Housing Developments: Not-so-ominous Omnibus

Cantwell-Hatch Provisions in Omnibus Bill Bring Unexpected Good News for Affordable Housing

Late last week Congress and the president approved the omnibus spending bill, averting a government shut down and- somewhat surprisingly– bringing good news to the affordable housing community. That’s because the spending bill includes a four-year, 12.5% increase in housing tax credit allocations and allows income-averaging at LIHTC-financed properties. Both provisions come from theAffordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, a 2016 bill by our own Senator Maria Cantwell and Utah’s Senator Orrin Hatch. Since its introduction, the bill has had wide-spread bipartisan support.

The income averaging provision, which is permanent, means that households earning up to 80% of area median income can live in LIHTC-financed properties so long as the average income of all residents remains at 60%. The 12.5% increase will not fully make up for projected reduction in development caused by the tax reform bill, but it is an important first step. The ACTION campaign reports it will support the development or rehabilitation of 29,000 new affordable rental homes nationwide.

Senator Cantwell will hold a press event tomorrow to celebrate, and all are welcome. Join at Patrick Place Apartments, 4251 Aurora Avenue N, Seattle, WA 98103 beginning at 11:15 pm. RSVP to [email protected] or call 202-579-6002.

Other developments…

  • HDC Members: Got questions about parking requirements and reforms? Join us this Friday for a Learn at Lunch on Parking. Register here and bring your lunch!.
  • City of Kent unanimously adopted a proactive rental licensing and inspections program! The new program protects renters from sub-standard living conditions and takes some of the burden of reporting them off of renters, though they still have that option. Kent residents, send your council a thank you here.
  • Seattle is tied with Denver for lowest housing inventory in the nation, as homeowners delay selling out of fear they couldn’t buy in the market.
  • The King County Council wants to see innovative responses to housing demand and Vashon looks to deliver. A development in planning stageswould bring 40 new, affordable, and green homes to the island.
  • Land transfers can make affordable housing development a reality and the state just made it easier for some agencies do them. Real Change explores land transfers here.
  • Speaking of land transfers, here’s a great story that begins in a refugee camp and ends at Nhon’s Place, but it probably doesn’t go the way you think it does.
  • Sammamish has begun collecting input to update the city’s housing strategy plan. Good people of Sammamish, your feedback is requested here by April 10th.
  • “What is it going to take to keep you and your family housed right now?”New data from King County shows that question led to solutions for 4,000 people who were able to keep themselves housed with help from the Best Starts for Kids initiative.
  • A vision of affordable housing surrounded by immigrant-run shops in downtown Tukwila, made possible with help from a land trust, detailed here.
  • Seattle’s open houses on mandatory housing affordability continue with districts 3 and 7 this Thursday. The public hearing for these districts is on April 16th.

Did we miss something? Let us know!