M.A. Leonard named Chair of Affordable Housing Advisory Board
New chair will focus on linking affordable housing systems and homeless services, and coordination of state efforts to meet the state’s demand for affordable housing
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Governor Jay Inslee recently appointed M.A. Leonard as chair of the state’s Affordable Housing Advisory Board. Leonard started her term with a special meeting Jan. 26 to set legislative priorities in Olympia.
“With housing costs rising far faster than middle and lower incomes, particularly for the bottom 20 percent of households, affordability is now a primary driver of homelessness,” Washington Department of Commerce Director Brian Bonlender said. “This has very serious implications for communities across the state. National research shows every $100 increase in rent is associated with at least a 6 percent increase in homelessness. M.A. will help lead efforts to make sure we are setting a course for affordable housing for all income levels in all neighborhoods in our state.”
Leonard has served on the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee. She is vice president and Pacific Northwest market leader for Enterprise Community Partners Inc., where she leads the Regional Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) for transit-oriented development, programs to strengthen affordable housing nonprofits and their portfolios, and a variety of investments to build stronger communities.
“Across the state, more families and individuals face greater housing insecurity, spending more of their income on housing and more falling into homelessness,” Leonard said. “My priorities are to use input from local communities and housing data to promote effective policies and solutions that ensure all Washingtonians have access to quality, affordable homes.”