In October, 2021, the City Council approved the Housing Action Plan (HAP) for Federal Way. This plan provides a strategic road map for actions the city can take to encourage housing production, greater housing diversity, and expand housing choices for residents of all income levels. The HAP includes an assessment of housing needs, community and stakeholder engagement, and housing policy and code review used to inform objectives and implementing strategies to address housing needs.

The Approved Housing Action Plan is available for public review.

Housing Action Plan     

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Housing Objectives

  • Promote new market-rate and affordable housing construction that expands housing choices and is inclusive to community needs.
  • Encourage homeownership opportunities and support equitable housing outcomes.
  • Plan for forecasted growth and ensure the built environment promotes community development and increases the quality of life for Federal Way’s existing and future residents.
  • Preserve existing affordable housing stock to reduce displacement pressure.

Implementation Strategies

Click the strategies below to learn more:

  1. Promote a dense, walkable, and mixed-use City Center.
  2. Promote mixed-use, walkable subareas and neighborhood centers.
  3. Increase diversity in housing choice through expanding β€œmissing middle” development opportunities.
  4. Encourage accessory dwelling unit (ADU) production.
  5. Ensure that financial and regulatory incentives for mixed-income housing are effective.
  6. Review school impact fees on multifamily housing.
  7. Coordinate affordable housing development and preservation with nonprofit developers, community groups, and the South King Housing and Homelessness Partners (SKHHP).
  8. Protect tenants and support pathways to homeownership.

Housing Needs

South King County Results (prepared by ECONorthwest)

The City of Federal Way participated in a factual examination of the housing needs within six jurisdictions in South King County.  The examination not only provided information about housing within the entire sub-area region but also within each individual city involved in the study allowing us to see housing data in the City compared to other cities around us. These facts are essential as we examine ways in which our community meets housing needs. Data from this study can be found at South King County Sub-Regional Housing Action Plan Framework 2020 for Federal Way.

Federal Way Housing Needs Assessment (prepared by BERK, Consulting Inc.)

This Housing Needs Assessment presents an evaluation of current housing needs and supply in Federal Way, across the full spectrum of household types and income levels. This assessment will help evaluate potential options and guide implementation so that the Housing Action Plan plan strategies are based on data and connect to the needs of residents.

  • Nearly 40% of all households in Federal Way (over 13,000 households in total) are cost-burdened. This means they spend more than 30% of their gross income on housing costs. These households have less money available for other essentials, like food, clothing, transportation, and medical care. The cost burden is most common among both owner and renter households with incomes below 50% of area median income (AMI). Black, indigenous, and persons of color (BIPOC) households disproportionately experience housing cost burdens compared to White households.
  • The rate of new housing construction in Federal Way is not keeping pace with demand or comprehensive plan growth targets. One reason is the lack of multifamily housing construction since mid-2017 following a temporary moratorium on multifamily housing permits and an increased impact fee to support the Federal Way School District. There has also been a lack of β€œmissing middle” housing such as townhomes and multiplex formats. The underproduction of housing is contributing to intense competition for available housing, which is driving up housing costs faster than the incomes of residents.
  • Federal Way needs to add approximately 6,800 new units before 2040 to accommodate expected population growth and account for past underproduction. This equates to an average production of 339 units each year, a 68% increase over recent housing production trends.

The city needs a diversity of new housing types, including both rental and ownership units that cater to a variety of income levels and housing needs to grow in a balanced manner. This includes β€œmissing middle” housing types such as townhomes and condominiums that can support more affordable homeownership opportunities.

Public Engagement

Public engagement is important to the development of policies and plans to guide the City’s future. Outreach and engagement objectives for this plan include the following:

  • Clearly communicate the project’s purpose and process so the community is well-informed. Join the interested parties list by signing up for an E-Newsletter.
  • Build project support through outreach and engagement efforts that invite thoughtful, meaningful input.
  • Actively solicit questions, priorities, and concerns from a variety of groups and individuals including residents, businesses, property owners, housing providers, real estate professionals, housing developers.
  • Seek perspectives of parties that may be affected by the plan, including those who have a high risk of displacement.

Housing Options/Preference Survey

As part of the Housing Action Plan, the City is considering new options for housing types to be allowed in different parts of Federal Way. The survey included images of several housing types and design examples that could be allowed and encouraged. We heard from approximately 220 residents about their preferences on which design features/attributes are most important when integrating new housing into the community. Thank you to those who took the survey.

Advisory Group

Federal Way has formed an Advisory Group to help develop the HAP. It is comprised of people who represent many different aspects of housing in the community.


  Washington Multi-Family Housing Association      Brett Waller

  Family Northwest Development                             Brett Jacobsen

  Chamber of Commerce                                          Rebecca Martin

  Multi-Service Center                                               Robin Corak

  BECU Mortgage Advisor                                         Melinda Weber

  El Centro de la Raza                                               Miguel Maestas

  Korean Community                                                 Mike Park

  Federal Way School District                                    Sally McLean

  Integrity Life Church                                                Pastor Joe Bowman

  King County Housing Authority                               Daniel Landes 

Advisory Group Meetings

  • October 1, 2020 – 1st Meeting: Housing Context  – Agenda
  • October 22, 2020 – 2nd Meeting: Housing Needs Assessment - Agenda
  • November 19, 2020 – 3rd Meeting: Housing Solutions - Agenda
  • February 18, 2021 - 4th Meeting: Housing Objectives and Strategies - Agenda

Other Public Participation Opportunities

Join the interested parties list by signing up for an E-Newsletter. City staff will maintain a list of interested parties who will receive electronic notification of public meetings, project milestones, and participation opportunities. 

Please contact us with any questions you might have at (253) 569-1772 or