, chronically homeless individuals are currently 19 percent of the homeless population.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) The federal CDBG program provides annual grants to states, cities, and counties to develop viable urban communities. The aim is to provide decent housing and to expand economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons.
Cottage Housing Mildly dense, small-scale housing, often built around a common area or courtyard. Under Anacortes code, "cottage housing" units are 1,200 square feet or less. Because of their small size and density these units are often modestly priced.
Housing Cost-Burdened HUD defined cost-burdened families as those who pay more than 30% of their income for housing. Cost-burdened families may still be able to pay for housing, but may consequently have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation, and medical care.
HUD US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the cabinet-level department of the federal government that provides federal funding and sets standards for housing.
Low-Income Housing Housing for individuals or families with low incomes, generally with income limits on who is eligible to occupy such housing. Such housing may be, but is not always, subsidized with public money.
Market-Rate Housing Housing where the rental or sales price is set by the market, without any constraint on the price from subsidy, regulation, or other non-market mechanism.
Median Family Income (MFI) See Area Median Income. MFI is AMI adjusted for household size.
Missing Middle Housing Describes a range of multi-family or clustered housing types that are compatible in scale with single-family or transitional neighborhoods. Buildings range in size and density between a single-family detached home and a mid-rise apartment building. Missing middle housing is intended to meet the demand for walkable neighborhoods, respond to changing demographics, and provide housing at different price points.
Permanent Supportive Housing Housing that addresses the needs of chronically homeless people by providing affordable housing assistance with voluntary support services. These services are designed to build independent living and tenancy skills and connect people with community-based health care, treatment, and employment services.
Public Housing A HUD program aim at providing decent, safe, affordable rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single-family houses to high rise apartments for elderly families. Our local public housing is provided by the Anacortes Housing Authority.
Rent Control Rent control is a government-imposed limit on the amount a landlord can charge, or increase, for renting a home. The State of Washington does not allow cities to adopt rent control laws. Economists generally oppose rent control, because it disincentivizes new investment in housing supply.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) A federal income benefits program that provides financial assistance to Americans with disabilities. The Social Security Administration defines a disabling condition as one that prevents you from doing the work you did before you became disabled, prevents you from doing other work despite your disability, and has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months or to end in your death. SSDI does not provide any benefits for partial or short-term disability. SSDI is an earned benefit, meaning that in order to qualify, you must have previously paid into the program and have accumulated enough credits to be eligible.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) A Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxees) that provides monthly payments to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income, meet meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. A person may qualify for both SSDI and SSI.
Subsidized Housing Housing that is priced below market rate as a way to assist people with lower incomes who cannot afford market rate housing. In the United States, "subsidized housing" is often called "affordable housing," but this website avoid confusing those two concepts.