News

Housing Developments: A civic Rorschach test

Ft. Lawton public hearing tomorrow, 1/9

The Stranger calls it a “civic Rorschach test.” Fenced-off, vacant, surplus public land in Magnolia could become the site of over 200 affordable homes, but only with support from Seattle neighbors. The Seattle Office of Housing is accepting public comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement and an open house is scheduled for Tuesday, January 9th. Affordable housing advocates, are you ready? Submit a comment and RSVP here. Arrive early if you’d like to speak. We’ve got stickers and snacks to go around!

Other Developments…

  • HDC Members: Register now for a Racial Equity Toolkit Workshops this Friday, Jan 12th! Learn why the racial equity lens is critical to your work, commit to action steps identified in the toolkit, and more. Join us in-person or virtually for one of two sessions offered.

  • A Monday of Olympic proportions: the Washington State legislature convenes today to begin a 60-day session. A top priority for Democrats and Republicans is passing a Capital budget and, hopefully, investing in the Housing Trust Fund. (Hint: Give them a nudge!)

  • King County seeks your input on how to implement the Vets, Seniors, and Human Services Levy! Attend a feedback session in Bothell, Auburn, Issaquah, or Seattle. Details and registration here.

  • Parking lot of ideas: The PLUZ committee of the Seattle City Council is reviewing a suite of parking reforms that could impact how we build affordable homes. 

  • Home prices are predicted to drop under the new tax law, but that isn’t necessarily good news in high-cost locales like King County. Curbed looks at what will happen in our market and others here.

  • A new shelter opens this month for families experiencing homelessness in Federal Way.

  • Good news on the Eastside: The Sophia Way is planning a permanent shelter for women and a local safe parking program got a pretty cool upgrade for their four-legged residents. And then there’s this story… I’m not crying, you’re crying.

  • BREAKING: Rising Rents Drive Homelessness according to research from Zillow, which correctly predicted the results of 2017 Point-in-Time counts of people experiencing homelessness. Speaking of point-in-time counts…

  • Count Us In, All Home’s annual census of people experiencing homelessness, is now accepting volunteers. The count will take place in the early morning hours of Friday, January 26th. 

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Housing Developments: Stick a fork in 2017

We did a lot together in 2017. Thank you.

Last year we passed the Vets, Seniors, and Human Services Levy, made room for affordable housing in more neighborhoods through inclusionary zoning, protected whole cities from source of income discrimination, and so much more. 

None of those great things would have happened without you. Thank you for staying engaged, taking action, and contributing to the movement for safe, healthy, and affordable homes for all. We can’t wait to keep advocating with you in 2018.

Other Developments…

  • King County seeks your input on how to implement the Vets, Seniors, and Human Services Levy! Attend a feedback session in Bothell, Auburn, Issaquah, or Seattle. Details and registration here.

  • Seattle is entering the third year of its declared homelessness emergency with a rising death toll, but a new strategy.

  • National Development Council Training Opportunity for HDC Members: Through a partnership with the NDC, HDC members are entitled to a 27% discount on select NDC trainings. Details and registration here

  • Fort Lawton Update: Fenced-off, vacant, surplus public land in Magnolia could become affordable homes, but only with support from Seattle neighbors. The Seattle Office of Housing is accepting public comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement and an open house is scheduled for Tuesday, January 9th. Affordable housing advocates, are you ready? Submit a comment and RSVP here.

  • HDC Members: Register now for a Racial Equity Toolkit Workshops on Friday, Jan 12th! Learn why the racial equity lens is critical to your work, complete a self-assessment, commit to action steps identified in the toolkit, and more. Join us in-person or virtually for one of two sessions offered.

  • Imagine Housing broke ground on 63 new affordable homes for families at 30Bellevue! Here’s a story on this fantastic development, which broke ground on the 12th.

  • 176 affordable homes are coming to Issaquah! The transit-oriented development will leverage the multi-family tax exemption.

  • The Kent City Council denied a request from Federal Way Public Schools to increase impact fees in 2018.

  • Crosscut talked to local non-profits, including affordable housing developers, to get a sense of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will impact their work. Meanwhile, homeowners are trying to prepay their property taxes to avoid the 2018 increase.

  • Count Us In, All Home’s annual census of people experiencing homelessness, is now accepting volunteers. The count will take place in the early morning hours of Friday, January 26th. 

    What did we miss? Email us with suggestions.
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Housing Developments: “A down payment on an affordable future.”

921 new affordable homes coming to Seattle!

Mayor Durkan’s office announced this morning the city will invest just over $100 million in affordable homes for people with low incomes and those experiencing homelessness. Calling the investment “a downpayment on an affordable future,” Mayor Durkan noted that 896 new affordable apartments and 25 new homeownership opportunities would be created. The funding will also preserve 535 currently affordable homes. 

Other Developments…

  • Congress votes tomorrow on a final tax bill. The tax exemption for private activity bonds has been spared, but the final version still leaves a lot to be desired. 
  • National Development Council Training Opportunity for HDC Members: Through a partnership with the NDC, HDC members are entitled to a 27% discount on select NDC trainings. Details and registration here
  • Fort Lawton Update: Fenced-off, vacant, surplus public land in Magnolia could become affordable homes, but only with support from Seattle neighbors. The Seattle Office of Housing is accepting public comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement and an open house is scheduled for Tuesday, January 9th. Affordable housing advocates, are you ready? RSVP here.
  • HDC Members: Register now for a Racial Equity Toolkit Workshops on Friday, Jan 12th! Learn why the racial equity lens is critical to your work, complete a self-assessment, commit to action steps identified in the toolkit, and more. Join us in-person or virtually for one of two sessions offered.
  • Kirkland zoning amendments will be informed by updated geological data thanks to a team of UW researchers. Enhanced data help ensure structures have the best available information to prepare for natural disasters.
  • Kent City Councilmembers approved an increase in property taxes to cover a general fund budget gap.
  • Bellevue City Council passed a number of amendments to the city’s Comprehensive Plan, inlcuding adopting guiding principles for East Main redevelopment.
  • Executive Constantine announced a shift in funding priorities towards homelessness prevention.
  • Count Us In, All Home’s annual census of people experiencing homelessness, is now accepting volunteers. The count will take place in the early morning hours of Friday, January 26th. 

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Housing Developments: Things that shouldn’t need to be said

Tax Reform Conference Committee begins work this week

Affordable housing advocates haven’t had a moment to rest this year, and it doesn’t look like there will be a break in the action just yet. The National Low Income Housing Coaltion put out a call today for advocates to:

More info and talking points at our tax reform hub and @HDC_SeaKC.

Other Developments…

  • With a median rent of $1,448, Seattle is the fifth most expensive big city in the United States. Here’s what you can rent for that. 

  • New folks moving to Seattle out-number new apartments going up by a 7:1 ratio, finds Erica C. Barnett of The C is for Crank. The same is true for King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties.

  • ‘Moore’ protections for renters? Crosscut went to the Moore Apartments in Capitol Hill and dove into Councilmember Sawant’s proposed legislation aimed at reducing economic evictions.

  • The Kirkland Housing Strategy Advisory Group hosted a packed house workshop on the city’s draft Housing Strategy Plan last weekend.

  • A new Community Service Area plan passed by the King County Council last week intends to bring more affordable housing to Vashon-Maury Island.

  • The clock is ticking for a Seattle task force to find revenue for homelessness services

  • A non-profit senior housing facility in Redmond is looking to expand. Emerald Heights got help from density bonuses, but is facing resistance from some neighbors.

  • Seattle: Ask not what your Design Review Board can do for you, ask what you can do for your Design Review Board. Bring your knowledge to the table and apply by December 15th.

  • In Issaquah, where a councilmember-elect is moving out of the city due to lack of affordable housing, a plan emerges for 176 affordable homes near the transit center

  • Count Us In, All Home’s annual census of people experiencing homelessness, is now accepting volunteers. The count will take place in the early morning hours of Friday, January 26th. 

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Housing Developments: Taxing headlines worth being riled up over

Two tax bills, but no tax law yet.

The Senate passed its tax bill, HR 1,  at 2 am EST Saturday, only hours after a final draft of the bill had been finalized. Two days later, much remains unclear about the bill’s contents, but the affordable housing community is not impressed, to say the least.

The fight’s not over yet, though. This week House- and Senate-appointed conferees will negotiate points of difference between the bills passed by each body. Advocates should continue urging their representatives to start over and work towards a bipartisan plan. More info and talking points at our tax reform hub and @HDC_SeaKC.

Other Developments…

  • HDC Members and friends: We’d love to see you at the Annual Meeting this Wednesday! Celebrate a full year of hard work, welcome new members, and cheers to a new year. Join us at the Wing Luke Museum beginning at 5:30 pm.

  • A new county-wide effort on homelessness and housing affordability called One Table launched last week Taking a seat: Executive Constantine, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus, Rep. Nicole Macri, and many, many more. 

  • The housing market hasn’t been kind to renters, who are giving up a greater share of their income than they used to, and nearly double what homeowners do. That says a lot, because have you see home prices these days? Yikes.

  • Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s first executive order speeds up rent & utility assistance for households with low incomes.

  • Here’s a sign of the times: “Newly elected council member moved out of Issaquah, gave up seat due to affordable housing.” Incidentally, any Issaquah affordable housing advocates want to take up the charge?

  • Population growth in King County continues to outpace housing production, and the same is true for Pierce and Snohomish.

  • Seattle: Ask not what your Design Review Board can do for you, ask what you can do for your Design Review Board. Bring your knowledge to the table and apply by December 15th.

  • Many thanks to everyone who supported HDC or one of our member organizations for #GivingTuesday. This was our most successful #GivingTuesday yet, and we want you to know how much your support means to us. Thank you. 

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Housing Developments: Tweetstorm in the forecast for #GivingTuesday

There’s something for everyone to do on #GivingTuesday

Double your #GivingTuesday impact by donating through Facebook fundraisers! Facebook is waiving processing fees for #GivingTuesday and the Gates Foundation is matching donations up to $1k per campaign (campaigns are fundraisers started by an individual on their own page) and $50k per nonprofit. Our non-profit members are all great choices for housing advocates and if we may toot our own horn, we think we’re a good choice, too.

And while you’re already on social media…

Tweetstorm in the Forecast: The Senate is expected to vote on its tax reform bill this week, and it’s not much better than the House’s in terms of affordable housing. Our friends at WSHFC, KCHA, and SHA told the Seattle Times all about it and the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) has organized a Tweetstorm beginning tomorrow at 11 am. Follow @HDC_SeaKC for local takes on this national issue and check out our online tax reform center here.

Other Developments…

  • The Vets, Seniors, and Human Services Levy Implemenation Planning Team are coming to a neighborhood near you! Do your part and give them your best ideas. (OF COURSE there’s a web-based form, too.)

  • Seattle Tech for Housing has been such a staple at community meetings that it is hard to believe they’re only a year old, but it’s the truth! Come celebrate their one year anniversary with happy hour tomorrow.

  • Bellwether Housing & Plymouth Housing Group have a very cool collaboration in the works involving a zero-cost land transfer from Sound Transit.

  • Only good news could come out of a place called Friendly Village, right? Right! Thanks to KCHA, 224 low-income senior households will stay in Redmond.

  • Seattle Neighborhood groups have brought forth a lawsuit against the city for its planned MHA-activating upzones. 

  • Community members in Federal Way are coming up with their own solutions for their neighbors experiencing homelessness

  • Bellevue residents: Your planning commission needs you! Apply by 11/30.

  • Issaquah residents: Here’s your chance to join city council

  • A full Seattle-budget rundown is up at the C is for Crank, and today the city announced new contract awards for homelessness services. 

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Housing Developments: Snazzy graphs to be thankful for

Last week in Tax Reform…

Last week the House voted along party lines to pass a tax reform bill that has the affordable housing community very concerned. The bill would eliminate private activity bonds, a tool which has helped build 24,000 affordable apartments in King County over the last 30 years. While not directly impacted by the legislation, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) has already seen a decrease in value as the proposed corporate tax rate drops from 35 percent to 20 percent.

The Senate is expected to vote on its own reform bill after Thanksgiving. We rolled out a brand new website to help you stay up to date on the whole situation as it relates to affordable housing here.

Other Developments…

  • The Vets, Seniors, and Human Services Levy Implemenation Planning Team are coming to a neighborhood near you! Do your part and give them your best ideas. (OF COURSE there’s a web-based form, too.)

  • Seattle Tech for Housing has been such a staple at community meetings that it is hard to believe they’re only a year old, but it’s the truth! Come celebrate their one year anniversary with happy hour next week.

  • The tax known as head or HOMES was voted down by Seattle City Council last week, but you probably haven’t heard the last of it yet. Meanwhile the Capitol Hill Blog walked us through how the budget looks and even included some snazzy graphs.

  • TOD x 3! (plus one) Three affordable housing developments on Sound Transit properties are moving along. Plus the very first REDI-funded affordable housing project is planned in Pierce County.

  • MFTE FTW in Kent: A City Council committee approved two new developments for the multi-family tax exemption.

  • Issaquah’s Providence Heights could have been turned into housing for veterans. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t. 

  • Affordable Housing was a top priority for the City of Redmond for 2018. Go Redmond!

  • How about the smile on this Affordable Housing advocate? Congrats to Art Mussman, Kirkland Senior Council advocate who was recently recognized by the AARP.

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Housing Developments: #HALAyes HALA-baloo

#HALAyes Celebration Tomorrow!

Join the Seattle For Everyone Coaltion in saying #HALA-lujah for the accomplishments of 2017! Festivities run from 5:30-7:30 pm at the South Lake Union Discovery Center. RSVP here.

A new reason to celebrate: OPCD released final MHA EIS and Zoning Maps last week! Seattleites had a lot to say, from the Times to Capitol Hill to …possibly the courts?  A few HDC members even have a project in the Central District MHA-ready! There’s plenty to talk about, we’ll keep you posted.

Other Developments…

  • Prop 1 passed! Many thanks to everyone who helped get out the vote, and voted themselves, to renew and expand the Vets, Seniors, and Human Services Levy.

  • Durkan & Dhingra drove it home on Election Day: Read about Mayor-Elect Durkan’s transition team and a prediction from over the mountains on what Senator-elect Dhingra’s victory means for a capital budget.

  • HOMES tax or head tax? Whatever you call it, Seattle City Council is still debating it.

  • Proposed federal budgets and the House GOP tax plan have serious implications for Affordable housing development. HDC submitted letters of concern to our electeds representing King County districts in DC this week, and our friends at WSHFC didn’t mince words, either.

  • Meanwhile, Representatives DelBene, Jayapal, and Smith introduced their Access to Affordable Housing Act, which is similar to Senator Cantwell’s bill introduced earlier this year.

  • Student homelessness increased in every neighborhood but one, according to a new report from ICPH. You can attend a webinar about this report on Wednesday.

  • An opportunity you’d be CRA-zy to miss: You can attend a Washington Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) roundtable hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco tomorrow.

  • Bellevue City Council is considering changes to Development Services permit fees.

  • Deadline to submit comment about ADUs & DADUs is Thursday. If you have thoughts on ADUs and DADUs, share them with the city by November 16th.

  • Kent is the 2nd-fastest growing city in the country, and HDC boardmember Ben Wolters got to talk to KING 5 about it.

  • RFP for Northgate Equitable TOD: Tell the county your $20 million dollar idea by December 21st. 

What did we miss? Email us with suggestions.
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HDC Member Sign-on: Protect PABs in Tax Reform Plan

HDC Members:

The Ways and Means Committee is currently considering the House GOP’s tax reform bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which seriously threatens affordable housing development in Washington state and nation wide.

HDC has drafted letters to leaders in DC representing King County Districts asking that they stand strong against the proposal and protect Private Activity Bonds and expand the LIHTC rather than reducing it’s effectiveness. We are asking our members to join us by co-signing.

Sign our letter to Representative Reichert

Sign our letter to Senators Cantwell & Murray, and Representatives DelBene, Jayapal, and Smith

Please have an authorized representative from your organization sign on by this Sunday, November 12th at 5 pm. Reach out to me with questions.

Thank you,

Kylie Rolf
Government Relations and Policy Director

Housing Developments: Remember, Remember the 7th of November

Tomorrow’s a big day.

King County Elections will finally take place:

Here’s just one more awesome editorial for #YesOnProp1, because tomorrow is the last day you can vote to renew and expand this vital levy for Vets, Seniors, and Human Services (and because we personally cannot get enough good stories like Monique’s.)

King County Elections and Crosscut have information on candidates and ballot measures county-wide. Seattle residents who are picking a mayor last minute may also find helpful this KNKX’s piece and this infographic by Campion, HDC, SKCCH, The Housing Alliance Action Fund.

Here’s where to turn your ballot in and what to do if you lost it.

It’s the last day to nominate your favorite advocate for Advocate of the Year! 

Who should be recognized for taking action for safe, healthy, and affordable homes this year? Who inspires you? Let us know by 11 pm tomorrow. (Note that nominees must be work for an HDC member organization.)

…and it’s National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day.

Oddly specific, yet delicious.

Other Developments…

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