80,000 Washingtonians benefit from Housing Trust Fund investments

October 12, 2017|Director's Update

“Making sure every person has a suitable place to live is one of the most critical areas of focus at Commerce.”

— Connie Robins, Commerce Deputy Director

Hundreds of partners work with Commerce every year to support Washington State Housing Trust Fund and affordable housing projects, strengthening communities all across the state. At the recent Housing Washington Conference in Spokane, Commerce Deputy Director Connie Robins acknowledged the many contributions of staff, community service providers, contractors, developers and others who make it possible for our most vulnerable residents to have safe, healthy, affordable places to live.

The Department of Commerce is proud to once again join the state Housing Finance Commission, in partnership with the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, in presenting this important annual event for all those engaged in tackling one of the major social and economic issues facing our state today: affordable housing and homelessness.

The Department of Commerce is the one agency in state government that touches every aspect of community and economic development: planning, infrastructure, energy, public facilities, housing, public safety and crime victims, international trade, business services and more.

We work with local governments, businesses and civic leaders throughout the state to strengthen communities so all residents may thrive and prosper.

Making sure every person has a suitable place to live is one of most critical areas of focus at Commerce. The Housing Trust Fund is a major piece of our agency’s diverse portfolio.

For example, we have invested $10 million in more than 270 units in Spokane alone, where the Housing Washington Conference took place. These projects include net-zero, ultra-high efficiency units, health home or permanent supportive housing projects and projects that link to federal investment. These projects serve several demographics, including:
•109 units for homeless families with children
•9 units for persons with chronic mental illness
•16 units for persons with disabilities
•10 units for veterans
•29 for first-time home buyers
•96 units for the general low-income population

This is a two-year snapshot of the Trust Fund at work in just one community.

Statewide, at any given time, nearly 80,000 of our state’s most vulnerable residents benefit from the Housing Trust Fund. Throughout the 31-year history of the program, more than a billion dollars has been invested, and nearly 50,000 units have been developed. Fifty percent of the households we serve include at least one person with special needs. Every one dollar of investment in the Trust Fund leverages about five dollars on average from other sources.

And there’s need for even more capital investment in the Housing Trust Fund. We currently have 135 applications in our statewide pipeline that would create nearly 7,000 new units for a $235 million investment. We look forward to seeing the legislature back at work in Olympia soon to deliver a capital budget that will enable the Trust Fund to continue building affordable housing in our communities.

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