News

Housing Developments: Construction Spice

Putting a bow on #AHW2018

Last week hundreds of community members came together at dozens of events across the county in support of safe, healthy, affordable homes for all as part of our third annual Affordable Housing Week! Check out #AHW2018 and #Homes4AllKC for a rundown, and email your city council to thank them for recognizing the week and encourage them to stay engaged.

#AHW2018 Headlines:

..and finally, our #AHW2018 Theme Song Contest Winner (for the second year in a row) Weber Thompson! Their in-house band “Two Turntables and a Micro House” brought the heat once again with “Imagine Our City.” Come for the tunes, stay for Construction Spice.

Thanks to everyone who participated in Affordable Housing Week! We’ll see you again next year.

Other developments…

  • New “head tax” puts Seattle in the national spotlight. Following Council’s unanimous vote Monday to enact an employee hours tax, folks around the sound and the rest of the country had a lot to say. This week, local outlets have turned speculative, with Seattle Times, KUOW, and Capitol Hill Blog wondering what’s next. Meanwhile, opposition aims for a November referendum.
  • “Zoning is the whole game when it comes to housing,” Maybe not the whole game, but either way, Mike Rosenberg takes a look at Seattle’s single family zoning and finds that 88% of new growth has been absorbed by 18% of its zoned residential land area.
  • Home is a parking spot for thousands in King County. South Seattle Emerald explores what life feels like for people living in their vehicles.
  • How a 2013 motel raid inspired a vision for new affordable homes in Tukwila: KUOW chats with Mohammed Jama about the Abu Bakr mosque’s plans to turn an old motel into new community asset.
  • King County’s homeless population has grown 11.5% since 2017, but funding has increased by less than 2.5% even as public and non-profit agencies move more households out of homelessness. This and more from the McKinsey report, which is partially behind a paywall.
  • An estimated 300 new affordable homes coming to Issaquah after Council approves changes to inclusionary zoning code.  Under the new policy, 15% of new units must be affordable to households earning 70% of AMI, or a developer can build fewer units with deeper levels of affordability.
  • “The crisis of housing and the cost of housing has moved from a social issue to one of core economic competitiveness,” Bellevue Mayor Chelminiak said at the State of the City meeting. 
  • King County taxpayers are paying more to add lanes to freeways into Bellevue than they would to put affordable housing within Bellevue city limits, according to KCHA executive director Stephen Norman.
  • ADU: What’s it 2 U? The City of Seattle is accepting comments on its Accessory Dwelling Unit Draft EIS.
  • “We’re moving outside the box.” King County Housing Authority’s work acquiring properties and leveraging housing choice vouchers to house more people was featured in Slate.
  • New tool in the works to identify publicly-owned land suitable for affordable housing development. Enterprise Community Partners’ Home & Hope tool will map all the public land in King County.
  • Naloxone Training for Case Managers and Housing Providers 6/5: The Coalition on Homelessness and King County Department of Community and Health Services host this free training in Kent. Register here.
  • Affordable developments face land construction costs just like any other building, KING 5 reports. Susan Boyd of Bellwether Housing sums it up her conversation with the news outlet; “Lots of money, land, and political capital are needed to build more.”
  • Washington Home Ownership Resource Center hosts State Homeownership Convening on June 13th in Tukwila: Registration is now open for the third annual statewide homeownership convening!

Housing Developments: Rally with us today and all week long!

Affordable Housing Week kicks off TODAY at noon!

Join the Kick-off!        View Event Calendar

Ensuring everyone in our region has a safe, healthy, and affordable home takes each and every one of us. Affordable Housing Week is a time to celebrate what we have accomplished together and what’s ahead. Join us Monday to kick off our third annual rally and march for #Homes4AllKC!

RALLY & MARCH TO KING COUNTY COUNCIL
12-1:30 pm at SEIU 775,  215 Columbia Street
featuring Rep. Nicole Macri, Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna, and King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci, who will lead us on the short march to King County Council Chambers

KING COUNTY COUNCIL PROCLAMATION
1:30-2 pm King County Council Chambers, 516 Third Avenue
Join us in accepting the King County Council’s Affordable Housing Week proclamation!

No matter who you are or where you live in King County, there is something you can do for housing affordability in your neighborhood. Learn about what you can do and share ideas with others during an event-filled week! See the full calendar here.

Other developments…

  • All eyes on Seattle City Hall as council considers an employee hours tax. Last Friday, the council finance committee voted 5-4 to advance a $75 million ‘head tax’ to the full council, and against a smaller proposal from Mayor Durkan. Council will vote this afternoon on the proposal
  • $360-410 million per year. That’s what it would take to end homelessness in King County at its current levels, according to a new report from McKinsey. It’s also a far greater number than current spending. The report calls for 85% of the extra funding to be investments in affordable housing.
  • “I’d like to live somewhere where I don’t have to have roommates.” Q13 covered last week’s public hearing in District 2 on Mandatory Housing Affordability. The MHA Program is in only six neighborhoods so far, and KUOW offered an early check-in.
  • Mother’s Day-feel good story: Two Men and a Truck’s “Movers for Moms” campaign benefits The Sophia Way.
  • As rents move north, people and businesses go south.  Rising costs are coming to historically black Tacoma neighborhoods, like Hilltop, as Seattle restaurants, along with former Seattle residents, are increasingly moving to south.
  • Twin problems of high cost of living and homelessness top PSRC poll of region worst problems.
  • Scarcity of affordable housing tripping up regional homelessness response, according to a report from the King County Auditor’s Office.
  • Today a Sears Auto Parts, tomorrow, mixed-income housing. Redmond’s Seritage development will include affordable homes and, if city council gets their way, some affordable commercial space, too.
  • New affordable housing coming to Roxy Cinema site in Renton, the developer will use the multi-family tax-exemption to build affordability into their transit-oriented development.
  • Washington Home Ownership Resource Center Forum set for June 13th in Tukwila: Registration is now open for the third annual statewide homeownership convening!

Housing Developments: Not a slow news week.

Affordable Housing Week 2018 kicks off in just one week!

Join Rep. Nicole Macri and Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna as we kick-off our third annual Affordable Housing Week! Register to attend the kick-off on Monday, May 14th at noon at Seattle City Hall. Following a brief kick-off rally, we’ll march down the street to accept the King County Council’s proclamation.

No matter who you are or where you live in King County, there is something you can do for housing affordability in your neighborhood. Learn about what you can do and share ideas with others during an event-filled week! See the full calendar here.

#AHW2018 Theme Song Contest! 

If the thought of safe, healthy, affordable homes for all makes your heart sing, let the world know! Send us a video of you or your team breaking it down for affordable homes by Thursday, May 10th. We’ll announce the winner at our kick off rally on May 14th.

For inspiration, check out last year’s winner Weber Thompson performing their instant classic “Rad Row House.”

Other developments…

  • Seattle Advocates: Three more public hearings on MHA remain! D2, you’re up next. Show up to ensure new growth in Seattle includes affordable homes.
  • It’s National Call-in Day: Urge Congress to fully invest in Affordable Housing Programs! Join The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual Our Homes, Our Voices campaign by calling your congressional representatives about federal affordable housing investments today. View a sample script and dial (202) 224-3121.
  • Every talking head is talking about the head tax As Amazon narrows its highly publicized search for HQ2, this week all eyes are on Seattle. The company halted a downtown project pending next week’s vote on an employee hours tax. Choice words from the headlines include “showdown,” “hardball,” “fury,” “fury” again, and “Seattle nice died.” Looking for an explainer? The Seattle Times examines how we got here, and Geekwire Podcasts audio-friendly version.
  • Sound Transit’s Board is on board for affordability and equity around the county the agency codified internal language to meet 2015 direction from the Legislature. The policies prioritize surplus land for affordable housing, like this.
  • Local leaders should be courageous when tackling homelessness and housing affordability, new research out of Seattle University School of Law says.
  • Amidst soaring costs of living, case workers are ‘a paycheck away from being homeless themselves.’ Local agencies grappling with high turnover get a sympathetic ear from some Seattle City Councilmembers.
  • King County & Seattle sign MOU to restructure regional homelessness response. The County and Seattle will develop recommendations on how to improve the governance structure by December 1st.
  • Rainier Beach ready for REDI: Mt. Baker Housing announced plans for new affordable homes in the first Seattle project funded through Enterprise Community Partners’ REDI Fund.
  • Affordable Housing a talking point for Eastside legislators at East King County Chamber of Commerce event. Representatives from every eastside district were present with ideas ranging from upzones to condominium legislation.
  • Auburn is exploring incentivizing affordability or ‘attainability,’ as Mayor Backus calls it.
  • Nearly 10,000 households live in mobile homes around the county, all of them at risk for redevelopmentsays KCHA Executive Director Stephen Norman.
  • 133 new affordable homes opened in the U-District today! Bellwether Housing held the grand opening ceremony for Arbora Court this morning.

Housing Developments: Our Homes, Our Voices, Our (first) Action for Affordable Homes this Month

Our Homes, Our Voices National Housing Week of Action kicks off May 1

Affordable housing advocates around the country will be calling for increased investments in affordable housing and community development May 1st – 8th as part of the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Our Homes, Our Voices Week of Action. This year, NLIHC and advocates are urging congress to reject HUD’s proposal to increase rent burdens and impose work requirements on those of us with the lowest incomes.

You can join in to their National Call-in Day on May 7th, tweetstorm on May 8th, and by signing their letter to Congress.

 

#AHW2018 Theme Song Contest! 

If the thought of safe, healthy, affordable homes for all makes your heart sing, let the world know! Send us a video of you or your team breaking it down for affordable homes by Thursday, May 10th. We’ll announce the winner at our kick off rally on May 14th.

For inspiration, check out last year’s winner Weber Thompson performing their instant classic “Rad Row House.”

Other developments…

  • This Thursday: Implementing Equity in Self, Staff, and Sector Staff at every level are invited to join HDC’s Recruiting Diversity Task Force on Thursday, May 3 from 9 am-12 pm at the Centilia Cultural Center for the Implementing Equity in Self, Staff, and Sector to share in a facilitated dialogue and to be in a gracious space. Register here.
  • DON of a new era?​ Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan shook up the Department of Neighborhoods Friday. Current Director Kathy Nyland will shift to a senior advisory role in Parks effective 5/16. Taking Nyland’s place as acting director will be Andrés Mantilla. Meanwhile at HSD, concerns about oversight amidst homelessness efforts.
  • A shelter for women and families on the Eastside is scheduled to break ground in 2019, literally and figuratively. The 24/7 shelter will be the first of its kind in East King County.
  • “This is what homelessness looks like for my mom,” thousands of neighbors around King County live in their vehicles, Melody Clark’s mother was one.
  • Rebooting the reboot? Amidst One Table conversations, All Home considers new ways, and potentially new structures, to coordinate homelessness responses around the county.
  • Olympia’s approach to Seattle’s homelessness crisis is to focus on land & other long-term resources Speaker Chopp told the Capitol Hill Community Council last week.
  • Eight finalists have been selected for Kent’s vacant council position.
  • “Generational Friction” and other tensions in Seattle’s zoning debate got national spotlight in Politico last week.
  • Redmond City councilmembers aren’t overlooking Overlake development, urging staff and one another to explore ways to lead on both housing and commercial affordability.
  • Seattle Advocates: Three more public hearings on MHA remain! D2, you’re up next. Show up to ensure new growth in Seattle includes affordable homes.
  • Join Rep. Macri and Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna at our Affordable Housing Week KICK OFF Rally May 14th! Register here.

Housing Developments: Becoming a homeowner means giving up 33 avocado toasts per day.

 New Affordable Housing Week events: Parking Panel and a discussion with Attorney General Bob Ferguson!

The Official Affordable Housing Week 2018 Calendar went live last week, and we’ve already added some new events! Check out these two new opportunities:

  • 50 Years of the Fair Housing Act: A Conversation with Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson 
    Tuesday, May 15th 1-2:30 pm at Seattle Central Library
    A discussion with Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson on the successes, challenges, and future of the Fair Housing Act in its 50th anniversary year. Moderated by Emily Alvarado, Manager of Policy & Equity in the City of Seattle’s Office of Housing.
  • Panel: Right Sizing Parking around King County
    Friday, May 18th 12- 1:30 pm at Smart Buildings Center

    How do local parking requirements impact affordable housing development? Join Daniel Rowe from King County and staff from cities around the County for a panel discussion about parking requirements and how they are changing locally.

No matter where you live in the county, there’s something to do near you- with more still yet to come! Which events catch your eye? Let us know using #AHW2018 on Facebook & Twitter.

You and your organization can join #AHW2018 on social media! View our Social Media Guide for details.

  #AHW2018 Theme Song Contest! 

If the thought of safe, healthy, affordable homes for all makes your heart sing, let the world know!Send us a video of you or your team breaking it down for affordable homes by Thursday, May 10th. We’ll announce the winner at our kick off rally on May 14th.

For inspiration, check out last year’s winner Weber Thompson performing their instant classic “Rad Row House.”

Other developments…

  • HDC Members: Learn at Lunch with JLARC this Thursday, April 26th. Hear from JLARC about their ongoing housing development cost comparison study and share your experience in affordable housing development. Register here.
  • Join us for our upcoming Implementing Equity symposium: staff at any level is invited to join HDC’s Recruiting Diversity Task Force on Thursday, May 3 from 9am-12pm at the Centilia Cultural Center for the Implementing Equity in Staff, Self, and Sector to share in a facilitated dialogue and to be in a gracious space. Event is open to  Register here.

  • HDC is treating the Administrative Professional in your life to Happy Hour this Wednesday. Join us from 5-6:30 PM at Elephant & Castle, especially if the administrative professional in your life is you. RSVP requested.
  • If you’re curious how many avocado toasts you’d need to give up to become a homeowner here, the answer is 33 per day.​ The Seattle Time’s Mike Rosenberg, who brought us that cutting-edge analysis, brought it back to basics last week; asking the question “why are Seattle-area home prices so high?”
  • This year the state legislature voted to #voidSOID by expanding source of income discrimination protections to the whole state. Now King County and local cities are making sure their SOID policies align.
  • Residents of an affordable multi-family development in Issaquah protested actions of their new management company.
  • We’re going to hear a lot about property taxes this election year. Mona Das came out swinging on them as she announced her challenge to Senator Joe Fain (R-47th) for state senate.
  • We’re one public hearing closer to $29 million for affordable housing in Seattle. 
  • Sammamish will host an open house this Wednesday, April 25th on the city’s nascent housing strategy plan. More information is available here.
  • “Fragmented” efforts on homelessness in King County frame conversations at All Home. The county’s coordinating body considers streamlining over two-day discussion.
  • Reports from Seattle City Council staff estimate the employee hours tax could fund 2,000 new affordable homes in five years; the Downtown Seattle Association isn’t on board. Tangenitally related: An affordable housing tax on recreational marijuana might be more than a pipe dream in Denver, the Seattle of Colorado.
  • West Seattle residents expressed interest in community land trust models for permanently affordable housing in the Morgan Junction Urban Village.
  • If you missed last week’s public hearing on MHA, Capitol Hill blog has this very thorough recapTip of the cap to every advocate who showed up to ensure new growth in Seattle includes affordable homes- see if your picture made the article! D2, you’re up next.

Housing Developments: The #AHW2018 Event Calendar is here!

It’s here! The Official Affordable Housing Week 2018 Calendar is live today. No matter where you live in the county, there’s something to do near you- with more still yet to come! Which events catch your eye? Let us know using #AHW2018 on Facebook & Twitter.

Thank you to the many organizations who are sponsoring or hosting an event this year. It would be Affordable Housing Week without you!

More #AHW2018 events are yet to come! Check out our Affordable Housing Week website for updates.

You and your organization can join #AHW2018 on social media! View our Social Media Guide for details. Download PDF Social Media Guide

 

#AHW2018 Theme Song Contest! 

If the thought of safe, healthy, affordable homes for all makes your heart sing, let the world know! Send us a video of you or your team breaking it down for affordable homes by Thursday, May 10th. We’ll announce the winner at our kick off rally on May 14th.

For inspiration, check out last year’s winner Weber Thompson performing their instant classic “Rad Row House.”

 

Other developments…

  • HDC Members: Learn at Lunch with JLARC next Thursday, April 26th. Hear from JLARC about their ongoing cost comparison study and share your experience in affordable housing development. Register here.
  • Join us for our upcoming Implementing Equity symposium: staff at any level is invitied to join HDC’s Recruiting Diversity Task Force on Thursday, May 3 from 9am-12pm at the Centilia Cultural Center for the Implementing Equity in Staff, Self, and Sector to share in a facilitated dialogue and to be in a gracious space. Event is open to  Register here.
  • Lessons for Amazon’s second headquarters city. Most critical? The region’s ability to accommodate new growth.
  • As new apartments come online around Seattle, is relief in sight for renters? 
  • Kent Advocates: how about running for city council? Apply by this Friday April 20th to keep housing issues moving in the city.
  • One Table’s draft recommendations underwhelmed critics, who wanted more homes and revenue sources.
  • King County Housing Authority is selling $162.5 million in bondsin case you’re looking to invest. 
  • Bellevue’s upcoming Neighborhood Conference has some interesting-looking sessions on affordable housing, the eastside rail corridor, and more. It’s next Saturday, April 21st. Register here.
  • Sammamish will host an open house next Wednesday, April 25th on the city’s nascent housing strategy plan. More information is available here.
  • Mercer Island City Councilmember Wendy Weiker is running for state legislature Weiker’s aiming for the 41st LD representative spot open after Rep. Judy Clibborn retired..
  • Ignite Project Homeless wants to hear your homelessness story, especially if you can tell it in twenty fifteen-second slides.
  • Public Benefits 101 Training for Case Managers: The Coalition on Homelessness is offering this training next Tuesday, April 24th. More details and registration are available here.
  • Tonight! Seattle’s public hearings on mandatory housing affordability continue with a public hearing for districts 3 and 7. Planning on attending? Would you like talking points? Contact [email protected].

 

Housing Developments: This week in initialisms & acronyms

Save the date for our third annual Affordable Housing Week, beginning one month from tomorrow. The official event calendar and more exciting news are coming next week. 

Other developments…

  • “Jurisdictions have to have a plan for affordable housing, because the market won’t take care of it.” said one participant at an affordable housing round table hosted by Rep. DelBene in Kirkland last week.
  • NLIHC Day of Thanks tomorrow, April 10th: Use social media to thank Congressional champions who rejected federal budget cuts, instead increasing investment in affordable housing and community development.
  • “If we wait and try for a perfect solution, we’ll never make progress,” one neighbor says as new tiny homes for women go up in Whittier Heights. The village, operated by LIHI, will shelter about 20 women experiencing homelessness. Some tiny homes are coming from the faith community on Mercer Island.
  • Seattle has a new website to help people with low incomes navigate the services available to them. So far, seven of the site’s 103 resources are dedicated to housing, with a new one launching later this month. 
  • Speaking of resource guides, have you seen this new, comprehensive, 132-pager from Real Change? The Emerald City Resource Guide is designed for people who  are experiencing homelessness or are close to it. 
  • Kent Advocates: how about running for city council? Apply by April 20th to keep housing issues (and other developments) moving in the city by filling a spot to be vacated by Councilmember Budell, who has accepted a new job out of state. 
  • Mixed-income housing for older adults in a new mixed-used building in Auburn is coming… one day. The author may be editorializing when he uses the word “labyrinthine,” to describe the development process, but what a great word it is.
  • U-District’s M goes before DRB: The first post-rezone high rise in the University District will go before the design review board today
  • The CD will likely get its own DRB, pending today’s council vote. The Central Area Design Review District and Board will aim to “support equitable and inclusive community engagement and process, specific for those most impacted by displacement.” 
  • For their 30th birthday, SHAG debuts a new meaning for their familiar acronym. 
  • Last week, Seattle got some major parking reform that exempts new affordable developments in certain areas from parking requirements. Curbed brings you this explainer of the reforms, and FYI Guy Gene Balk has all the data you need to impress your friends.
  • Sammamish is collecting input to update the city’s housing strategy plan. Good people of Sammamish, your feedback is requested here by tomorrow, April 10th.
  • Changes in store for Issaquah Highlands & Talus areas? The city’s Planning Policy Commission will consider FAR & structured parking.
  • “A pressure cooker situation” is one way to describe the $43k jump in median home price Seattle experienced last month. Home prices have risen fastest in south Seattle, where a man called Moose has some insight into what’s going on.
  • What impact, if any, does the Rental Assistance Demonstration have on children living in public housing? Yumiko Aratani of Columbia University explores this question at the West Coast Poverty Center’s seminar Monday, April 16th. 
  • Ignite Project Homeless wants to hear your homelessness story, especially if you can tell it in twenty fifteen-second slides. 
  • Matthew Desmond, the author of a true must-read for housing advocates Evicted, & Princeton today launched a new mapping tool to understand eviction. 
  • Next Monday: Seattle’s public hearings on mandatory housing affordability continue with a public hearing for districts 3 and 7. Planning on attending? Would you like talking points? Contact [email protected].

 

Commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington DC

A half century ago last night, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., not feeling well, reluctantly went to the Memphis Mason Temple where many had gathered anticipating inspiration. Once there, he delivered the emotionally charged “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, his last.

On this day, fifty years ago, one intentionally aimed bullet ended his life at the young age of 39. Less than a week after Dr. King’s untimely death, President Johnson took action to enact the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Also known as the Fair Housing Act, this legislation cemented our national intention to end discrimination in housing.

I have a library of Dr. King’s writings, dog-eared after decades of repeat readings. The past few weeks, I have been reading a new one for me: “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” I wanted to dive deep into his thinking during the period after the early successes of the movement, when he grappled with the harsh realization of the deep entrenchment of racism and poverty. Although five decades have passed, it’s hard to reckon with the reality that—while we may have hope and an inkling that we have made progress—we have so much further to go.

In January, I made my way to the King Memorial in Washington, DC. It was dusk on a very cold day, shortly after a recent snowfall. Because I was utterly alone and the snow blanketed the area in silence, it was a profoundly moving experience. I wrestled with how the power of the movement, its leader, and its legacy contrasted with today’s disturbing world, and wondered if it’s possible for us to regain that kind of power and to advance that legacy.

My life journey has taken me to work in places where the movement saw its intense stirring: Montgomery, Albany, Selma, Jackson, Atlanta, Chicago, and Memphis.  Each added a dimension of learning and consciousness…and wonderment about how we ever overcome the magnitude of our history and who we are as a society. These experiences also inform my day-to-day thinking about how we as an association can think, act, and transform like a movement.

The vision of the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County is about making quality and affordable housing accessible to everyone in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. County. In this, our 30th year of existence, we should take stock of our true resolve to tackle structural and institutional racism and to ensure access to housing for everyone in communities of opportunity.  Both stories and statistics tell us we have a mountain of work to do.

Wouldn’t it be great if, in this 30th anniversary year, 30 HDC members conduct the racial equity assessment found in the HDC Racial Equity Toolkit?  If you would like to learn more about how to do this or need special assistance, please let us know. And on May 3, the Recruiting Diversity Task Force will have its third symposium. These offer great resources for working introspectively within our organizations, but they are just the start of the many steps we need to take.

“First, the line of progress is never straight. For a period a movement may follow a straight line and then it encounters obstacles and the path bends. It is like curving around a mountain when you are approaching a city. Often if feels as though you were moving backwards, and you lose sight of your goal: but in fact you are moving ahead, and soon you will see the city again, closer by.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

What do you think? How has Dr. King’s legacy shaped your life and your work? We invite you to share your reflections with us and the HDC membership on social media.

Marty Kooistra
Executive Director
Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County

Housing Developments: Park it for today’s SCC meeting

Seattle City Council Might End Mandatory Parking Minimums for Affordable Housing Today

ICYMI at our Learn at Lunch last Friday, Seattle City Council may vote as soon as today on off-street parking reforms with a big impact on housing affordability in the city. The proposed legislation includes some notable changes for local housers, including:

  • Landlords of certain new developments must unbundle parking from rent, so that tenants who don’t have a car aren’t required to pay to store one.
  • No mandatory parking minimums on housing affordable to households earning 80% AMI or below.
  • Increased requirements for bike parking.

Seattle’s current off-street parking policy is out of line with demand in a time of unparalleled need for urban space, say reform advocates. They note that current requirements are higher than actual demand, leaving about a third of private parking spots in the city unused according to a recent study conducted by the city. At about $50k a piece, those are some expensive vacant stalls. The proposed legislation would allow those spots to be available to the public.

Today’s public hearing begins at 2. If you can’t be there and would like to support the bill, you can send an email.

Other developments…

  • HDC Members: This Friday is the deadline to submit an event for Affordable Housing Week! Check out the website for ideas from last year and use this form to submit yours.
  • Do you know who ‘Kenny’ is? A man who called the streets of the U-District home for over 25 years needs help getting medical services and housing, but can’t access those services because he doesn’t know his name. Do you?
  • King County felt the brunt of property tax increases at the state level, and some homeowners say ‘enough is enough.’ 
  • A judge struck down Seattle’s first-in-time law, but the city is likely to appeal. 
  • Rep. Joan McBride of the 48th Legislative District announced herretirementCurrent Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen will campaign for the spot. HDC thanks Rep. McBride for being a champion for housing during not only her time in the legislature, but throughout her entire career.
  • No decision yet in Firs Mobile Home Park appeal. Residents continue to wait as a judge works through the case’s “voluminous record.”
  • “The Central District is a place whose geography is familiar, but whose people and features are increasingly strange and unrelated to who I am.” Artist and CD homeowner Inye Wokoma’s story brings into sharp relief the impact of systemic racism on housing and wealth building for families of color to this day.
  • 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.
  • The Washington State Convention Center expansion comes with a lot of community benefits- including $29 million for affordable housing. One council member wants more, but the negotiators aren’t so sure. 
  • Your next Seattle apartment is being built in Boise
  • Seattle’s public hearings on mandatory housing affordability continue with a public hearing for districts 3 and 7 is on April 16th.

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!