Are you homeless or about to become homeless? A Local Coordinated Entry program can help you think about next steps.

Housing Trust Fund

Since 1986, the state’s Housing Trust Fund has invested over $2 billion in capital funding and helped build or preserve more than 58,600 affordable housing units statewide.

The Washington Legislature makes biennial appropriations in the capital budget and directs the Department on how to invest the funds. The Housing Trust Fund provides capital financing through loans or grants to affordable housing projects through annual competitive application cycles.

photo of young mother Stephanie Zuniga and her three children at Evergreen Visata, a Housing Trust Fund project

Public Input Period: Commerce proposes new advisory committee to center equity in housing

Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the formation of new housing policy advisory group

For over 25 years the Policy Advisory Team (PAT) has provided recommendations and advice on affordable housing policy for Commerce and the Affordable Housing Advisory Board (AHAB). RCW 43.185A.020 requires Commerce to develop and administer its affordable housing program with advice and input from AHAB. Commerce has made it a priority to make our community feedback more representative of communities most impacted by the housing crisis and discrimination in housing.

Incorporating the voices of community members, and particularly centering voices of communities that experience marginalization and discrimination in access to housing, was a priority throughout a consultant-led process, which involved multiple public meetings across 2023.  As a result of this process, Commerce recognizes the need to improve engagement holistically, and is presenting a proposal that replaces the current PAT.

This proposal focuses on the following strategies to increase transparency of decision making by incorporating input from diverse stakeholders with reasonable timelines, presentations and multiple feedback channels. 

  1. Community-Based Housing Advisory Committee – Form a new community-based advisory group centering the voices of most impacted communities.
  2. Public Forums/Assemblies – Host open public forums without membership restrictions.
  3. Task Forces and Work Groups – As needed, convene work groups to focus on specific policy products or areas.
  4. Agency Partners and Consortia – Offer concrete methods for agency partners, housing consortia, and ex-officio organizations (currently on PAT) to provide their expertise into the policy making process. Commerce will reconvene a statewide public funders group as a venue for input and coordination.

Review the full proposal on the Department of Commerce Box.

These activities will redirect engagement that has historically happened through the PAT and offer more equitable, inclusive, and meaningful opportunities to provide feedback and influence policy.  After analyzing and considering public input received regarding the above proposals, Commerce will announce its final determination on updating the housing policy community engagement process on, or around, Feb. 1, 2024.

If you have feedback regarding the proposal, contact or respond to our survey here by Dec. 31.

Once finalized, the next steps include establishing a plan to enact the final decision.  At a minimum, these steps include updating applications for selection consideration, organizing a nominating committee, and preparing to onboard and orient a new group of individuals to engage in housing policy development. 

Meanwhile, additional engagement processes are scheduled and in development. These were shared at the joint PAT and AHAB meeting and are available in the presentation. These will continue to be shared through our monthly email distribution. 

You can review a summary of the evolution of the proposal over time on the presentation in the Department of Commerce Box (Crosswalk).  The full Membership Working Committee Process is also available in the PAT Membership Working Group.

Who Gets Housing?

Housing Trust Fund dollars support a wide range of capital projects that house diverse low-income populations. Properties financed by the program can house people earning less than 80% of the Area Median Income, but most of these properties house households with special needs or incomes below 30% of the Area Median Income. This includes people and families experiencing homelessness, people needing supportive housing, seniors, veterans, farmworkers, and people with developmental or other disabilities. Special-needs projects coordinate with state and local service providers to ensure clients receive appropriate housing and services.

Is Your Organization or Project Eligible for Housing Trust Fund Funding?

Chapter One, Section 105 of the Housing Trust Fund Handbook (PDF) lists the kinds of organizations and activities eligible for Housing Trust Fund funding.

Housing Trust Fund Vision and Strategic Priorities