Reiny Cohen, Director of Communications
We are thrilled that the state legislature came to agreement on, and passed a Capital Budget that includes $106.7 million for the Housing Trust Fund. There is no doubt that we’re facing a severe shortage of homes affordable to low-income households in communities all across Washington, and that the greatest impact of that shortage is increasing homelessness. The money invested in the Housing Trust Fund will address this by creating more than 3,000 affordable homes all across the state. That the legislature passed this before the end of the second week of the session, with only one no vote between the entire House and Senate, demonstrates leadership and a growing understanding of the importance of investing in affordable homes. We appreciate the commitment of legislators to getting this passed and are especially grateful for the hard work of Senator Sharon Nelson, Senator David Frockt, Senator Mark Mullet, Speaker Frank Chopp, and Representative Steve Tharinger.
But the work is not done.
To get built, many of those homes need federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits. Since the deadline to apply for those credits was only missed by one day, and the many projects waiting on the Housing Trust Fund were unable to apply, the state Department of Commerce and the Washington State Housing Finance Commission must work together to find a way to ensure those projects can still access the final funds they need. Otherwise, we could still lose an opportunity to leverage $178 million in federal funds to provide homes for homeless veterans, homeless families, people with chronic mental illness, and many others who face the greatest barriers to securing a home. We’re counting on these agencies to quickly develop a solution that ensures we don’t leave behind people in our communities who are struggling the most.