Thank You, Mercy Housing Northwest!

We appreciate our member, Mercy Housing Northwest, which owns and operates 54 properties throughout Washington and Idaho, providing over 5,000 families and seniors a place to call home at below-market rent.

Mercy Housing’s Magnuson Place North includes 40 affordable, energy-efficient one, two, or three-bedroom apartments. In developing this property, Mercy restored the former US Naval Barracks at Building 9 in Magnuson Park to create this one of a kind community surrounded by open space, playgrounds, sports fields, and access to Lake Washington.

Furthermore, Magnuson Place benefited from the Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. As a part of the financing, Mercy had the opportunity to donate to a nonprofit and selected HDC. By donating to our work, Mercy recognized HDC as a systems change organization working through advocacy, education, and leadership to ensure a landscape where affordable housing development is a priority. Magnuson Place is just one example of Mercy Housing’s innovative and collaborative approach to affordable housing and shared vision for a King County where everyone lives with dignity in safe, healthy, and affordable homes.

Program Recap: Undoing Racism Workshop by the People’s Institute

For many of us, specifically white folx, it’s hard to talk about racism; however, the inability to engage in difficult discussions and anti-racist work does not change the reality or impact of structural racism on Black, Indigenous, and People of color (BIPOC).

Choosing to be complacent isn’t a privilege that’s awarded to marginalized communities. In fact, to bring about sustainable and effective change, white folx must work to shift power structures and center the voices and needs of BIPOC. Before doing that, they must first examine and understand the history of racism and the harm it’s caused and continues to cause communities of color.

This past November, HDC hosted a two-day training presented by the People’s Institute, as part of our Race, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative. Through dialogue, analysis, and reflection, our members developed a common definition of racism and an understanding of the historical context for how racial classifications in the United States came to be and how and why they are maintained.


Read what some of our members had to say about the Undoing Racism Workshop:

“This training was one of the best anti-racism trainings I have attended. It deepened my understanding of racism in this country and transformed my perspective on effective ways to eliminate racism.” 

“This training is the foundation necessary for any work within communities.” 

“The content was incredibly informative and thought-provoking. In housing and urban design contexts, this course was helpful for my day-to-day design work.” 

“I am responsible for the house in which I live but did not build.” 

“I’ve been involved in different aspects of the affordable housing industry for 20 years – this has changed everything for me.” 

“Enlightening and empowering” 

 “You cannot do this work alone. This was hard for me to hear as I tend to rely & depend on myself majority of the time, asking for help in this area is difficult, leaving me vulnerable.” 


As housing experts, it’s important for us to understand the impact of structural racism, redlining, home-buying and credit access, how it’s contributed to gentrification and displacement throughout King County and across the nation. Additionally, it’s important for organizations to take lead from communities of color, who know how to best serve their own communities.

Anti-racist trainings do not change systems overnight, but for white folx to be effective allies/and accomplices, they must understand how they can use their power and privilege to level out the playing field.

HDC understands that this is lifelong work, and we are committed to advancing racial equity throughout our sector.  Thank you to our members who boldly leaned into this training, and we look forward to the next training on January 9th and January 10th. Please register here!

Seattle’s Fare Share Plan

HDC is extremely pleased to announce that the Seattle Fare Share Plan has been unanimously approved by the City Council on Monday. Mayor Durkan signed the cutting edge strategy into law on Tuesday, November 26th.

HDC is extremely proud to have partnered with over 60 organizations, that came together to encourage passage of this proactive legislation advancing workers’ rights, affordable housing near transit, and mobility options. The Fare Share Plan is an inspiring example of broad sectors coming together to create a more affordable, accessible, and equitable Seattle.

With Monday’s vote, Seattle’s Rideshare drivers are on a path to guaranteed living wages and a resolution center, while also providing desperately needed funding for transit and affordable housing.

Introducing Willowcrest

Willowcrest, a sustainable community land trust neighborhood, officially being developed by Homestead will be the first of its kind neighborhood in King County. The multi-unity homeownership program is both affordable to low/moderate-income households and designed to reduce utility costs and climate impacts. Located in Northeast Renton, the land for the project was provided by Renton Housing Authority.

In total, the 12 townhomes, of both three and four bedrooms, will achieve net-zero energy usage through highly efficient systems, construction, and the use of solar panels for onsite energy generation. The units are stocked with energy-efficient systems such as insulated hot water pipes and efficient pipe routing, thermal pane windows, three-zone ductless mini-split heating/cool systems. Not to mention, a significant portion of features are made from recycled materials, including quartz countertops from recycled stone cutting waste, recycled fiber cement siding, and cork-based flooring.

Willowcrest homes will be priced below $315,000. Through one-time investments that subsidize the initial price of Willowcrest homes, and through partnerships with homebuyers, Homestead will keep the townhomes affordable to all subsequent income-qualified homebuyers permanent. This means the 12 homes will give up to 80 households over the next 50 years the social, health, and financial benefits of an affordable, fixed housing payment in a quality home.

Commerce awards $4 million to 52 communities!

Introduced and passed in the 2019 Legislative Session, HB 1923 was intended to incentivize denser and more affordable communities. The bill proposed a grant program to fund housing action plans and city code changes to increase urban residential building. Since being signed into law in July, the Department of Commerce has been accepting grant applications cities and counties across the state.

We would like to applaud all the municipalities that took advantage of this opportunity, especially those in King County, to help our neighborhoods grow! King County grantees include Redmond, Shoreline, Auburn, Burien, Federal Way, Bothell, Covington, Kent, Tukwila, and Renton.

See the complete list of grantees here.

Program Recap: Sanden Heat Pump Trainings

As HDC moves forward with its Exemplary Buildings Program–focused on providing both sustainable and affordable homes–partners and allies supporting the work are keenly aware of the need to secure a trustworthy and cost-effective way to address domestic hot water. Last Wednesday, HDC partnered with Sanden International USA and SmallPlanet Supply to offer specialized training for heat pump installers.

John Miles, General Manager of the Eco-Systems division for Sanden, led an all-day training to HDC members. John is a close-to-30-year veteran of the HVAC/Plumbing industry and currently oversees sales and support of the first commercially available “Air to Water” CO₂ Heat Pump Water Heater, aimed at residential and commercial applications.

He introduced the group to the SanCO2 Heat Pump Water heater, which is based on Eco Cute technology and features the highest efficiency and First Hour rating of any HPWH presently sold in North America. This cutting-edge alternative to traditional electric or gas water heaters absorbs heat from the outside air to heat water – minimizing household energy bills and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Support budget to study new housing types in Seattle!

There is a significant need for more housing options in Seattle. City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda is sponsoring a budget action that would require the City to produce an Environmental Impact Statement studying land use in our city. This is one step towards creating more tools to address the city’s housing crisis.

More specifically, the study would examine additional housing capacity and diversity—including duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, and row homes—in areas currently zoned exclusively for single-family houses. In doing so, the study will provide strategies to minimize the displacement of low-income residents and communities of color.

Sign this letter to take action now!


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!