The first cut-off date of the 2017 Legislative Session is this Friday and these bills need your help to move on, or there just isn’t a future for them!
Click the image of each contestant to send a letter to your representatives urging their support.
Guest Post By HomeSight
For over 25 years, HDC member HomeSight has worked with families to make homeownership a reality. We’ve already created more than 2,000 homeowners and have services available to assist current and potential homeowners – whatever the situation!
NeighborhoodLIFT Seattle/King County, a partnership between HomeSight, HDC member Wells Fargo, and NeighborWorks® America, is part of a national down payment assistance program designed to boost homeownership and revitalize neighborhoods. Wells Fargo has committed $5 million to the program and eligible homebuyers can receive matching funds up to $7,500 to use toward down payment and closing costs on qualified homes.
Interested homebuyers are encouraged to join HomeSight and Wells Fargo for the NeighborhoodLIFT launch event July 8th and 9th at the Westin Seattle to learn more about this program open to first-time homebuyers, ready again homebuyers, and living trusts in Seattle and King County. You can register for the event online. Walk-ins will be welcome on a first-come-first-served basis while funds are still available. Doors open at 10 a.m. with appointments until 6 p.m.
Agency Spotlight: Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County
Habitat Seattle-King County is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, renovating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions.
Iulia knew her son would be excited when he saw what would be his new home, but she never expected him to be so delighted by a closet.
The house was still under construction when Iulia brought six-year old Nicolae to see its progress. To her surprise, he was immediately drawn to the small, “Harry Potter-style” coat closet under the stairs.
He thought this was going to be his new bedroom.
“Nicolae entered that little closet, and it just seemed so big to him!” Iulia remembers. “He was like, ‘Oh mom! I’m gonna have my own room!’”
Nicolae and his parents moved to Renton from the Eastern European nation of Moldova when he was a year and a half old. The the family of three had been living in a one-bedroom apartment so small that the cat had learned to sleep along the wall to avoid being stepped on. By the time Iulia’s daughter Vera was born, four people were living in the tiny, crowded space. Nicolae was so accustomed to cramped living conditions, even sleeping in a closet under the stairs would have seemed like a luxury. Read More
Places to Be
Join us as we celebrate Affordable Housing Week 2016! Nineteen cities and King County have pledged their support and recognition for this new annual tradition that the Housing Development Consortium is kicking off in partnership with dozens of local organizations to highlight the need for affordable housing in cities all throughout King County. Together, we will show why affordable housing is so important in all of our communities, and we will demonstrate the support for our movement to ensure that all people have the chance to live in safe, healthy, affordable homes within communities of opportunity.
Please plan to join us at our Kickoff Celebration and Elected Officials Reception!
Spring is showing itself to be the season of new beginnings and new opportunities for those in the SKHHP community! This month, we’ll see the opening of Valley Cities Phoenix Rising, a project that will provide supported housing, job training, and services to young adults experiencing homelessness. We’re gearing up for the first annual Affordable Housing Week, a new opportunity to highlight the need for and impact of affordable housing throughout King County. And as we continue to shift how our community provides coordinated entry into our homeless housing systems, we see new funding opportunities, new partnerships and collaborations, and ongoing opportunities for your voice to make a difference in how our region will respond collectively to this housing crisis. Many of these opportunities are listed below, but as always, please reach out to me if you are looking to engage and have your voice heard! — Joy Scott, SKC Housing Planner Read More
The 2016 Legislative Session may have ended, but there are still plenty of ways to stay engaged in housing advocacy! Join HDC for the upcoming Advocacy Week, a new annual tradition that the Housing Development Consortium is kicking off to organize a series of community efforts highlighting the need for affordable housing in cities all throughout King County. Taken together, this will shine a spotlight on the need for affordable housing regionally, and will demonstrate the support for the movement to provide all people with the chance to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home in a community of opportunity. For more information, and to register to receive updates, click here! As always, if you have any questions or would like to find out how to become more engaged with SKHHP, don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Joy Scott, SKC Housing Planner Read More
Questions of best practices, capacity, and resources have weighed heavily this month, as many of us have been wondering about the right approach to address the housing and homelessness crisis our region is experiencing. In the past two weeks, we’ve seen dozens of cities come together to explore local and regional models of addressing homelessness. Many communities are having internal conversations, bringing together community members, service providers, the business community, and others to increase their understanding of the issue and decide on community actions. South King County had a strong presence at the recent Cities Convening on Homelessness, and I look forward to continuing to work with you all as we address this crisis, and continue to demonstrate South King County’s regional, unified voice.
– Joy Scott, SKC Housing Planner
Three years ago, the City of Renton entered into an exciting and unusual partnership with the Renton Ecumenical Association of Churches (REACH). The city offered the old jail space in the city hall building for use as a day center, if REACH could fund and make the required renovations to re-purpose it. REACH held a successful fundraising campaign, and in May of 2013, the Center of Hope opened. Read More
We’re fast approaching HDC’s Celebration on March 29.
By Marty Kooistra, Executive Director
I’m absolutely thrilled that this year’s HDC Celebration will feature a keynote by author and activist Jonathan Kozol. Summarizing Mr. Kozol’s awards, honors, passions, and achievements of the last few decades would require, at the very least, a full article of its own.
Suffice it to say there’s no one with a deeper understanding of, and concern for, the issues at the nexus of poverty, homelessness, diversity, equity, and education than Jonathan Kozol. What could possibly be more relevant to the mission of HDC members and to HDC’s recent Housing and… programming? Jonathan Kozol is truly one of the rock stars of social justice. And this is truly not an event you want to miss.
After each annual celebration, I ask our board if we’ll be doing another luncheon the following year. When the answer comes back a strong Yes!, I ask a follow up question as to what the event’s purpose should be. Is it:
- A celebration of the success of our members, or
- A time of education and inspiration, or
- A chance to network and catch up, or
- An opportunity for elected officials to interact with and sense the breadth of the movement, or
- A way to raise some needed resources?
And last year, each of these options generated a lot of enthusiasm. That’s a big mandate. But it’s one your little but mighty HDC staff, and incredibly dedicated event committee, took to heart. Read More
As we move further into 2016, we’ve been working to determine what we want to collectively accomplish as the South King Housing and Homelessness Partnership. Members of the Homelessness Action Committee and Joint Planners and Developers workgroup have each met to identify priorities and opportunities for action this year. For more information on the policies and practices we’ve identified that could help to address affordable housing and homelessness issues in our region, click here. And as always, feel free to contact me (email@example.com) with any questions!
— Joy Scott, SKC Housing Planner
Places to Be
The Puget Sound Regional Council is hosting a peer networking series focused on best practices and resources for local planning and implementation. The March 17th panel discussion and webinar will be focused on partnerships for affordable housing, with the topic of “Models of Cross-Jurisdictional Coordination from Around the Region to Produce and Preserve Affordable Housing.” Get more information, including how to sign up for this and future events here.
As we move further into February, it’s clear that legislative session is in full swing! South King County housing advocates have been in Olympia this month sharing information with their legislators about important housing policies and opportunities. Here are the most recent updates:
- Housing Trust Fund: The Housing Trust Fund provides homes for low- and moderate- income families and individuals like entry-level teachers, service industry workers, people with special needs, the elderly and persons with disabilities. It is funded through the capital budget and paid for by selling bonds that are paid off over time. Housing advocates have asked for a capital budget allocation of $10 million this year for the HTF. There is still time to send messages of support to the House and Senate!
- Preservation Property Tax Exemption (SB 6239): This bill would give local jurisdictions the option to create a 15 year local property tax exemption for property owners in the private market who agree to set aside 25% of their buildings for low income tenants with an income up to 60% of the area median family income. This is an especially helpful tool for suburban communities to maintain existing housing stock while improving the housing health and quality for low income residents. This bill is awaiting a vote on the Senate floor, and would need to be passed out by 5pm tomorrow (2/17).
- Source of Income Discrimination (HB 1565): The proposed Source of Income Discrimination bill would prevent landlords from discriminating against a prospective renter solely based on their source of income, such as SSDI or a Section 8 voucher. The Senate bill died, but House Bill 1565 passed out of House Judiciary on 2/4 and is currently sitting in the House Rules Committee.
- Evictions compromise bill (SB 6413/HB 2811): This bill ends the practice of reporting all evictions as equal, creates and defines portable tenant screening reports, and provides landlords with an additional 7 days (bringing the total to 21) to postmark tenant security deposit returns. Both the House bill and the Senate bill passed out of committee unanimously. The Senate bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and has moved to the House.