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Welcome 2019 HDIP Interns!

HDC’s Pilot Housing Development Internship Program

 

Tom Nguyen
2019 HDIP Intern

Nola Liu
2019 HDIP Intern

As part of our Race, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative, the Housing Development Consortium has launched our 2019-2020 Housing Development Internship Program.
Through this internship, HDC and intern host agencies, Bellwether and Plymouth Housing, aim to recruit, train, and retain the next generation of talented and racially diverse affordable housing leaders who bring unique skills and knowledge into the affordable housing sector.

As Seattle continues to experience rapid population growth, the lack of affordable housing, coupled with rising rent, is pushing communities of color further out and displacing many Seattle residents. To address these issues, we must collectively invest in under-represented communities by creating opportunities for leadership for those who know how to serve their communities best. This 9-month paid internship is designed to create a launch-pad into a career in affordable housing development and project management.

HDIP Program Participants

Without further ado, we would like to welcome our first cohort of Housing Development Interns: Tom Nguyen, a graduate from the University of Washington with a Masters of Urban Planning, interning with Bellwether Housing, and Nola Liu, a current student at the University of Washington pursuing dual degrees: a Master in Public Health and Master in Urban Planning, interning with Plymouth Housing.

Both students bring a unique experience as children of immigrant parents, their knowledge and background in urban planning and public health, and their passion for creating a society where everyone has access to affordable housing. HDC and our partner agencies are thrilled to be in this partnership as we continue to advance our efforts in affordable housing.

If you’re interested in hosting an intern for the 2020-2021 cycle or want more information on our program, please email Aselefech Evans, HDC’s Equity and Programs Manager.

Walking the Walk

We know that King County needs 156,000 more affordable homes right now to ensure no one is spending more than 30% of their income on rent. The scale of the problem is vast, clear, and not up for debate. We know the solutions exist because we have seen the direct positive result from when we invest in these solutions. So, then what’s been the gap between seeing the need and meeting the need? Creating and using all the tools in the policy toolbox to meet the need by scaling up solutions through intentional investments.

That is why its so exciting to see municipalities across King County stepping up and walking the walk by beginning the process to implement HB 1406. This tool allows cities and counties to retain a portion of the state sales tax to use for affordable housing. Auburn, Bothell, Burien, Des Moines, Federal Way, Kenmore, Kirkland, Seattle, Shoreline, Renton, and Tukwila have all begun the conversation on using 1406. Yesterday, Seattle City Council voted in committee to adopt an ordinance on 1406 and it will be going to a full council vote later this month. We look forward to other King County cities moving forward with this discussion as we continue to urge cities to act urgently and work collaboratively.

Sign up here to commit to being a 1406 advocacy champion, and join us as we encourage every city to walk the walk!

 

 

Advocates Urge Cities to Maximize Their Impact

1 in 3 households in King County are spending more than 30% of their income on rent. Too many of our neighbors have been priced out of their communities as rents rise out of reach, with many more falling through the growing gap between the tremendous need for affordable housing and the availability. We need 156,000 affordable homes right now, and more tomorrow. So, what can we do? We can urge our leaders to use every tool in their policy toolbox and ensure that we are maximizing the impact of those policies.

HDC, our 180 members, our partners, and the entire King County affordable housing movement has an opportunity to scale the production, preservation, and maintenance of affordable housing. This past legislative session, HB 1406 was passed allowing local municipalities to retain a portion of the state sales tax to use for affordable housing. Cities have 6 months, until January 28, 2020, to pass a resolution of intent to use these funds. To learn more about the legislation go here.

Cities across King County are beginning to discuss this legislation and their plans on using it. This is a moment where we need a strong advocacy presence to show the importance of this new funding tool, and how cities can maximize their impact by pooling their resources through sub-regional partnerships. On Monday July 15th, 1406 champions testified to Kenmore City Council and Burien City Council. This is just the beginning. We need advocates in every city to take action.

 

Sign up to be a 1406 housing champion, and take action now!

Thank You Cascade Affordable Housing Consultants!

HDC is proud to call Cascade Affordable Housing Consultants (CAHC) a member and a strong partner in the affordable housing movement. Cascade Affordable Housing Consultants works as a leader and partner to help create affordable, inclusive communities.

CAHC’s Burien Haus apartments in South King County provides 33 affordable homes to older adults looking for affordable homes with community amenities. This property benefited from the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. As a part of the financing, CAHC had the opportunity to make a donation to a nonprofit. Recognizing HDC’s role as a systems change organization working through advocacy, education, and leadership to ensure a landscape where affordable housing development is a priority, CAHC made their donation to support our work. We are so appreciative of the work CAHC does to lead and support our shared vision for a King County where everyone lives with dignity in safe, healthy, and affordable homes.

Thank You Renton Housing Authority!

HDC is proud to call the Renton Housing Authority (RHA) a member and a strong partner in the affordable housing movement. One of three housing authorities in the county, RHA works hard to provide quality and affordable homes within the vibrant Renton community.

RHA’s Sunset Court property includes 50 affordable homes, both town homes and apartments. This property benefited from the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. As a part of the financing, RHA had the opportunity to make a donation to a nonprofit. Recognizing HDC’s role as a systems change organization working through advocacy, education, and leadership to ensure a landscape where affordable housing development is a priority, RHA made their donation to support our work. We are so appreciative of the work RHA does to lead and support in our shared vision for a King County where everyone lives with dignity in safe, healthy, and affordable homes.

You Can Act Now!

The days are longer, the fruit is tastier, and the advocacy opportunities are riper. Summer is here and though school is out, local government is still in session. There are a lot of moving pieces going through local councils, so your advocacy is needed to show elected leaders that people are engaged and watching to see them prioritize creating affordable, inclusive communities.

Take Action Now on…

  • To secure and protect our investments in the human services sector and the social safety net it supports, we need to adjust human services contracts with inflation. This is a yearly problem, and we need to pass a sustainable solution. Send a message to Seattle City Council now! Join us for the committee vote on July 11th!
  • Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are an important piece to increasing housing options in single-family zoned neighborhoods. The legislation that passed out of Committee this past week and will be up for a full Council vote on July 1 would reduce the barriers to building ADUs which are great options for students, older adults, and homeowners looking to create opportunities for more neighbors! Reach out to Seattle City Council to support and join us for the vote on July 1!
  • This past legislative session, HB 1406 was passed giving local cities and counties a new funding tool to spur the preservation and production of affordable housing by retaining a portion of the state’s sales tax. Local governments have 6 months to pass a resolution of intent to use these funds, so your local leaders need to hear from you that you want them to maximize the impact of these funds by pooling their funds with neighboring cities through existing partnerships. Send a message now to encourage your elected leaders to use every tool in their toolkit.
  • The City of Burien is passing a suite of tenant protections including a Rental Licensing Inspection Program. Programs like this are crucial in ensuring that people live in healthy environments and are empowered as tenants. Reach out to Burien to learn more about these programs and upcoming community meetings.
  • The City of Seattle is unique in that we have the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) which is an incredible program that funds community based organizations from capacity building to development to ensure that communities are able to prevent displacement by leading the efforts to create community-driven and community-reflective projects. This past funding cycle they received more than $20 million worth of applications for only $5 million of available funds. Join us and others as we advocate for increased and sustainable funding for the EDI including the short term rental tax and the sweetened beverage tax. Reach out to Seattle City Council and join us in testifying on June 26th at 2pm.

 

It can seem overwhelming with so much saturating your twitter feed, but every day there is an opportunity for you to act and make a difference on the very issues that seem so daunting. The recently released Out of Reach report found that in King County a minimum wage worker would have to work more than 122 hours to afford a market rate 2 bedroom apartment. To put King County back in reach of the workers we all depend on, we need more affordable homes and advocacy on these issues helps us get there. Thank you for your advocacy, and reach out to Leah with questions on how to engage.

So far in 2019…

Beyond bringing us sunny days, summer fruits, and a stronger desire to jump in Lake Washington, June also signals the mid-way point of the year. With half of 2019 behind us and half ahead, we want to reflect on all the exciting things that HDC has been a part of this year with an eye towards what is to come.

So far this year HDC staff, our members, and our partners worked hard as passionate housing advocates to secure the following:

Seattle City Council adopted a city-wide Mandatory Housing Affordability program that Seattle’s growth works for all people. Developments in the urban villages will either have to include affordable housing or pay into a fund resulting in an estimated 6,300 affordable homes over the next decade.

Seattle City Council passed the Fort Lawton Redevelopment Plan. The former army reserve site was determined to be underutilized surplus land and now will be used to develop 237 affordable homes including supportive housing for seniors, apartments for low-income families, and affordable homeownership opportunities.

King County Council passed the Sewer Capacity Charge reduction for affordable housing developments. In order to build to scale and meet the tremendous need in our region, we need to alleviate some of the cost-drivers and obstacles to development. Reducing the impact fee for developments in King County will increase production by reducing cost.

Renton City Council passed their Rental Licensing and Inspection Program. This program will ensure Renton residents are living in healthy and quality housing by working with landlords and property managers to ensure rental properties, no matter the price or neighborhood, are healthy environments for their tenants.

Washington state legislature made historic investments in affordable housing with $175 million in the Housing Trust Fund, as well as passing HB 1406 which allows local governments to retain a portion of the sales to use for affordable housing and HB 1923 which incentives cities to implement housing policies focused on increasing housing options.

… and more! HDC members, partners, and allies took over 1,500 advocacy actions so far this year!

2019 has already been a year of amazing advocacy success, but our movement is also about learning and growing together though collaboration and conversation. HDC has hosted and co-hosted some amazing events so far this year.

Exemplary Building Task Force convening in January brought together funders, developers, and others to discuss building affordable, sustainable building to address both our housing and climate crises.

A Housing and Community Development summit that brought together over 70 leaders, staff, and organizers to discuss the affordable housing sector’s role in the larger landscape of community development alongside community-based organizations and funders.

Our Affordable Housing of Today event was an opportunity to engage over 30 elected officials and city staff from across the county on issues of affordable housing. We dove into topics of economic benefits, density done right, and more!

Our Housing and Mental Health summit held last month elevated the intersection of permanent supportive housing and other housing models that work to improve the outcomes and quality of life for people experiencing mental illness. Over 70 people who are engaged on the topic came together to discuss this important intersection and how we need to work collaboratively.

We held our fourth annual Affordable Housing Week with over 30 events, over 25 proclamations, and over 1,000 event attendees all dedicated to learning more about affordable housing and the solutions that we can and are adopting to meet our region’s need.

 

Thank you to all our members, partners, sponsors, and the entire affordable housing movement that has worked in community with us to make these past few months extremely successful and empowering. We are excited to continue this journey with you all!

 

Thank you DESC!

HDC is proud to call the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) a member and a strong partner in the affordable housing movement. DESC serves the most vulnerable in our community, those living with serious mental illnesses or substance use disorders. Through a “housing first” strategy, DESC is a leader in compassionate, successful approaches to homelessness.

DESC’s Clement Place property has 100 studio units of affordable housing with supportive services. This property benefited from the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. As a part of the financing, DESC had the opportunity to make a donation to a nonprofit. Recognizing HDC’s role as a systems change organization working through advocacy, education, and leadership to ensure a landscape where affordable housing development is a priority, DESC made their donation to support our work. We are so appreciative of the work DESC does to lead and support our shared vision for a King County where everyone lives with dignity in safe, healthy, and affordable homes.

A moment of appreciation and celebration…

Today, Seattle City Council voted 9-0 to implement the Fort Lawton Redevelopment Plan. This is the culmination of over a decade of work and energy from the Seattle Office of Housing and committed advocates who continue to show up and speak out on the importance of affordable homes.

(C) The Stranger

The former federal army reserve site at Fort Lawton is underutilized surplus land that through partnerships between the City and nonprofits Habitat for Humanity and Catholic Housing Services will be used to create 237 affordable homes. We have a tremendous need in our community for affordable housing and its gratifying to see our elected leaders acting with the urgency this moment demands.

The redevelopment includes homes for formerly homeless older adults, low-income families, and affordable homeownership opportunities. When we have a tool like surplus land in our toolbox, it is vitally important to make sure we are leveraging it to do the most public good by working across the income spectrum and addressing a range of needs.

Today’s success reminds us that often the goal of safe, healthy, and affordable homes is a marathon not a sprint. There were challenges and bumps along the way, but thanks to the commitment of the Office of Housing staff and committed advocates who engaged at every step of the process we are finally seeing results. Here at HDC we are proud to have worked alongside incredible elected leaders, passionate advocates, and responsive city staff. The affordable housing movement is one of many parts, but when we come together, we are able to put ourselves further on the path to safe, healthy, and affordable homes for all.

Take a moment to celebrate, and then join us as we continue this work. Sign up here to be notified for upcoming advocacy opportunities.

 

What Your Advocacy Will Lead To…

There’s a lot going on right now in the housing policy world, and you are being asked to keep taking action, to show up, and to keep energized and engaged. It can be overwhelming. This is what you are fighting for. 

237 Affordable Homes

The former army reserve site, Fort Lawton, is under utilized public land. Over the past 15 years, advocates have been engaged with the City of Seattle to use this public land for the public good. The City in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and Catholic Community/Housing Services will use the surplus land to create much needed affordable homes. The 237 affordable homes will include 85 permanent supportive housing for senior making at or below 30% of Area Median Income (AMI), 100 apartments for low-income people and families making up to 60% AMI, and affordable homeownership opportunities for people making up to 80% AMI.

Every neighborhood needs more affordable homes, and every neighbor deserves their lawmakers to use all the tools in the toolkit. Using surplus public land to build affordable homes across the income spectrum, is a crucial step in meeting the tremendous need for housing in our community.

The final vote on the Plan will be on June 10th! Take action now!

Community Voice and Anti-Displacement

The Seattle Office of Housing is updating their Administrative and Financial Plan including a suite of recommendations from Mayor Durkan on anti-displacement strategies. One of these proposed changes is a Community Preference Policy. This policy would allow community groups to partner with the Office of Housing and the affordable housing developers to help ensure that the development in benefiting the community its built in while remaining in compliance with the Fair Housing Act. This is an example of how when affordable housing development is done right it can serve as an anti-displacement tool as the people most at risk from being pushed out of their community are being served by the new housing. We have a tremendous need for housing in Seattle, but we have to build with accountability to the communities that make Seattle such a vibrant place to live.

The legislation will be discussed on June 6th and voted on June 17th. Take action now!

Minimizing Barriers

The King County Regional Affordable Housing Task Force found that we need 156,000 affordable homes right now. The County is investing in staff and other resources to see the recommendations of the Task Force come to fruition and put us on the path of reaching that number through production and preservation. Part of being able to build to the scale of tremendous need we have, is making it easier for affordable housing developers to build. Affordable housing advocates are encouraging King County Council to create an exemption for affordable developments from paying the Sewer Capacity Charge.

This legislation will be discussed on June 12th. Sign up to testify here!

 

Advocacy leads to policy and policy leads to progress. Thank you for all you do to ensure that everyone in King County has access to safe, healthy, and affordable homes. Reach out to [email protected] about talking points or any other questions on getting involved.