Let’s Get to Work on New Funding Source for Affordable Homes!

This past legislative session our legislators gave us another tool to locally address our housing crises. Passing HB 1406 at the state level was just the fist step, now it’s time to engage at the city and county level to implement this significant tool! 

What is HB 1406?

In Washington, we have a sales tax. The revenue from that tax has historically gone back to the state to fund the state budget. Because our need for housing is tremendous, we need levers of power and funding at every level local, state, and federal to collaborate and think creatively about leveraging resources. HB 1406 allows local governments, cities and counties, to keep a portion of the sales tax and use it for affordable housing. This is not an additional tax, but rather keeps the revenue and its impact local.

How will it work? 

The legislation set it up so that cities and counties could share the revenue. If a city adopts a resolution to retain a portion of the sales tax (in this case that would by .0073%), then the county receives the other half. If a city does not adopt a resolution, the county gets the full authority (.0146). These funds will be used to preserve and produce affordable housing, and for cities with population under 400,000 the funds can be used for rental assistance.

What’s the impact?

This is a significant new funding tool that doesn’t add an additional tax while at the same time giving cities and counties a stronger tool to address their local housing crises. That is why it’s important to leverage this new tool to ensure the resources have the greatest impact on production, preservation and operation of affordable housing . By pooling resources at the sub-regional level through existing partnerships like ARCH on the Eastside and SKHHP in South King County, it would allow cities to act now to meet the tremendous need in our region. Cities outside of these partnership are encouraged to also think and act collaboratively by entering into an agreement with the County to use their revenue with a regional lens . This is also an opportunity to make sure these resources are addressing the biggest need and largest gap. By using these funds for people making less than 30% of area median income and on supportive housing, we can use these funds for the most vulnerable in our communities.

What needs to happen right now? 

Timeline: The need for housing is urgent, and the state has put a time frame on this legislation. The bill gives 6 months for cities and counties to declare a resolution that they intend to utilize this funding tool and then 12 months to act to implement! What this means is that we need to act now and act together!

Use these graphics to educate your communities on the importance of 1406!