Faith Community Resources for Affordable Housing: HB 1377

This past legislative session was a strong reinforcement that to address Washington’s housing crises we need to be using every tool, create new opportunities, and leverage all resources. SHB 1377 is a tool for aligning the values of faith communities to serve their neighbors with our region’s need for more housing for our neighbors.

What does 1377 do?

This bill works as an incentive to build affordable housing on faith community owned land. Faith communities who choose to use their land to create homes for their low and middle income neighbors making below 80% Area Median Income receive a density bonus for the development.

A density bonus is a zoning tool that allows a developer to build higher, more units, or with more floor space than normally permitted in that area. Density bonuses are a valuable tool in that they allow for more homes created which can makes it easier for affordable projects to pencil (to work out financially). 1377 also stipulates that building must remain affordable for 50 years. This density bonus is available in any municipality that is planning under the Growth Management Act (GMA).

What it means for King County:

In King County, we have a strong community of faith-based organizations with resources and a desire to use those resources for the public good in line with their congregation’s values. The affordable housing nonprofit sector and the faith communities have a great history of partnership and continually work towards collaboration. 1377 is a way of building on the momentum of many recent examples of these partnerships making a real difference for our neighbors being priced out of our communities.

If we can continue to educate faith communities about this new tool and its potential for maximizing the impact of their developments, we can reach our shared vision of using every tool in the toolbox to create more affordable housing now. 

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