Office of Apple Health & Homes and Permanent Supportive Housing
The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness stated that Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is an intervention for people who need housing assistance and supportive housing services to live with stability and independence in their communities. Many supportive housing programs use a Housing First Approach and encourage the principles of the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Evidence-based Practice toolkit. (USICH, 2014)
The Washington Legislature created the Office of Apple Health & Homes with the passage of HB 1866 (Chapter 216, Laws of 2022), re-focusing the state’s efforts towards increasing the capacity, quality and sustainability of affordable housing units dedicated as PSH. PSH is defined in RCW 36.70a.030 (19).
Within the AHAH-PSH Office, the new AHAH initiative is administered alongside other PSH-focused programs, which are underway or in development. The Office brings a suite of several programs together to align capacity building, supportive services, rent assistance, and operations/maintenance funding, in order to improve and sustain the quality of PSH units throughout Washington. Below are the programs and initiatives within the AHAH-PSH Office.
Programs and Assistance
AHAH is a multi-agency initiative that pairs healthcare services with housing resources for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents. It provides capital and operating funding for acquiring or developing housing units, supportive services, rental subsidies and other PSH assistance.
AHAH works closely with Commerce’s Multifamily Housing Unit to allocate and administer capital funding for the rapid construction or acquisition of housing dedicated to AHAH-eligible tenants.
The Department of Commerce administers two programs that fund building operations and regular maintenance. The “traditional” Operating & Maintenance (OM) program awards up to $50,000 per year to qualifying multifamily housing projects that are part of the Washington State Housing Trust Fund portfolio.
In 2018, the Legislature appropriated funds for a new Permanent Supportive Housing Operating, Maintenance, and Services (PSH-OMS) program that provides “gap” operating and maintenance funding for units of permanent supportive housing where housing operations have a gap in operating revenue. PSH-OMS also includes funding for tenancy-supporting services for the tenants of such units without any other services funding.